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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.

GRAY, GREY, adj., n.1, v.1 Sc. usages. The spelling gray is reg. in O.Sc. and common up to c.1850. The surname Gray is almost invariably so spelt in Scotland.

I. adj. A. As in Eng.: of an indeterminate shade between black and white; sometimes greyish-brown.

1. Gen. Combs.: (1) Gray Breeks, a popular name given to the Earl of Mar's Fusiliers, the Perthshire Light Infantry (Per. 1836 G. Penny Traditions Per. 77), and now to the Royal Scots Fusiliers (wm. Sc. 1955). Hist. See also Breek, n.1, 4.; †(2) gray breid, bread or a loaf made of rye, perhaps also of oats (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (3) gray-bulwand, the mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris (Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 17, 1929 Marw.). See Bulwand, n., 1.; †(4) gray corn, (a) the refuse of oats after winnowing (e.Lth. 1825 Jam. s.v. ewendrie). Cf. (16); (b) a species of light grain (Ib.; Lth. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 723). Cf. (18); (5) gray dark, dusk, evening twilight (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em.Sc., Arg., Kcb., Dmf., Slk. 1955); (6) gray-day, the dawn (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., Add. 225; Rxb. 1955); also gray-daylicht, id. (Gregor; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Cai., Abd. 1955); the name of a dance tune. Also in Cum. dial. Cf. n., 1.; (7) gray folk, gnomes, trolls. See Trow; (8) gray goose, a large boulder of grey stone. Cf. (27) below; (9) gray groat, a silver fourpenny piece, used as a symbol of small value = a mite (cf. similar use of “brass farthing”). Also so used in 16th c. Eng.; (10) gray gud(e)wife (pear), a species of pear; (11) grey-ha'rst, ? poss. for *gae-harst, a Sc. form of Goharvest, late harvest, q.v.; (12) gray-heads, “heads of gray-coloured oats, growing among others that are not” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 241; m.Lth.1 1955). Cf. (4) (b) and (18); (13) grey land, see quot.; (14) gray licht, dawn, early daylight, sometimes also evening twilight (Cai., ne. and em.Sc.(a), m.Lth., Kcb., Dmf. 1955). Cf. (6) above and n., 1.; (15) gray maggie, “coal which has been converted into coke through the proximity of an igneous intrusion” (Rnf. 1920 Geol. Survey Scot., Gl.). See Maggie; (16) gray meal, graemeels, the refuse and sweepings of a meal-mill, dirty meal, used for feeding poultry (wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan, Add. 498; Kcb.3 1929). Cf. (4) (a) above and Dist. Also in Nhb. dial.; (17) gray mornin, = (6), (14); (18) gray oats, an inferior species of oats. Cf. (4) (b) and (12) above; (19) gray paper, brown paper used for wrapping (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; I. and n.Sc. 1955). Also in n.Lin. dial.; (20) ¶gray people, the fairies, as orig. the spirits of the dead. Nonce; (21) gray-pig, = Graybeard; (22) gray plies, strata of gray freestone. Cf. (26) and see also Plies; (23) gray room, the room where cloth is inspected and darned after it comes off the loom (Ayr. 1955); (24) gray saugh, see Saugh; (25) gray scool (scull, school, schule), a species of salmon of an inferior quality found in the rivers of the south of Scot.; (26) gray slate, laminated sandstone (Abd., Ags. 1955); a kind of flagstone used for roofing (Ork.5 1955). Also in w.Yks. dial. Cf. (22); (27) gray stane, a grey volcanic rock; specif. a large surface rock or boulder of grey stone, often used as a landmark or boundary stone, formerly treated with some superstitious regard. Freq. found in place-names (Abd., Rxb. 1955). Cf. Bore-stane, n., 2. and hairstane s.v. Hair, adj.; (28) gray thrums, in phr. to sing — —, of a cat: to purr (Ags., Ayr. c.1900). See also Thrum; (29) grow-gray, see Grow.(1) Sc. 1925 J. Buchan Hist. Royal Sc. Fusiliers 8–9:
The new regiment was soon known popularly as the “Earl of Mar's Grey-breeks,” and up to 1683 at any rate, and probably till after the Revolution, grey was the ordinary dress of the private and non-commissioned officers . . . The 90th Perthshire Light Infantry (now the Second Battalion of the Scottish Rifles), when raised by Lord Lynedoch in 1794, was known as the “Perthshire Grey-breeks.”
(2) em.Sc. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 56:
First, I am awing Andro Rid At the Wast-port for six Gray-bread, Five shilling.
Sc. 1825 Hogmanay Rhyme (Jam.2):
Gie us of your white bread And nane of your gray.
(4) (b) Slg. 1745 Forfeited Estate Papers (S.H.S.) 298:
The Boll Gray Corn, Two pound, therteen shill. four.
Dmf. 1830 R. Brown Mem. Curl. Mab. 96:
Like your grey corn in time of rain That withers in a frost.
(5) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 247:
It was beginnin' tae get kind o' grey dark.
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 114:
Jack walkit up along the shoreway jist in the grey-dark in the mornin.
(6) Rnf. 1838 Justiciary Reports (1842) 73:
Next morning about gray day light, just after witness got up.
Ayr. 1901 “G. Douglas” Green Shutters xxiv.:
I would like to hear “Miss Drummond o' Perth” or “Grey Daylicht” — they might buck me up a bit.
Bnff. 1910 “Camlach” Ballads 30:
Ae winter morn at grey day-licht.
Kcb.10 1954:
“Gray Daylicht” is another name for the strathspey tune Stirling Castle.
(7) Sh. 1888 Edmonston & Saxby Home of a Naturalist 144:
She had in her hand a bulwand (a reed that grows in the marshes), and that ye ken is what the grey folk use for horses.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Feb.):
Some o' da gray folk have walked aff wi' dem.
(8) Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf iv.:
Biggin a dry-stane dyke . . . wi' the grey geese, as they ca' thae great loose stanes.
(9) Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 53:
What? . . . your manhood hide Sae for a poor gray groat.
Sc. 1769 D. Herd Sc. Songs 79:
We aw him nought but a grey groat.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
It will be nonsense fining me . . . that hasna a grey groat to pay a fine wi'.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
It is a common phrase, “It's no worth a gray groat”; or, “I wadna gie a gray groat for't”; when it is meant to undervalue any thing very much, or represent it as totally worthless.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 103:
Sooth and a' our cash they got, save a trifling grey groat.
(10) Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. II. 174:
