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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.

IS, v. Also iz and unstressed aphetic forms 's, 'z, used as in Eng. and also in sentences like there it's = Eng. “there it is” (Sc. 1901 N.E.D. s.v. It; m.Sc. 1958). Neg. forms isna(e)isny, is(i)n; isnint (= is na it) (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvi.). The 3rd pers. sing. pres. indic. of the subst. verb as in Eng. and also:

1. As 1st pers. sing., in an adj. clause qualifying the pron. I or me. Gen.Sc.; also, very rarely, immediately following the pron. This last usage may have originated in a confusion with I'se = I shall (see Sall). See Ellis E.E.P. V. 724. Rnf., Dmf. 1825 Jam.:
I's gawn hame,” I am going home; “I's fow, how's tow,” I am satisfied, as to eating, how art thou? “I's rad I rive; but an I rive, I'se ne'er fill mysel sa fow again.”
Mry.2 1880:
Me at's aye at hame ocht to hae gweed waages.
Dmf. 1912 J. Hyslop Echoes 100:
A'll sit where A' is. A's juist near eneuch the edge!

2. As 2nd pers. sing. with the pron. t(h)ou, du. This usage is found, though rarely, in O.North., and is not infrequent in O.Sc. It is the reg. current usage in Sh. (Sh. 1952 Robertson & Graham Sh. Dial. 10). Sometimes written as one word, when used interrog., e.g. istow.Ayr. 1785 Burns To a Mouse vi.:
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, But house or hald.
Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 429:
How 'se' t'ou, how art thou.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail ii., lxxiii.:
Ist [sic] 'tou ay in Kittlestonheugh's service, and what's come o' him, sin' his lan' was roupit . . . Howsever, Beenie, thou's a — thou's a — I'll no say what.
Rnf. 1825 Babylon in Child Ballads (1882) I. 175:
Istow a maid, or istow a wife?
Lnk. 1862 W. Hunter Biggar 197:
When the winding of the thread [on the reel] was in progress, something like the following words were used: — “Thou's no ane, but thou's ane a' out; Thou's no twae, but thou's twae a' out.”
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 57:
Is doo waakin, Lowrie? . . . Lie whaar doo is.

3. As 1st, 2nd or 3rd pers. pl. where the subject is a, or where the single pron. subject does not immediately precede the v. This usage is reg. in O.Sc. (see D.O.S.T. s.v. Be, v. II. 7. (4)), and is still commonly heard.Inv. 1716 Steuart Letter Bk. (S.H.S.) 29:
The Lastadge of what goods is shiped in the bill of Loadeing.
Sc. 1726 Nairne Peerage Evid. (1873) 35:
That the foresaid patrimonies is and shall be in full contentatione.
Sc. 1763 Boswell London Jnl. (1950) 279:
Such is the views that Mr Johnson has of the most trivial matters.
Sc. 1783 Lady Maisry in Child Ballads No. 65. A. viii.:
Your father and your mother is well.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West (1939) 79:
My word, Miss Nancy, ye's far ben.
Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 97:
Three saucers, one with clean water, another with dirty water, and a third empty, is put on a table.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 108:
They . . . never fash their thooms tae fin' oot whuther their stories is probable or no.
Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 8:
Noo that cauldrife Winter's here . . . Kindlin's scarce an' coals is dear.
Lnk. 1923 G. Blake Mince Collop Close i.:
Luk at them — thae's coos.
Abd. 1951 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 115:
They gang oot an' study the herrin', watch whit way they're shiftin', an' tell ye whaur the best grounds is.

4. In I.Sc. usage, reg. replacing has, have as the aux. in the perf. tense.Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 591:
Devil a kumm iz been i mye kustadee dis munt an mere.
Sh. 1898 Junda Klingrahool 8:
Hit's a lang time noo at du's never been seen, Whaar, can du tell me, whaar is du been?
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Faebruary 5):
A rich man is robbet da poor, or somean is döne it for him.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 12:
What sorro is doo dune noo?

5. neg. forms.wm.Sc. 1977 William McIlvanney Laidlaw (1985) 100:
'Ye're right it isny.'
Gsw. 2000 Herald 15 Aug 21:
"Naw, ye're wrang. It's jist that the glass is durty." This seemed to satisfy the thirsty customer who informed her: "That's awright then, hen. Jist as long is the beer isnae cloudy."
ne.Sc. 2000 Aberdeen Evening Express 2 Sep 20:
They hid six happy years thegither. Mind you, six years isna mony oot o' twenty-two.
Uls. 2001 Belfast News Letter 2 Jun 22:
Line dauncin, quhaur thar isnae onie touchin o yin dauncer by anither ava, an quhaur ye dinnae hae 'pairtners' nayther, ...
Sc. 2003 Scotland on Sunday 13 Apr 5:
"This isna Jamaica, but Scotland. We submit that, leavin aside the niceties o written law, whether there or here, there is a natural law frae which stem oor first principles o morality and justice, and that that natural law finds slavery utterly repugnant."
Sc. 2003 Sun 15 Nov :
An underdog isnae an underdog unless he knows he is.
Sc. 2003 Morning Star 17 Nov 10:
It's nae use, Arthur Scargill, Scotland isna ready for ye yet.
Sc. 2004 Sunday Herald 29 Aug 9:
"If there is anything that drives me [Frank Macaveety] and this Executive, it is that people from wherever they are have a contribution to make. They should be heard, and shouldn't be saying 'it isnae for the likes of us'."
Sc. 2004 Scotsman 1 Oct 22:
As consolation, The Diary submits this Ode to the Parly at Holyrood, as Buckfast Palais has already rejected its inclusion in the Queen's speech:
A Catalan chap called Miralles
Said: I'll build devolution's new palace.
There's oodles of cash,
There'll be a stramash,
It isnae machismo - it's gallus!
Edb. 2004:
Ma dug's daft an yours isnae.

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"Is v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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