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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LINK, n., v.1 Also lynk, lenk. Sc. usages. [lɪŋk]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., one of the loops or rings of a chain; specif. of the chain from which the pot-hook was suspended in an old-fashioned fireplace (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 256; Ayr.4 1928; I. and n.Sc., Lth. 1961); in pl.: chain-harrows (ne.Sc. 1961). Also link-harras (Id.).Rxb. 1815 J. Ruickbie Poems 7:
[She] hang the supper in the tailor's link — That's full twa feet aboon ilk burning spark, To keep the supper back, an' keep the lown at wark.
Ags. 1821 J. Ross Peep at Parnassus 16:
The cauthron trottelt on the sods Into the elfin link.
Rxb. 1859 Bards of Border (Watson) 109:
Bringe the cruke, an' eke the lynkis Doon frae the rannel trie.
Knr. 1890 H. Haliburton Sc. Fields 131:
The pot … was raised by means of the black crook-shell to a higher link of the kitchen swey.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Shoes of Fortune i.:
Had her griddle, say, been higher on the swee-chain by a link or two.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 9:
These cooking utensils were suspended over the fire by a long iron chain or by four folds of straw simmons wound together, with five or six iron links next to the fire.

Phrs.: (1) at da links o' meesry, in an emaciated condition. Cf. (2); (2) like the links o the cruik, very thin, skinny. See Cruik, n., 7.; (3) links o love, the navelwort, Cotyledon umbilicus (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); the plant Tradescantia or wandering sailor (Ags. 1961). Cf. Lover's links; the name of a form of harvest-knot (Rxb. 1959 F. M. McNeill Silver Bough II. 129 plate); (4) to let doun a link, to work more energetically, to warm up, “turn on the heat”; (5) to tak in a link, to restrain oneself, to reduce one's pace, consumption, etc., to go slow (Abd. 1961); (6) to tine the link, to lose restraint, to exercise no curb or control.(1) Sh. 1900 Shetland News (3 March):
Da sheep is at da links o' meesry noo, irna dey, Tamy?
(4)Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 22:
Quo' she, I hate ay to be trail'd Losh, Rab, let down a link.
(5) Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (10 April) 418:
Baith the Laird and Wullie gat gey weel noddlt afore they thoucht o' takin in a link.
(6) Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 49:
Sic mensless gaits to guide a brute, Compassion grues to think o't; But that ye dinna care a cloot, Sae far ye've tint the link o't.

2. A short length of horse-hair connecting the hook and line used by anglers (Cld. 1825 Jam., lenk).

3. A joint of the body, esp. one of the vertebrae. Phrs.: apo da links o one's neck, lit., at the risk of hanging, under a dire penalty; to hae or pit a link in one's tail, to have a crafty or deceitful disposition, to be meditating a piece of cheating.Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 28:
Ere I him to my shoulders got, My back-bane-links were sey'd.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xii., xiv.:
There's the weight of a millstane on aboon the links o' my neck. … He had as mony links and whimples in his tail as an eel.
Sc. 1825 Jam. s.v. Linkie:
There are o'er mony links in his tail.
Kcb.4 1900:
I hae seen a horse put a link in its tail, which was a braid hint to take care o' yersel. It was said o' a man kittle to cheat and lee, that he was weel worth herdin' as he had a link in his tail for the lettin' doon.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 126:
He wid hae ta pey me apo da links o' his neck therty shillin's fur me grice, or I wid hae da paleece till him.

4. A lock of hair, a curl (Sh. 1961).Sc. 18th c. Merry Muses (1911) 44:
The curls and links o' her bonny black hair.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 93:
Her links o' black hair owre her shouthers fa, bonnie.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 109: 
Ye may kame down thae gowd-links, thae lang simmers three.
Rnf. 1819 Harp Rnf. (Motherwell) 210:
Gowden glint the yellow links That round her neck she'd twine.
Sc. 1851 A. Maclagan Poems 20:
To kame the lang links o' her gowden hair.

5. A sausage, black pudding. Gen. in pl.: a string of puddings or sausages. Gen.Sc., also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1837 M. Dods Manual 266:
Fill a large well-cleaned ox-gut, plait it in links, and hang the sausage in the chimney to dry.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 133:
Links o' puddin's, black to see.
Gsw. 1931 H. S. Roberton Curdies 91:
My twa pun o' links that I was takkin' hame to the wife.

6. A straw rope used to hold down the thatch on a roof or on a haystack, extending from one eave over the top and down the other side (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Hence link-stane, -steen, a stone tied to the end of this rope as an added weight against wind (Sh. 1961).Sh. 1912 J. Nicolson Hame-Spun 83:
One o' da linkstanes fell on da brig o' his nose.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 64:
I guid an' took twa bundles o' da coy-aar simminds 'at I wraet Gibbie ta send up — . . . an' cuist links ower da byre rüff, for faer o' a gale.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 17. 15:
An ovoid of blackened hay … weighed down vertically by link and linksteen, and bound horizontally, as if its ribs were outside, by parallel bands of yard simmonds.