The pears are principally the swan-egg, bergamots, bonchretien, jargonelles, crasanne, green chisel, auchan or grey gudwife.
Sc. 1826 “Mrs Dods” Manual (1837) 19:
You English gentlemen never saw the Grey-Gudewife pear.
(11) Ayr. 1832 Galt Stanely Buxton III. xxviii.:
The two grey-ha'rst birds were nicely fit to be killed.
(13) Ayr. 1866 Trans. Highl. Soc. 25:
What can only be described as peatish clay soil, commonly termed grey land, and which . . . is not the worst kind of soil in the country.
(14) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xlii.:
Ye maun stir wi' the first dawn o' the grey light.
Fif. 1895 “S. Tytler” Kincaid's Widow xvii.:
He did not chap at the door till it was grey licht.
(15) Gsw. 1920 Geol. Survey Scot. 49:
The underlying dolerite sill varied from 10 to 15 ft. in thickness, and throughout contained lumps of coal burnt to a coke (“grey maggie”), and showing good columnar structure.
(16) Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) H. 36:
Your groat meal, and gray meal, sand dust and seeds, course enough to feed cocks an' hens.
Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 202:
Grey meal — i.e., a species compounded of oatmeal and mill-dust.
Ork. 1973 Orcadian (8 July):
"I'll get the graemeels"  - I'll get the worst of anything, said in a tone of resignation and martyrdom.
(17) Bwk. 1859 P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 96:
It was grey mornin' as we set oot for the hill.
(18) Cai. 1784 A. Wight Husbandry IV. 362:
How obdurate must the people here be, who will not open their eyes to this improvement, but persevere in their despicable crops of black and grey oats?
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 207:
In some farms, they sow a good deal of what goes by the name of gray oats, which are only valuable, because they yield a pretty good crop upon our thin channelly ground, where hardly any other grain will grow.
Sc. 1803 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 190:
The grey oat, or small corn, as it is called in some places, is the worst oat, and the least productive grain, that is raised in Europe.
(19) Ags. 1830 Perthshire Adv. (16 Sept.):
Stewart next offered some barley for sale, a sample of which he exhibited in a grey paper.
(20) Sh. 1894 Sc. Fairy Tales (Douglas) 136:
The presence of a human being had been detected, and at a word from their queen the "grey people", swarming together, were about to rush upon the intruder.
(21) Mry. 1875 W. Tester Poems 61:
He keeps a monster grey-pig foo, As big's a butter kirn, O.
(22) Dmf. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VIII. 38:
The strata met with are the usual alternations of blaize, sandstone, clay-iron ore, and greyplies.
Gsw. 1920 Geol. Survey Scot. 58:
It measured 2 ft. 4 ins. of “gas and free” coal, with a “till” roof (most probably blaes), and a pavement of “grey plies.”
(23) Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 505:
The girls who enter the lace trade may go into the sheds as winders or into the ‘grey room' where the cloth is inspected, ripped, folded, and darned.
(25) Dmf. 1804 R. Graham Lett. to Proprietors Solway 8:
Those too, it is probable, spawn sooner than the last and largest species, called the Grey Scool, which appear in the Solway and rivers about the middle of July.
s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 187:
I was expecting to catch some of the grey scull that come forward at that season [September]. These fish are of a goodly shape; but though fresh from the sea are not quite so glossy in their scales, or so rich in flavour, as your brown-backed salmon that comes up early in the spring. They are altogether of a greyer colour.
Twd. 1901 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. 83, 146:
I do not refer in the above remarks to the numerous bull-trout (Salmo eriox) which run far up the Tweed, and Tweed's tributaries, but to the so-called “Grey-School” which keeps the bad company of these bull-trout — both inferior classes of fish. . . . The “grey schule” fish are gravid; at all events their reproductive organs are in an advancing stage of development, and they spawn before returning to the sea.
(26) Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 606:
On the lands of Abercarney and Foulis, are quarries of grey slate, that is, a kind of light brown freestone, which rises in broad shelves, of an inch thick, is easily cut with the slater's knife, and makes a pretty good, though heavy roof.
Slg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VIII. 370, foot-note:
Roofs covered with branches of trees, with turfs and with straw, some perhaps with fissile sandstone, called in Scotland grey slate.
Ags. 1861 Stephens and Burn Farm-Buildings 141:
From Carmyllie to Forfar, in Forfarshire, is the great field for the supply of grey slates.
(27) Sh. 1753 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S.) 148:
Running in a straight line by the large grey stone which goes above the minister's sink.
Abd. 1774 Session Papers, Magistrates Abd. v. Fife Trustees (15 Feb. 1842) 3:
As also reserving to us, and our successors, the quarries, graystones, limestones, coals, coalheughs.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Bridal of Polmood (1874) 101:
The gray stone on which Queen Margaret and the beautiful Elizabeth sat, during the celebration of those games, is still to be seen at the bottom of the hill, a small distance to the eastward of the old castle of Crawmelt.
Bwk. 1863 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club 237:
It consists of chert limestone, of a cream or grey colour. The field in which it lies is called from it, the Grey stone field. . . . This large Boulder in former days was an object of popular mystery and reverence. It was resorted to on the occasion of the celebration of Border marriages.
Kcd. 1914 J. C. Watt Mearns of Old 46:
Another stone of some interest is an oblong stone on the estate of Netherley a few miles from the Dee, at the north east of the country called “The Gray Stone of the Renchel” . . . The stone was latterly a landmark, or march stone.
Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 58:
And aifter dem da king is gaen, But when he cam it [a castle] wiz a grey stane.
(28) Gsw. c.1832 Whistle-Binkie (1890) 340:
Hey Willie Winkie, are ye comin' ben? The cat's singin' grey thrums to the sleepin' hen.
Fif. 1887 “S. Tytler” Logie Town I. xv.:
You had better take a puss bawdrons to sing ‘grey-thrums' and bear you company.

