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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GRAIN, v., n.3 Also grane, graen, †grean; †gren (Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 22). Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. groan. See P.L.D. § 32. [gre:n]

I. v. 1. intr. (rarely tr.). As in Eng., to utter a low sound expressive of grief or pain (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 245; Bnff., ‡Abd., Ags., ‡Per., Peb., Dmf., Rxb. 1955). Now mainly liter. Also fig.Sc. c.1700 Orpheus Caled. (1733) I. 88:
She main'd and she grain'd out of Dollor and Pain, Till he vow'd he ne'er wou'd see me again.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. i.:
What ails thee, Roger, then? what gars thee grane?
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 29:
The lawyer's skelfs, and printer's presses, Grain unco sair wi' weighty cases.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Death and Dr H. xxiv.:
The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xii.:
I'se warrant, I might grane my heart out or ony body wad gie me either a bane or a bodle.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 132:
A' you that mak a fike an' a cant about religion, an' grane, an' pray.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 170:
The muse is like to spleet her jaws, Wi' gauntin', greanin' och's an ah's.
Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 16:
Drift oxter-deep haps Bennachie Aneth its birn graens ilka tree.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xi.:
She was granin' and greetin' like a bairn.

Comb.: †groaning-loaf, -malt, a loaf baked or ale brewed for a confinement and eaten or drunk by friends to celebrate the birth.Sc. 1736 Caled. Mercury (28 Oct.):
His wife lay in Child-bed, and they should eat a Mouthful of the Groaning-loaf.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. iii.:
Meg Merrilies descended to the kitchen to secure her share of the “groaning-malt.”
Uls. 1836 W. Carleton Fardorougha 19:
The distribution of the blythe meat and groaning malt.

2. intr. To complain, to grumble; to be ailing (Cai., Ags., Rxb. 1955). Also grainach; grenach (Bch. 1911 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (20 Jan.); Abd.4 1931).Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs (1750) 6:
A graining wife and a grunting horse ne'er fail'd their master.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
The tane was aye graning about giving tribute to Caesar.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxvi.:
He has been in a grainin' way for mony lang, an' on Munnonday nicht he wore awa.
Sh. 1886 G. Temple Britta 246:
'Twas for her faither maist that she girned and grained.
Abd. 1920 People's Jnl. (18 Sept.) 12:
A hantle o' the fermers are pleased wi' their crap, but few o' them will say as muckle. They're mair apt tae grainach aboot the corn that's nae there.

II. n. A groan (Abd.7 1925; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 245; Ags., Per., Fif., Peb., Dmf., Rxb. 1955).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 43:
As he is chamber'd up he hears a grain, As of a bodie making heavy main.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 193–194:
They've nae sair-wark to craze their banes, An' fill auld-age wi' grips an' granes.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 130:
Fool gouk to think that granes wou'd gain ane's love.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf x.:
Eh, Lord! I wish he may be weel, that was a sair grane.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 44:
He clappit his han's on his stammack an loot oot an awfu grane.
Bch. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 28:
Nor greet nor grane could ease the pain, Troth, I could hardly bear't.

[O.Sc. has grane, grain(e), grayn(e), (to) groan, from 1375.]

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"Grain v., n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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