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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MILE, n.1 Used also in sing. form as a collective pl. as in dial. or colloq. Eng. (Ayr. 1794 Burns A Red Red Rose iv.).

Comb. milestane, milestone (Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sketches 214, 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 11). Sc. usages:

1. The mile of 1984 Imperial yards (Sc. 1779 J. Swinton Weights and Measures 24), by the 18th c. usually denominated the Scots mile to distinguish it from the English mile of 1760 yards. The exact length varied from place to place. It was practically obs. by the 19th c.Sc. 1715 J. Sinclair Memoirs (Abbotsford Club) 102:
We . . . marched nere to fourtie Scots miles in tuentie-four houres.
Abd. 1758 Aberdeen Jnl. (27 June):
The town and lands of Hillbrae . . . in the parish of Udny, and within seven miles of the town of Aberdeen.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 7:
We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles, That lie between us and our hame.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxviii.:
Callander, which the Bailie stated to be seven Scots miles distant.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 94:
He in a neighbourin' paris' won'd A few Scots miles awa.
Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 184:
A lang Scots mile was shortlin's past.

2. Phr. to gae one's mile(s), to go as far as one can or dares in (wild) conduct (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc.

3. Sing. form as a collective plural. m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 17:
At Jan Palak Square
A mindit on oor ain martyrs,
A thoosan mile awa.
Twa wummin, young an auld
Droont ower the heid o releegion
In Covenantin times.
Dmf. 2000s:
When I wis wee oo leived mair than three mile frae the scuil at Dalton sae oo got tae gan on the scuil bus.

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"Mile n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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