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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GRANNIE, -Y, n., v. Also graunie (Ayr. 1786 Burns Add. to Deil vi.), -y; grunnie (Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cried on Sunday 8), -y, and reduced form gran (ne. and em.Sc. (a), wm. and s.Sc. 1955). Sc. usages:

I. n. †1. A child's name for a grandfather (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

2. The last sheaf cut at harvest-time (Uls.3 1930, Uls.4 1954). Cf. Cailleach, n., 3.Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
Granny. A small sheaf composed of the last remaining growing stalks of corn on a farm at harvest. The stalks are plaited together, and are cut down by the reapers throwing their reaping-hooks at it from a little distance. It is then carried home in triumph, and the person who has cut it down puts it round the neck of the oldest woman of the farmer's family. It is sometimes hung up against the “chimney brace,” where it remains till next harvest, when it gives place to the new granny.

3. A hairy caterpillar, the larva of the tiger moth (n.Ir. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.; Kcb.6 1916; Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1955) or of the nettle butterfly, Vanessa urticae (Kcb. 1897 66th Report Brit. Ass. 475). Comb. hairy-grannie, id. (Arg.3 1955).

4. An extra large plaice (Sc. c.1930 Fishery Board Gl.).

5. A chimney cowl (Abd., e., w. and sm.Sc. 1955).Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 15:
He dang ower lums or thrawed them roon, An' furl't the grannies that sit on the croon.
wm.Sc. a.1930 N. Munro Looker-on (1933) 214:
There's a “granny” on a lum up there that's jist hingin' by a wire.
Ags. 1948 Forfar Dispatch (8 Jan.):
The granny on the lum-heid . . . fell throwe the sky-licht ee washin-hoose.

6. Used with poss. pron. in excls. of contempt or derision (Sh., ne., e., w. and m.Sc. 1955). Cf. grandmither, s.v. Grand-.e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 11:
“We might have improvised a sledge and —.” “Improvised yer grannie.”
Ags. 1945 “S. A. Duncan” Chron. Mary Ann 37:
“I'm no' very fond o' things accursed,” I sighs, shuddering. “Accursed yer granny,” snorts she, with justifiable scorn.