2. Combs. in names of animals: (1) gray alan, the Arctic skua, Stercorarius parasiticus (Crm. 1911). See also Alan; (2) gray ane, a louse (Ayr. 1955). Cf. (19) below; (3) grayback, (a) the hooded crow, Corvus cornix (Ork. 1925 J. Omond Ork. Birds 17; Cai., Ags., Per. 1955). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (b) the flounder, Platichythys flesus (Mry.1 1925; Mry., Fif. 1955); (c) a salmon or salmon trout in the autumn run (sm. and s.Sc. 1955), “they are darker and larger than the earlier run” (Kcb.10); (d) see quot. (Cai. Ayr. 1975); (4) gray bird, the meadow-pipit, Anthus pratensis (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (5) gray chacker, the mistle-thrush, Turdus viscivorus (Mry. 1895 Harvie-Brown & Buckley Fauna Mry. Basin I. 214; Abd. 1955); (6) gray cheeper, the meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis (Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 113; Per., Peb. 1955). Cf. (4); (7) gray cheugh, the hooded crow, Corvus cornix. Cf. (8); (8) gray crow, id. (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 275; Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 85; Sc. 1954 Bulletin (22 May) 4). Also in Wil. dial. Cf. (7); (9) gray diver, the red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator (Arg. (Islay) 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 164), “from the brown and ash-coloured streak on the rump” (Ib.); †(10) gray dog, (a) the Scottish hunting dog, the deerhound (Sc. 1808 J. Walker Nat. Hist. 475); (b) also in dim. form gray doggie, the goby or fatherlasher, Cottus scorpius (Ags. 1960); (11) gray duck, the common wild duck or mallard, Anas platyrhyncha (Dmf. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 156; Per. 1955). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (12) gray-face, a breed of sheep produced by crossing black-faced sheep with Leicesters (Sc. 1920 Scottish Farmer (10 Jan.)), also attrib. Gen.Sc. Hence gray-faced, adj.; (13) gray-fish, a generic term for the coal-fish or saithe, Gadus virens, especially in its second or third year (Cai. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 154; Arg. Ib. 92; Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 62; Abd. 1832 Trans. Highl. Soc. III. 69; Sh. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. & Sh. 655; Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 74; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1955). Cf. (20); (14) gray fleuk, see Fleuk, n.1, 2. (9); †(15) gray flounder, id.; (16) gray-fowl, the female of the black grouse, Lyrurus tetrix (Cai.7 1955). Cf. gray-hen; †(17) grayhead, ? = (13), see quot.; (18) gray-hen, = (16) (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.; ‡(19) gray horse, a louse (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ags., Fif. 1955). Cf. colloq. Eng. greyback, id.; (20) gray ling, a name given to the coal-fish, Gadus virens, when full-grown (Sc. 1806 P. Neill Tour 209). Cf. (13); (21) gray lintie, the linnet. See Lintie; (22) gray-lord, a name given to the coal-fish or saithe when fully grown, esp. to those of a very large size (Sc. 1806 P. Neill Tour 209; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 74). Cf. (20); (23) grayman, a fully grown coal-fish (e.Rs. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.). Cf. (20) and (22) above; (24) gray plover, (a) the golden plover, Pluvialis apricarius, in its summer plumage (Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 23; Ayr. 1955). Also in Ir. dial.; (b) the knot, Calidris canutus (Slg. 1885 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. 63), from the sober colour of its winter plumage; (25) gray-podley, the coal-fish, Gadus virens, when a year old (Edb. 1806 P. Neill Tour 209). See Podley and cf. (13); (26) gray robin, the hedge-sparrow, Prunella occidentalis (Bnff. 1856 Zoologist XIV. 5263; Abd.27 1920); (27) gray salmon, the immature sea-trout, Salmo trutta, a Finnock; (28) gray skate, the skate, Raja batis (Sc. 1836 W. Yarrell Brit. Fishes (1841) II. 562; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 275; Fif. 1955); (29) gray starling, the name given to the young starling from its greyish-brown plumage (Ayr. 1840 Gsw. Naturalist V. 111; e.Lth. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 73); (30) gray thrush, the fieldfare, Turdus pilaris, “from the predominant bluish tinge of its upper plumage” (Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 5); (31) gray willie, (Mry. 1955 Northern Scot (24 Sept.); gray will Bnff. 1980s) the herring gull, Larus argentatus (Inv., Mry. 1910–55); †(32) gray yogle, the short-eared owl, Asio flammeus (Sh. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 129). Cf. Katogle.(2) Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 35:
Whyles a gray ane or twa through its ryves wad play keek.
(3) (d) Rnf. 1930 A. M. Stewart Stickleback Club 97:
The immature birds of both these species [herring gull, lesser black-backed gull] are mottled brown. Fishermen call them "grey-backs."
(7) Dmf. a.1869 Annandale Observer (22 May 1885):
He aye sleeps best when the grey cheughs rest.
(12) Hdg. 1839 Edb. Ev. Courant (10 Oct.):
A lot of gray-faced gimmers, bred by Captain Hay of Belton, 27s.
s.Sc. 1849 Ib. (18 Aug.):
Storemasters . . . patronise two kinds of crossing; first, between Cheviot tups and blackfaced ewes, and again between Leicester rams and blackfaced dams; and as both of these mixed breeds have been found advantageous, the product at selling time, setting aside local phraseology, have acquired respectively the generic names of brockles and greyfaces.
Sc. 1900 Scotsman (15 Aug.) 4:
Half-bred sheep, 47s.; greyfaced sheep, 45s.: Cheviot dinmonts, 38s. 6d.; . . . greyfaced lambs, 28s. 6d.
Sc. 1953 Ib. (14 Aug.) 3:
Greyface, Blackfaced, and South Country Cheviot wedder lambs were not up to the average standard of strength and condition.
(13) Inv. 1740 Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XIII. 162:
John ffrasers wife will send you out Gray fish from the Town.
Rs. 1777 N. Macrae Romance Royal Burgh 233:
It has been customary . . . to purchase grey fish from boats coming to the Castle or behind the Church of Dingwall.
Ork. 1806 P. Neill Tour 62:
Much oil is also made from these grey-fish.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Sh. 470, foot-note:
By gray fish are meant the fry of the Coal-fish (Piltocks and Sillocks), in contradistinction to ling, cod . . . etc., which are called White-fish.
Sh. 1933 Daily Express (13 Jan.) 15:
To-day [13 January] is the Shetlanders' New Year's Day, and they still celebrate it with old-world ceremonies and much drinking of the island toast: “Health to Man, and death to the Grey Fish.”
(15) Bnff. 1794 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 403:
The gray flounder is best in harvest; and the spotted, which is inferior to the gray, is best in spring.
(16) Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxii.:
And for the moor-fowl, or the grey-fowl, they lie as thick as doos in a dooket.
(17) Gall. 1692 A. Symson Descr. Gall. (1823) 25:
Upon the coast of this parish are many sorts of white fish taken; one kind whereof is called by the inhabitants Greyheads, which are a very fine firm fish, big like haddocks, some greater, some lesser.
(18) Rnf. 1706 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) 200:
It is statute that . . . gray-hens, muir-cocks, nor sich foulls, be taken with any manner of instrument.
Highl. 1874 Trans. Highl. Soc. 107:
In the Highlands of Scotland young fir plantations are much damaged by the black-cock (Tetrao tetrix) and grey hen.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 165:
The deer an the greyhens an the grouse is sair on them.
(21) Sc. 1831 S. E. Ferrier Destiny III. vii.:
There, at a window over the way, is a grey-lintie.
Lnk. 1872 R. Tennant Musings 19:
The fairest spot to me, Is where the wee grey-lintie sings.
(22) w.Sc. 1698 M. Martin St Kilda 30:
The Coast of St Kilda, and the lesser Isles, are plentifully furnished with variety of Fishes, as Cod, Ling . . . Turbat, Graylords, Sythes.
Sc. 1776 Weekly Mag. (23 May) 264:
They have also sturgeon, abundance of turbot, scate or thorny-back, grey-lord, in size and shape like a salmon, mackrel, keeling.
(24) (a) Ayr. 1789 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 293:
The wild, mixing cadence of a troop of grey-plover in an Autumnal-morning.
(b) em.Sc. 1906 J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay Basin 294:
In the district of Forth . . . the Knot is the bird which goes by the names of both “Silver” and “Grey Plover.” But the name Silver Plover is the one usually applied.
(27) Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica I. 60:
Grey Salmon . . . A Grey fish, of the salmon kind, . . . comes up several of the rivers in Scotland in vast shoals during the month of August; they return to the sea in November; are called Phinocs.
(28) m.Lth. 1808 Scots Mag. (June) 40:
A very few real skate (here denominated grey skate) have likewise been got.

