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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

OF, prep. Also ov. Also in reduced enclitic form -y. The colloq. Sc. form of of is O, prep., which is also the reduced form of On, q.v. This has resulted in confusion and interchange of usage between the two prepositions which becomes apparent when the full forms are employed. See O, prep. Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 79:
-y In broad Glaswegian the word 'of' is often pronounced in such a way that it sounds like a 'y' tacked on to the end of the previous word: 'Wanny they hings', 'Somey thame's no use.'

Sc. usages:

1. (1) In designations of clan chieftains and landowners, linking the name of the owner to that of his estate or jurisdiction, in contrast to the sim. construction of In, prep., B. 2., in the case of tenant farmers, e.g. Cameron of Locheil, Mackintosh of Mackintosh, Maxwell of Pollok. Such designations become part of the name and remain even though the ownership of the lands has been alienated. Sim. in Scot. the title Viscount is correctly followed by of (Sc. 1960 J. Fergusson Sixteen Peers 25).Sc. 1700 Acts Parl. Scot. X. 188:
The Duke of Hamilton, the Viscount of Seafield Lord Secretary, the Viscount of Stair, and the Lord Boyle.
Rxb. 1702 Stitchill Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 146:
The Right Honourable Sir John Pringle of Stitchill Knight Barronnett Heretable Proprietor of the Lands and Barronnie thereof.
Lnk. 1707 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 1:
The persons efterspecifeit to be Justices are present, viz.: John, Earle of Hyndfoord, Mr Daniell Carmichaell of Mauldslie, William Weir of Stonebyres, Sir Archibald Fleeming of Ferme, . . . Captain Gavene Hamilton of Raploch, Allexander Menzies of Culterallars. . . .
Sc. 1749 Morison Decisions 4161:
Donald the claimant's father, who was constantly and uniformly designed of Lochiel.
Sc. 1838 Lockhart Scott lxxxiv.:
He desired to plant a lasting root, and dreamt not of personal fame, but of long distant generations rejoicing in the name of “Scott of Abbotsford.”
Kcb. 1904 Crockett Strong Mac xxi.:
“The son of one Shavon McCulloch, in House of Muir?” said the Fiscal. “Of House of Muir!” answered Roy. The preposition marked the owner, not the tenant.
Sc. 1930 Encycl. Laws Scot. X. 143:
Non-territorial names such as “Mackintosh of Mackintosh,” “Macdonald of Clanranald”, were evolved principally in the seventeenth century, since “Mackintosh” or “Mackintosh of Dunauchtan” did not connote chiefship in the Lowlands, where chiefs bore titles such as “Anstruther of that Ilk.”

(2) In river-names as Water of Dee, Water of Leith, Burn of Shioch, Falls of Tummel, and in farm-names, denoting farms which are parts of an originally larger estate, as Mains of Hatton. This word-order is commoner North of the Forth, suggesting Gael. influence, than in Lothian and the Borders where the attrib. use of the place-name is the reg. expression, as Manor Water, Carrington Mains (see W. Nicolaisen in Scottish Studies (1959) III. i. 92–101, IV. II. 194–205).

2. Used where Eng. omits: (1) redundantly after Notwithstanding, q.v. (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 65); (2) after certain verbs = concerning, in regard to (see quots.); (3) after a vbl.n., where St. Eng. now uses the gerundial construction with a direct obj. Also in Eng. dial.; (4) in phr. of before, previously, formerly, mainly in legal usage and now obs. Cf. of new below.(2) Gall. 1706 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 166:
The said John Shiland and Alexander M'Culloch . . . said to him, John we forbid yow of it.
Sc. 1808 Scott in Lockhart Life i.:
I remember of detesting the name of Cumberland.
Sc. 1813 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 346:
The Meeting having considered of the Subject with every attention.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 33:
But now I have to rehearse of what ensued.
Inv. 1884 Crofter's Comm. Evid. IV. 3158:
For my part, I deny of making those statements.
(3) Wgt. 1708 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (18 Jan.):
John Dinle is to wait upon a visitation which is to be at Kirkinner, visiting of the manse.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 21:
[They] spak about my getting of a man.
Ags. 1832 Fife Herald (11 Oct.):
He said he was shooting of game.
(4) Gsw. 1715 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 550:
The haill benefite . . . siklyke . . . as any other master . . . enjoyed the same of before.
Sc. 1717 Nairne Peerage Evid. (1873) 146:
Upon the premonition of fourty days to be made of before for that effect.