7. A score of nil in any game (Ayr., Slk. 1955). Cf. II. 2.

8. Combs. (sometimes with poss.): (1) grannie('s)-bairn, a grandchild (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), esp. one reared by its grandmother and gen. spoilt (Lnk. 1954 Sc. Educ. Jnl. (30 July) 509; Abd., Ags., Rxb. 1955); (2) granny ball, the last ball thrown in one of a series in the game of Jinkers; †(3) grannie-dey, an old man, a grandfather (Mry. 1925); cf. grand-dey, id., s.v. Grand-, 5. (1); used as a term of derision (Bch. 1911 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (20 Jan.)); †(4) grannie moil, a falsely-flattering, “smarmy” old woman (Gall. 1824 Gallov. Encycl. 240); (5) grannie preen, a large silver or brass pin used to fasten a shawl (Ayr. 1928; ‡Per., Kcb. 1955); (6) granny's ale, a kind of ginger ale made from fallen apples (Sc. 1951 Hotch-Potch 26); (7) Granny's Hielan Hame, nostalgic reference, esp. in a song, to an idealised rural past in the Highlands; (8) grannie('s) mutch(es), (a) the columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris (ne., e. and wm.Sc. 1955); (b) the snapdragon, Antirrhinum majus (Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1955); (c) monkshood, Aconitum napellus (Dmf. 1955); (d) wild avens, Geum urbanum or arvale (Fif. 1955, grannie-); (e) = 6. above (Abd., Fif., Arg. 1955). See also mutch n. 2. (6); (9) grannie's sooker, (a) a peppermint-flavoured sweet, a Pan-drop (ne. and em.Sc.(a) 1955; grannie's sooker Bnff., Fif., Edb., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s; granny sooker Gsw. 1980s); (b) a white-clover flower (Kcd., wm.Sc.(a) 1955); (10) grannie's thimmles, the foxglove (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 245); (11) grannie's tuith, — teeth, a router plane (Abd., Ags., Per. 1955); †(12) grannie's wing, in curling: cover, in phr. to get under —, “to get under cover, i.e. to angle off a stone, so as to hide yourself behind another” (Dmf. 1830 R. Broun Mem. Curl. Mab. 107).(2) Gsw. 1928 Spectator (24 Nov.):
If it is caught this time, the unsuccessful “jinker” is out of the game. If this last ball, or, as it is quaintly called, the “Granny” ball, is not caught, then the player is free to resume the game.
(7) Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 90:
"Nostalgia." Noo there's a word.
Gin it's no Scots it shuid be.
Why juist the ither nicht I heard
a haill barfu bawlin aboot
Granny's Hielan' Hame.
Sc. 1992 Herald 1 Aug 11:
The myths of good neighbourliness in the old slums are parallel to the kailyard's myths of an industrious and virtuous rural society and Wildcat's songs are often just as shallowly sentimental as any old music ballad about granny's hielan' hame.
Sc. 1996 Sunday Times 24 Nov :
In fact [Walter] Scott was one of the main agents responsible for the construction of British identity in Scotland and the almost successful permanent geographical description of North Britain. His championship of irrational romanticism is more than anything else responsible for the creation of Brigadoon and "granny's hielan hame" Scotland.
em.Sc. 1997 Ian Rankin Black & Blue (1999) 183:
Rebus knew he was being sold a line, the same line any tourists to the north would be sold - this was the country of Baxter's soups, men in skirts, and granny's hieland hame; oil was just another industry, the city and its people had risen above it.
Sc. 1999 Scotsman 12 Oct 15:
Back in the real world, to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, where, not content with a tea-room which will forever be part of China, A Reader has discovered a fine reincarnation of granny's Hielan hame. He writes: "Traipsing through a new woodland section, there was the croft house by a wee lochan.
Sc. 2001 Sunday Herald 1 Apr 4:
I would still contend, nevertheless, that allowing your national story to be reinterpreted by others, even by affectionate members of the Scottish diaspora, leads to trouble. We are not living, as it happens, in a tourist board brochure. We are not, for the most part, quaint little characters in folk costumes happy to sell granny and her hielan' hame for a few travellers' cheques.
(8) (a) Fif. 1898 K. D. Wiggin Penelope in Scot. 201:
Her white columbines she calls “granny's mutches”; and indeed they are not unlike those fresh white caps.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 135:
But, ah! nae season's name can touch The he'rt like that when Granny's Mutch, An' daisies say it's simmer.
(e) Sc. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 26:
The gaffers swore in Greek an' Dutch; The men replied: “Yer granny's mutch! We canna un'erstaun' yer flytin'”.
Gsw. 1964 George Friel The Boy who Wanted Peace (1985) 90:
"Ach yer grannie's mutch!" Mrs Phinn retorted contemptuously.
Gsw. 1991 Anna Blair More Tea at Miss Cranston's 208:
Peggy had another wee puzzle when she was only a Mixed Infant and telling a tall story. Then her granny was in for it too. "'Och, your Granny's mutch!' someone'd say. But - here my granny did wear a mutch and I didnae know what that had to do wi' me telling a wee fib."
(9) (a) Dundee 1986 David A. MacMurchie I Remember Another Princes Street! 29:
... causing the cases to topple, scattering the sweets so that the street was white with 'granny-sookers'.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 127:
Sometimes he wid tak her in some granny-sookers or jube jubes, so that she wid have something fine tae taste her mooth, ...
(12) Dmf. 1937 T. Henderson Lockerbie 59:
Just play for my cow; come creepin' by, and curl into the wing o' your grannie.

9. Phr. not my grannie, an exclamation to avoid ill-luck (see quot.). Edb. 1954 R. Jenkins Thistle and Grail xxi.:
He remembered if someone had squashed a beetle, everyone would spit, drawing a hand across his throat, and say: "Not my grannie."

II. v. 1. With at: to address (someone) as “granny.” Gen.Sc.; 2. in a game: to inflict a crushing defeat on (someone), often implying that the opponent has failed to score (em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Slk. 1955). Cf. n. 7.1. Ags. 1929 Scots Mag. (May) 149:
“Jeck,” she said; “what gars ye granny at me like that?”

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"Grannie n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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