B. Used fig. = dismal, sad, disastrous, in phr. (to gang) a gray gate, (to follow) a disastrous course, (to come to) a bad end (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 119; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Uls.2 1929; Wgt. 1955). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 380:
You'll gang a gray Gate yet . . . you will come to an ill End.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd iv. i.:
I'll ne'er advise my Niece sae gray a Gate.
Edb. 1801 H. Macneill Poems II. 70:
Sorrow be on ye! ye'll gang a grey gate!
Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 281:
It's a sad and sair pity to behold youthfu' blood gaun a gate sae gray.
Uls. 1830 W. Carleton Traits Peasantry (1843) I. 104:
Only for it that couple's poor orphans wouldn't be left without father or mother as they were; nor poor Hurrish go the grey gate he did.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 281:
Love them, giggling hempies! I'd sooner bait a fox trap wi' my heart than send it sae gray a gate.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. ii.:
This bonnie wean shall be brought up nae sic gray gate I tell ye.
Lnk. 1885 J. Hamilton Poems 302:
An' Jean, the ae daughter, had gane a grey-gate, An' naebody cared to speer after her fate.

II. n. 1. Dawn (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Wgt., Dmf. 1955), esp. in phr. the grey o' the mornin(g) (Abd. 1920 R. H. Calder Deeside Gleanings 9; Ork., ne.Sc., Fif., m.Lth., Uls. 1955); evening twilight (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Bnff., Slk. 1955). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. gloamin grey s.v. Gloamin.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
Aweel, they had me up in the grey o' the morning.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize I. viii.:
It was the grey of the morning before they reached Perth.
Sc. 1863 Border Mag. (Sept.) 143:
It was at the gray of the evening twilight, about half a century ago.
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. & Mearns (Reid) 256:
O, but the little knees are black, When grey o' gloamin' comes.
Sc. 1909 R. M. Fergusson Silver Shoe-buckle 56:
In the grey of the morning the Ferry was reached.

