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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HEICH, adj., adv., n., v. Also heigh, hi(e)ch, heech, -gh, -hh, heych; †hee (Sc. 1711 Speech for Mr Dundasse 11, Slk. 1830 Hogg Tales (1874) 438), †hie (m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 240), †hey, heh ( Dundee), in comb. †hi-, †he-. Sc. forms of Eng. high, now obs. or obsol. in Ork., em.Sc.(b), Lnk. and s.Sc. See P.L.D. § 41 (4). Derivs. heichly, highly (Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 129); heichmaist, highest (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., heaghmost; Abd. 1956); heichness, highness, height (Upp. Cld. 1825 Jam.); heichwards, upwards (Lnk. 1922 Hamilton Advertiser (2 Sept.)). Also compar. heicher, superl. heichest. [I., II., III.: Sc. (except where Eng. high prevails as above) hi, †hi:, ne.Sc. + hɪ, Sh. həi; IV.: Gen.Sc. hi, hɛ, hɪ]

I. adj. Sc. forms of Eng. high.Sc. 1979 T. S. Law in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 82:
something as swythe as the wuin whan featherin
thru blawn fyne hair whan a man is staundin heech
on a sgurr ...
m.Sc. 1979 Donald Campbell in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 68:
It wasna favour, wasna fear
that gart me haud my wheesht sae lang,
but just the homage that I bear
til ye, the heichest o us aa amang.
Lnk. 1982 Duncan Glen in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 56:
But come the sun and days by the burn
heich on the hill.
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 23:
And upon heich the pillars o Society: plc,
wha haud the cairts, them a', and unnerneath discairds,
ne.Sc. 1991 Lilianne Grant Rich in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 23:
There at its heichest sclims the rinnin tide
Scatterin the bairnies' game -
Slappin the fisher-hooses' side
Wi green-white faem.
Slk. 1991 Harvey Holton in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 132:
Heich owre hazel-shaw, owre hedder oo hechle
sweit staunan sterk oan body an brou,
drookit by drizzle frae alien airts
oo schauchle tae shelter tae pick at oor piece.
Abd. 1996 Norman Harper and Robbie Shepherd Anither Dash O' Doric 39:
Coming back on stage, John said: 'Weel, Alice, Bennachie's nae affa hich, bit it's been some hich for you the nicht.'

Sc. usages:

1. Of persons, animals, plants in respect of their growth: tall (Kcb. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 290, heehh). Gen.Sc. Now obsol. in Eng.Sc. 1719 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 214:
Imprimis then, for Tallness I Am five Foot and four Inches high.
Peb. 1793 R. Brown Carlop Green (1817) 124:
That o'er his carpet walks ilk day, Wi' his heegh limber laud [son].
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 292:
I saw the deil i' the shape o' the auld laird, but as heegh as an ordinar tree.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Tall; as “that boy's very heich o' his eild,” i.e. very tall for his age.
Dmb. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 19:
Heigh as Saul amang the people.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 13:
Nae doot ye [Ivy-plant] are heich — but it's a' awn to aid.
Gall. 1928 Gallov. Annual 21:
I min' ye since ye were only a wee bird heich.
Abd.4 1929:
Stan' an' grow heich, braid folk's nae bonnie — said when all seats are occupied.
Bch. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 27:
For the dockens aye growe heichest In a Buchan fairmer's yaird.

Phr.: to be heich upon ae shouther, to have one shoulder higher than the other (Sh., Abd., Kcd. 1956).Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 28:
He wis heich upon ae shouther, Tho' the lave o' him wis laich.

2. Situated above another of its kind, raised. Specif. of a flat or storey of a house raised above ground level, on an upper floor (Arg., Ayr. 1956).Gsw. 1700 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 310:
He had . . . ane tenement of land, heigh and laigh.
Edb. 1712 Edb. Ev. Post (23–26 Feb.):
An high Merchant Shop in the said Lucken-Booths.
Ags. 1727 Arbroath T. C. Rec. (30 Oct.):
There was an additional sellary of fifty merks by year together with the high house and garret above the gramer schole.
Ayr. 1796 Burns Lass o' Ecclefechan i.:
Bye attour, my gutcher has A heich house and a laich ane.

