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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.

OUTFIELD, n. Also ootfiel(d), ut-; ootfeedle, outfeidle (Abd. 1900 Scots Mag. (March 1934) 431). In the earlier system of agriculture before enclosing and rotation of crops, the more outlying and less fertile parts of a farm, in distinction to the Infield, q.v. It was divided into two parts, the Fauld, which was occasionally manured by the folding of cattle upon it, and the Fauch, which was never manured (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Now only hist., exc. in Sh. where it is sometimes applied to a poorer outlying patch of ground (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), “not cultivated in earlier times” (Sh.10 1964). Also attrib. = outlying, remote, away from the farm-buildings, out-of-doors, and transf.Sc. 1705 Observator (11 June) 44:
Scotland only to be Outfield Ground belonging to the great Maillen of great Britain.
Sc. 1712 Caldwell Papers (M.C.) 304:
The outfield land to be labourit three yeirs and lye lea three years.
Sc. 1733 P. Lindsay Interest Scot. 37:
When we break up one Field for Tillage, if we left out another for Hay or Pasture in good Condition, the unfrugal Practice of Outfield and Infield would be at an End, every Part of a Farm would in its Turn produce equally plentiful Crops of Grain or Grass.
Sc. 1758 Session Papers, Petition A. Lilly (9 March) 6:
The due turns of sowing as to Outfield is, to have one third of it in corn, and two thirds in grass, in due turns.
Abd. 1794 J. Anderson Agric. Abd. 55:
That part of the farm called outfield is divided into two unequal portions. The smallest, usually about one third part is called folds, provincially falds. The fold ground usually consists of ten divisions, one of which each year is brought into tillage from grass. With this intent it is surrounded with a wall of sod the last year it is to remain in grass, . . . for confining the cattle during the night time, and for two or three hours each day at noon. It thus gets a tolerably full dunging, after which it is plowed up for oats during the winter.
Rnf. 1806 R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 133:
For lang I've thocht, as little harm in Hearin a lively out-fiel sermon.
e.Lth. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (16 Jan.) 3:
Long-Newton contains about 600 Scots acres, of which nearly 240 acres are outfield lands; the other 360 acres are all arable, and, with the exception of a part of the infield pasture, are enclosed.
Per. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (11 March):
Stealing a bag of potatoes from an outfield pit.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 31:
One of the outfield farmers, who was known to possess some small pose of original capital.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ix.:
Dawvid Hadden . . . cam' owre to lay aff a bit o' oor ootfeedles last year.
Sc. 1879 A. B. Grosart in Fergusson Works 145:
The morning's “hirsel” is commonly near the Steading . . . In the after-part of the day the cattle are usually sent to the “outfield hirsel.”
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 108:
Doo'll see what a differ aucht days 'ill mak even apo' ootfield.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood iv.:
Cattle . . . soon turned both outfield and infield into a miry wilderness.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 32:
As the seasons turned from seed-time to harvests Bryce came more and more to the belief that the whole infield and outfield system was wasteful and wrong and he began to seek out men who were interested in the new enclosure and hedging arrangements and ply them with questions.

[O.Sc. owtfeild, 1542.]

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"Outfield n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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