3. Omitted after nouns of quantity such as a bit, a curn, a pickle, a sup, etc. Gen.Sc. See under O' prep., 1. (5).

4. Where Eng. employs a different prep. or construction: (1) For, with, through, in respect of, in consequence of, freq. after certain adjs. to govern a modifying noun.Sc. 1704 J. Clark Picture Pres. Generation 32:
The broad way of hell is Thronger of Passengers than the narrow way to Heaven.
Bte. 1714 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 614:
It was enacted noe office . . . should become voyd of the reason of the demise of her said late Majestie.
Mry. 1733 Elchies Letters (MacWilliam) 84:
I went to Mr. Colquhoun, who has been very bad of the cold, and spoke to him.
Dmf. 1776 Dmf. Weekly Mag. (6 Aug.) 288:
She was too soon of the tide which was the cause of her foundering.
Abd. 1821 Farmer's Mag. (May) 206:
A field that appeared to be pretty rich of clover.
Ags. 1827 Justiciary Reports (1829) 97:
She was always a rash creature of her words.
Ayr. 1833 Galt Eben Erskine I. iv.:
“It [tea]'s rather strong of the water,” said Miss Jenny; “it's just content, and that's no' for me.”
Fif. 1862 St. Andrews Gazette (3 Oct.):
He was a bold, active boy, and big of his age.
wm.Sc. 1911 N. Munro Para Handy ii.:
The wan over ninety's very cocky of his age.
Fif. 1937 A. Birrell Things Past Redress 131:
I was returned by a majority of 3582 which, as they say in that part [West Fife] of the United Kingdom, was good “of a majority”.

After a compar. adj., esp. Better, Waur (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 98). See O, prep., 1. (6) (ii).Wgt. 1703 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (28 Feb.):
She knew not of their being the worse of what drink she gave them at that tyme.
Abd. 1768 Abd. Journal (8 Aug.):
Furnished with furniture of London-make, little worse of wear.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. v.:
He will not be half sae blythe of our meeting as our parting.
Slk. 1828 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) 330:
Something she had been the waur of.
Sc. 1887 A. S. Swan Gates of Eden xii.:
Something of which not only himself, but others in the world, would be the better.
Per. 1965 Per. Advertiser (3 April) 14:
The roses aren't any the better of their experience.

(2) From, starting from, in dating. Phs. an extension of (3).Sc. 1866 Gsw. Trade Circular (N.E.D.):
The Subscriber . . . has retired of this date from the Company.

(3) On, upon. Originating in the ambiguity of O, prep., 1. and 2., q.v.Inv. 1715 Steuart Letter Bk. (S.H.S.) 8:
I have of this dait wrot to Mr. Alexr. Indrew, of Rotterdam.
Sc. 1735–43 Letters J. Cockburn (S.H.S.) 23, 96:
I incline to think Mulberys would have done of either side the walk at the lower end . . . I have wrote this of different days and at many different times.
Dmf. 1835 Carlyle Letters (Norton 1888) II. 307:
Forty years maks a great odds of a girl.

Specif., = Eng. a-: (i) in adv. phrs. of new, anew, again. See New, n.; of part, apart; (ii) governing a vbl.n., after certain adjs., esp. Dreich, Lang, Late, q.v. and equivalent expressions. See also O, prep., 2. (1) (iv).(ii) Sc. 1759 Dunlop Papers (1953) III. 104:
We had given over all thought of his being to tak them being so long of being infected.
Ags. 1827 Justiciary Report (1829) 101:
Asked her how she had been so long of sending for assistance.
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16:
He was some time of doing it.

(4) To, towards: (i) relative to. Cf. (1).Gall. 1700 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 50:
There being a great losse of the children for want of a school here.
Gall. 1724 Caled. Mercury (26 May):
The Levellers continue as uneasy of their Neighbours as ever.

(ii) In telling the time: to (Uls. 1953 Traynor), before (an hour) (Sh., ne.Sc., Uls. 1964). Cf. O, prep., 1. (1) (v).Uls. 1912 Northern Whig (18 May–14 June):
It is a quarter of twelve.

(5) With. In Gen.Sc. use as in 1800, 1824 quots.Wgt. 1718 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (21 Sept.):
Interrogat if he could charge her of being guilty with any other person.
Wgt. 1735 Session Bk. Wigtown (1934) 479:
She . . . never told her of her being of child untill the very time of the birth.
Inv. 1767 Session Papers, Mackenzie v. Macleod, Proof 9:
The deponent is not sure whether he was then at his breakfast or done of it.
Sc. 1800 J. Maidment Sc. Ballads (1859) 99:
Although the night were ne'er so dark, And dinging on of rain, Willy.
Sc. 1824 S. Ferrier Inheritance xxvii.:
It was pouring of rain.

(6) In quantitative or numerical expressions where Eng. makes the collective word govern the number of its components by of, Sc. reverses the word order as in five of a family = Eng. “a family of five” (Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16). See quots. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1786 Melville MSS., Gordon Corresp. (N.L.S.) (27 Jan.):
Their chief they are sure would always prevail, For ten of majority never can fail.
Sc. 1845 J. Grant Romance of War xx.:
The farm towns of Tillywhumle and Blawwearie were burned last week — fifteen hundred pounds of a dead loss.
Sc. 1935 St. Andrews Cit. (23 Feb.) 7:
It would be far better to pass an Act preventing any man having more than one of a family.

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



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