Phr. heigh up and laigh doon, from top to bottom, both in the gallery and on the floor level. Ags. 1874 T. Guthrie Autobiography I. 331:
After Maister Guthrie cam', the kirk was filled haigh [sic] up and laigh doon.

3. Of wind or geographical location: north (Kcb. 1956).Gall. 1902 E.D.D.:
“The wind's awa' heich,” the wind has veered to the north.
Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 29:
The heigh en' and the laigh en' o' the hill. In Scaur “heigh” is north, and “laigh” is south.

4. Of an animal's ears: pricked, erect.Peb. 1793 R. Brown Carlop Green (1817) 130:
And hogs, wi' heegh or hingan' lugs, In rowth, for fo'k tae wale.

5. Big, protuberant.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 86:
Bellies, the heicher they were and fatter, Were dunsched in and gras'd the flatter.

6. Arrogant, proud, condescending. Gen.Sc. Not now used in Eng. of persons exc. in dial.Ayr. a.1796 Burns Tyrant Wife 1:
Curs'd be the man, the poorest wretch in life, The crouching vassal to the tyrant wife! Who has no will but by her high permission.
m.Lth. 1811 H. Macneill Bygane Times 26:
Whan waste and want come whirling round To pu' some heigh heads to the ground.
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken xxiv.:
Ou ay! Ye're rael heigh, are na ye? But ye gaed fleechin' to Miss Mary for a' that.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 4:
Feth! it's a dizzy, restless warl', When folk sae heich maun turn and harle.

Hence phrs.: (1) to be very high in the bend, to be very condescending (Peb. 1936; m.Lth., Dmf. 1956). Cf. III., 2.; (2) to cairry a heich heid, to assume a haughty air (e.Sc. 1956).(2) Bnff. 1887 W. M. Philip Covedale ii.:
Gin they hadna carried sae heigh a heid, but lived mair plain and sober, she wouldna hae come to this.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 81:
Ithers wha wi' their administrative capabilities, and power o' judgin' first appearances, warrants them to carry an unco hie heid.

7. In high spirits, lively, hilarious, in an over-excited condition, hysterical; excitable (Sh., ne.Sc., em.Sc., Ayr. 1956); “out of mind or raving in delirium” (ne.Sc. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 165, ne.Sc. 1956).Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 51:
Nae new-flown birds are sae mirthsome an' hie.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xvi.:
I had never in a' my previous experience, seen Andro sae heigh as he was that nicht. Puir chield, he was like to loup his very lane wi' joy.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxiii.:
Weel, Gushets's pitten him as heich's himsel' aboot this non-intrusion wark.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 129:
I never gaed to see her when she had ane of her heich turns.
Hdg. 1896 J. Lumsden Battle of Dunbar 13:
A pawky yaad — nor hich nor haughty — Kent far an' near as “Canny Dawty.”
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet ii. viii.:
Ye'll be clean high aboot gaun back.
Abd.30 1956:
Ye'd better watch your step and nae work her up. She'll gang heich on ye.

8. Chief, principal, main, special, in various Sc. collocations as High Kirk, High School. See III. Combs. below.

II. adv. Sc. forms of Eng. high.Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 52:
" ... that goat a' dress'd up ti the nines wi' her heed stuck heh in the air, her earrings janglin an' her heh-heeled peep-taed sling backs clickin. D'ye mind, Ina?"
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 3:
And heicher up the fauldin land
mair trees agin the luift.

Sc. usages:

1. Loudly, in a loud voice (Nai.2 c.1925). Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng. since mid. 17th c. Often with out = aloud, audibly (ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr. 195Sc. 1769 D. Herd Sc. Songs 322:
Out came the gudeman, and high he shouted, Out came the goodwife, and low she louted.
s.Sc. 1811 A. Scott Poems 132:
To rank amang farmers I hae muckle pride, But I mauna speak high whan I'm tellin o't.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxx.:
Ordinary civility forbade me sayin' sae heigh oot.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 80:
I began to read the births, marriages, an' deaths i' the Guide heich oot.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (18 Nov.):
There was no time wasted on reading book or newspaper, other than the weekly which was read heech-oot by one or other of the fireside assembly.

