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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

KYE, Also k(a)y, key, kie (Slk. 1837 Hogg Tales II. 335), ki (Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xv.), cie (Ant. 1928 Irish Breeder 18). Cows, cattle. Also fig.: people. Obs. exc. in n.dial. in Eng. Gen.Sc.

Comb. kye-time, the time for milking cows (Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne.Sc. 1960). [kɑe]Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 355:
Where will you get a Park to put your yell Kay in. Spoken to them who, without any Reason, boast of their good Management.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 81:
As they drew near, they heard an eldren dey Singing fu' sweet at milking o' her ky.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 234:
The kye stood rowtin i' the loan.
Edb. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xlii.:
The selling my kye for rent or e'er it was due.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Poems (1874) 414:
Wi' a bonnie, bonnie lassie, When the kye comes hame.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 17:
Dy kye fell a-liftin' fir want o' meat.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 155:
As fine a judge o' kye as is on this side o' the Forth: and ye turn up your nose at him!
Sc. 1934 Sc. N. & Q. (Sept.) 130:
Far awa' kye ha'e lang horns.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 39:
"It's not meant to be funny, Andrew," said Hannah.
"Well, perhaps it is a little odd," admitted the minister. "I suppose ministers are uncommon kye to be seen at football matches."
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 65:
" ... and he laughed at the idea that a calf could cause a man's death. Yet one did," said Una, "that same summer when they were driving the kye down, a calf bolted and ran away into the forest, and did my man no chase after it, though it was no business of his whether it ran or not? ... "
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 6:
And then the kye, easy efter the grumphies. And hens and geese
and the deuks cairtit in style.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 18:
While doun thir weel-defined trail, fae the station yaird,
Spatter't kye, ti a killin hoose tryst wi Tam Baird.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 17:
Far corn wyved an girse stude heich
An lowin kye grazed knackie,
The gutsy toon claims aa aroon: Requiescat in pace.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 184:
His sister wasna spared, his stepdochter Meg Burdoun wasna spared, his servant Bessie Weems wasna spared. - Faith, he didna even spare the kye.
Sc. 2004 Sunday Herald 3 Oct 20:
Both this pass, and its parallel neighbour, the Lairig Ghru, were once droving routes that resounded to the movement of cattle, the small black kye of the Highlander.

[O.Sc. ky, cows, 1375. Mid.Eng. , kie, ky(e), O.E. cý(e), pl. of , a cow.]

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"Kye n. pl.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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