2. In pl.: †(1) = gray oats. see adj., A. 1. (18); (2) a dish composed of curly kale and cabbages mashed together (Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems, Gl. 234), sc. by having oatmeal sprinkled over it (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) G. 55); (3) contr. for Scots Greys, see Scots; (4) in sing. = gray fleuk s.v. Fleuk, n.1, 2. (9) (Fif. 1955); (5) cloth made from undyed wool, hodden gray. See Hodden. (1) Sc. 1799 Trans. Highl. Soc. I. 118:
It is prudent to change a great proportion of seed oats yearly; for, when long continued upon the same fields, they degenerate, and run to greys.
(5) Sc. c.1805 Bonny Lizie Baillie in Child Ballads (1898) V. 265:
An I ell pitt on the hame-made grays, To skip among the breachan.

III. v. 1. To dawn (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., Add. 225; Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Abd., Ags. 1953). Vbl.n. greyin, the first light of dawn (Sh., Ork. 1955).

2. To cover with a thin sprinkling of snow. Hence greyness, n., a light sparse snowfall (Kcb., Dmf. 1955).Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 28:
There's a greyin' on they hills this mornin'.

[O.Sc. has gray brede, from early 15th c., -aittis, 1598, -corn, 1677, -meal, 1647, -hen, from 1429, -stane, from 1468.]

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