7. A loop of a winding stream or river or the land enclosed by this, mostly in pl. and used esp. of the Forth.Slg. 1771 W. Nimmo Hist. Slg. 439:
Its numerous windings, called links, form a great number of beautiful peninsulas, which, being of a very luxuriant and fertile soil, give rise to the following old rhyme: “The lairdship of the bonny Links of Forth, Is better than an Earldom in the North.”
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 437:
The Earn, by breaking down the opposing banks in its serpentine turning, has formed beautiful links or haughs, alternately, on each side of its stream.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Siege Rxb. (1874) 615:
All the links of the bonny Teviot and Slitterick.
Rxb. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 323:
The wild green links o' Liddisdale.
Sc. 1874 Trans. Highl. Soc. 135:
The land occupied by the “Links” or “bends” amounts to nearly 500 acres unavailable for cultivation.
m.Sc. 1915 J. Buchan Thirty-Nine Steps iii.:
The links of green pasture by the streams were dotted with young lambs.
ne.Sc. 1924 M. Angus Tinker's Road 39:
On the days when I counted the lambs, mother, By the bonnie green links o' Dee.

8. A division or section of a peat-stack or of hay when piled in a hayshed, the space between one post of the shed and the next, a Dass (Gall. 1961).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 182, 319:
My peatclaig is fu' o' links o' gude peats. … Each division of a peat-stack, is called a link; so the stack is made up of links.

II. v. 1. (1) absol., intr. or with wi: to go arm in arm, to pass one's arm through another's (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc., also in n.Eng. dial. Also to link an airm wi.Ags. 1815 G. Beattie Poems (1882) 158:
Baith lads and lasses, trig and clean; Linkin' blythly, pair and pair.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xvi.:
When I … saw the two antics linking like ladies, and aye keeping in the way before Miss Betty.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 318:
Persons walking arm in arm, are said to be linked or huiked.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 301:
Wut and wisdom never used to be seen linkin alang thegither.
Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor 10:
The rural lad … put his budding manhood to the proof, by “linking with” his sweetheart before the people in general.
Ags. 1880 Brechin Advert. (21 Sept.) 3:
Link close to me, my ain gudeman.
Lth. 1882 P. McNeill Preston 74:
He'll no link an airm Wi' a lass but me.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 121:
Wi' that he put his airm through mine, an' off we gaed linkin'.
Abd. 1927 T. McWilliam Around the Fireside 71:
Ilka braw lad and his ain bonnie quean, Linkit thegither, gae dand'rin at e'en.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
They went down bye linkit, i.e. walking very affectionately.

Hence deriv. comb. linkie-cheerie, king's chair, a seat formed by two people lmnking arms to carry a third (Bnff. 1961).

(2) tr. To take (another) on one's arm, to give one's arm to (Cai. 1961 Edb. John o' Groat Lit. Soc. 3), to support an infirm person by the arms (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds xxiii.:
Ane o' our stirks o' country gentlemen linking a leddy about his house, and showing her his plenishing.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.:
Lang luggit Laurie cam wi' four o' the Town Guard at his back, and linkit awa the wee Frenchman to jail.
Rxb. 1890 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 115:
[He] told her to stand there till he thrashed Jock for daring to “link his lass.”
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 41:
I'm linkin' a tottum the heicht o yer houch.
Ags. 1957 Forfar Dispatch (11 July):
They gae me a len o a walkin stick and linkit me tee bus.
Dmf. 1960:
An old man discussing the problem of getting his wheel chair over the doorstep said it would be better if the chair was put in the road “and I was linkit oot tae't.”

2. With aff, doun, on, up, etc.: to lift a pot on or off the pot-hook on the links, to raise or lower the hook. Gen.Sc., obsol.Sc. 1740 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 131:
But hark! — the kail-bell rings, and I Maun gae link aff the pot.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' lx.:
And swankies they link aff the pot, To hain their joes.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Sh. 564:
Link up the pot and put on a gude fire.
Abd. 1845 P. Still Cottar's Sunday 22:
The thrifty mither links the kettle on.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 82:
She rack'd her side the tither nicht, While linkin' aff the tawtie pat.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 9:
The pots were hung from this suspender by a crook which was linked up or down according to the degree of heat required.
Uls. 1929 P. O'Donnell Adrigoole 112:
Brigid disturbed them to link down the kettle.

3. (1) To tie down thatch by means of links (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1961). See I. 6.Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 20. 43:
Mony hairsts brocht in ta da yard ta be biggit, shapit and roondit aff, an dan linkit doon fornenst da days o vailensi ahead.

(2) To beat with a link, to beat in gen., to thrash (Ork. 1961).Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 137:
Miny's da time A'm hard mithers fleggan da peerie anes ower id whin dey said tings dey soodna. Hid deud better nor a flightin' or a linkin'.

4. To work ploughed land with a chain-harrow (ne.Sc. 1961). Cf. I. 1.Abd. 1910 Evening Gazette (18 June):
Some fowk'll tell 'at, gin ye link th' ley afore ye ploo't ye winna be baddert wi' tory.

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"Link n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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