2. Proudly, haughtily, disdainfully. Now obs. in Eng. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1798 Burns Duncan Gray i.:
Maggie coost her head fu' high Look'd asklent and unco skeigh, Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 5:
Fu' weel I wat some shaw their face, Whase line wad be as ill to trace, An' yet fu' heigh an' lordly carry't.

3. In lively or excited fashion, merrily, gaily (Abd. 1956).Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Sir Marmaduke Maxwell 148:
The plow-boy whistled at his darke, The milk-may answer'd hie.

III. adj. and adv. phrs. and combs.: 1. high Admiral, see Admiral; 2. high-bendit, dignified in appearance, haughty, ambitious (Sc. 1825 Jam.; m.Lth. 1956). Cf. I. 6. Phr. (1); †3. hie-cocket hat, “a hat with the brim thrice cocked” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 263); 4. High Commissioner, see Lord; 5. High Constable, (1) a high officer in the Scottish Royal Household, see 1890 quot. The hereditary title was reserved by the treaty of Union of 1707 and has been held by the family of Hay of Erroll since 1315; (2) a member of an Edinburgh society of special constables, created in 1611 and assuming the title High in 1805 (see quots.). The various constituent burghs of Edinburgh, Canongate and Calton, had also High Constables till 1856 and they survive still in Leith and Holyrood, and also in Perth; 6. High Court (of Justiciary), see Justiciary; 7. †hie cutt, adj., of an extremist tendency in Church matters. Cf. 12.; 8. high-cutter, a type of plough used in ploughing competitions, so called from the type of furrow cut (Cai., Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Arg. 1956). Also attrib. (m.Lth. 1956) and high-cut plough, id. (Ork. 1956); 9. high door, see Door, n.1, 2. (3); 10. high English, the stilted, affected, pedantic or distorted form of English employed by Scots attempting to imitate “correct” English pronunciation and forms of expression (Per., m.Lth., wm.Sc. 1956); 11. high-fly, a swing at a fair; 12. high flyer, -flier, in Sc. usage: a name given in the 18th and early 19th cents. to a member of the Evangelical church party, the successors of the Covenanters, as opposed to a Moderate. Now only hist. Hence high-flying, belonging to this party; 13. high (hi(e)) gate, -gait, the public road, the highway. Used fig. = the best or most direct way, and also used adv. = directly, by the shortest and quickest route. Cf. Gate, n., v.; 14. high heelers, see quot.; 15. heich-heidit, proud, haughty, arrogant (Sh., n. and em.Sc. (a) 1956). Cf. I. 6. Phrs. (2); 16. high jinks, see Jink, v., n.1, adv.; 17. heich-, high kilted, see Kilt, v.1, 1.; 18. high kirk, h(i)e-, the principal church in a town or district, e.g. St Giles in Edinburgh, the Cathedral in Glasgow; 19. heich-mindit, haughty, proud (Sh., Fif.1956). Arch. in Eng. Cf. 15.; 20. high school, see High School; 21. high steward, see Steward; 22. high-twal, noon. Cf. Eng. high noon; 23. up to high doh, also up tae high doe, at high doh, in a state of extremely agitated excitement. 2. Sc. 1732 T. Boston Crook in the Lot (1745) 68:
Many a high-bended Spirit keeps on the Bend.
Sc. 1897 L. Keith Bonnie Lady vii.:
If he had told her what a high-bendit, prickmadenty lady he had in his mind's eye.
5. (1) Sc. 1747 Acts 20 Geo. II. c. 43 § 1:
All Heretable Constabularies, other than the Office of high Constable of Scotland.
Sc. 1890 Bell Dict. Law Scot. 234:
The Lord High Constable had anciently the command of the King's armies while in the field, in absence of the King. He was likewise judge of all crimes or offences committed within four miles of the King's person, or within the same distance of the Parliament, or of the Privy Council.
Sc. 1953 Burke's Peerage 748:
Her Ladyship [the Countess of Errol] is the 27th High Constable, and as such is the first subject, by birth, in Scotland after the Blood Royal.
(2) Edb. 1830 W. Chambers Bk. Scotland 95:
The society of High Constables of the city, elected by the town-council, the members of which must have been burgesses and in business three years before entering.
Edb. 1924 D. Robertson Hist. High Constables Edb. 35:
In the same year (1805) the Society assumed the title of “High Constables” for its members in order to avoid any confusion with the officers employed under the Judge of Police.
Edb. 1947 Scotsman (29 Nov.):
The annual meeting of the High Constables and Guard of Honour of the Palace of Holyroodhouse [was] held at Holyrood.
Edb. 1957 Scotsman (23 Jan.):
The High Constables of Edinburgh — which is perhaps the oldest police force in the world.
Sc. 1957 Scotsman (23 Nov.):
Nearly 300 Edinburgh High Constables were present, as well as representatives of the High Constables of Holyrood-house, Leith, and Perth.
7. Sc. 1705 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1834) I. 382:
He is a very hie cutt man, who was formerly pursued befor the justice court for treason.
10. Sc. 1791 Boswell Johnson I. 361:
Let me give my countrymen of North-Britain an advice not to aim at absolute perfection in this respect; not to speak High English, as we are apt to call what is far removed from the Scotch, but which is by no means good English, and makes “the fools who use it” truly ridiculous.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxiii.:
Speaking in sic high English, that the Babel babble o' Mull and Moydart was a perfection o' sense when compar't wi't.
Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 186:
Uttering these awful words, in high English, for he speaks like a printit beuk.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 426:
The hosier, whose high English seemed to impress him with the belief, that it was nae common folk he had ado wi'.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 13:
He spoke such high English that I couldna understan' the half he said.
Bch. 1932 J. White Moss Road 39:
Her an' her high English! Her father was a wee merchant about Kittybrewster.
11. Slg. 1896 W. Harvey Kennethcrook 149:
All kinds of amusements went on in the show-ground. “High-flies” and “hobby-horses” were in active business.
12. Sc. 1725 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) III. 227:
He has printed a protest against King George coming to our throne, because he hath not sworn our National and Solemn League and Covenant. These high-flying wild people deserve our pity and compassion. Some of them seem serious and pious.
Sc. 1727 P. Walker Remarkable Passages 110:
Reflections upon the faithful Followers of the Lamb, giving them so many Nicknames, as Cameronians, Society-people, the warm Party, the warmer Sort, warm hot Persons, the violent Party, High-fliers.
Sc. 1800 A. Carlyle Autobiog. (1860) 313:
The High-flying set were unanimous against it, as they thought it a sin for a clergyman to write any play, let it be ever so moral in its tendency.
Sc. 1819 Lockhart Peter's Letters lviii.:
The Whigs, in like manner, are called Wild-men, or High-flyers, entirely on account of the alleged ultra-Calvinistic austerity of their dogmas.
Sc. 1825 Aberdeen Censor 140:
I allude to the highflyers, wandering stars, or chosen saints (for by one or other of these names they are designated), who search out every new comer, and, after remaining a few months, fly off to some other place of worship.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lads' Love xv.:
The Established folk, both Moderates and High-flyers, are neither to hold nor to bind.
Sc. 1905 H. F. Henderson Religious Controversies Scot. 34:
Rather than offend Cæsar, the followers of Principal Hadow tolerated the affronts done to Church authority by the high-flyers.
13. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 273:
Out the high Gate is ay fair Play. Downright Honesty is both best, and safest.
Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 158:
And there's ane coming, hie gate, hither, Shall soon bring down the haly Brither.
Ayr. 1796 Burns Had I the Wyte? i.:
She watch'd me by the hie-gate side, And up the loan she shaw'd me.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 131:
Wow! S —, man, to tyn your feet, And tak' the gutter, for hi'-gate.
Bnff. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 98:
That's the hie gait t' ger 'im dee't.
14. Abd. 1953 People's Journal (14 Nov.):
I wasn't long in discovering there are two varieties of “stovies,” the “barfit” and the “high-heelers.” The “barfit” ones, as their name implies, consisted of roast fat, onions and seasoned potatoes, whereas the “high-heelers” contained plenty of left-over meat.
15. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 7:
The auld wife wus a straucht stiff backid, hard . . . heich heided wife.
Bnff. 1930 E. S. Rae Waff o' Win' 39:
Gie curns o' gran' foulk an' a hantle o' heich-heedit gentry frae Lunnon rin' ahin him noo.
Mry. 1932 E. Gilbert Spindrift 26:
Yer neibors, though high-heided, May be broken a' thegither.
18. Gsw. 1702 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 349:
For covering the Kings seat in the Inner Hie Church, . . . in mourning for King Williams death in March last.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ayr. Legatees vi.:
The Doctor and me was at the he-kirk of Saint Paul's, for a purpose that I need not tell you.
Sc. 1834 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1864) IV. 47:
The phalanx . . . is deploying . . . round yon great hie-kirk-looking rocks, intil a wide level place that's a perfect circle.
Rnf. 1881 D. Gilmour Gordon's Loan 37:
Within the ring o' the hie kirk bell.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 116:
An' Embro Hie Kirk's been restored In popish ways.
Sc. 1953 Scotsman (25 June):
They also saw the Honours of Scotland borne into the High Kirk with public reverence and ceremony.
22. Ags. a.1891 Harp Per. (Ford) 329:
At high-twal we rested aneath the same tree.
23. ne.Sc. 1958 Jessie Kesson The White Bird Passes (1987) 115:
"She'll go off her head when she finds out. She's at high doh already because it's Trustees Day. ..."
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 15:
Up tae high doe worryin aboot that da ae yours.
em.Sc. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 68:
'It's my turn to cook tonight,' he said. 'Nell'll be up to high doh if I'm late ... '
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 32:
Youve been on the ran dan you couple of wee tinkers and your mother's up to high doe.

IV. n. 1. A hill, height, an eminence, upland, rising ground (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Abd., Per., m.Lth., Kcb., Rxb. 1956). Gen. found in phr. heich(s) and howe(s), hill(s) and dale(s), humps and hollows, ups and downs, applied to a countryside or gen. to anything with an undulating surface. Gen.Sc. Also fig. See also Howe, n.1Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 219:
But scowrs o'er Highs and Hows a' Day, Throw Moss and Moor.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 43:
Amang such rugh rigs, highs an' hows as I hae to hurl through.
Rxb. 1805 A. Scott Poems 28:
But Ceres rears her yellow pow, Elate o'er ilka hich and howe.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 16:
His harp, that charm'd ilk heigh an' howe, Wi' chearfu' strain.
Per. 1896 I. Maclaren Kate Carnegie 209:
The roads are graund the noo frae the heich; we've hed an awfu' winter . . . clean blockit up.
Dmf. 1910 J. Corrie Glencairn 146:
There's never a heich but there's a howe.
Lth. 1915 J. Fergus Sodger (1916) 29:
It's lang, ower lang, sin' I hae seen the heather's purple lowe, Or watch'd the whin fling rowth o' gowd ower mony a heigh and howe.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 19:
Ower crags an' clumpers, birns an' cowes An' waukrife sheep an' heichs an' howes.

2. Phr. the heich and the laich o'd, the long and the short of it (Wgt. 1905).

V. v. To raise, heighten. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c.Sc. 1705 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 389:
The masons began this morning to the highing the north dyke of the wester orchard.
Abd. 1759 Abd. Jnl. N. and Q. II. 252:
Therefor he thought it proper, the fore part thereof should be height.

[O.Sc. heich, from c.1470, hich from 1567, Mid.Eng. heigh, 13th c., O.E. hēah. The form hie is in O.Sc. he, hie, c.1400, O.E. oblique stem hēȝ-. O.Sc. has also he-gate, 1391, he-kirk, 1422, heichness, 1522.]

Heich adj., adv., n., v.

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