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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAWN, n., v. Also pawne, pa(a)n; paun(d); pa(w)nd (Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 279). Sc. forms and usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a pledge or security, specif., usu. in pl., a sum of money deposited with the Kirk Session by a prospective bride and bridegroom as a guarantee of their intention to marry within forty days and an earnest of their chaste conduct in the interval. Hence phr. to lay doon the pawns, to make official notification of one's intention to marry, to arrange for the proclamation of banns (Sc. 1903 E.D.D., s.v. Lay). Obs.Bnff. 1708 W. Cramond Church of Cullen (1883) 142:
Whoever afterwards shall have pypers att their wedding shall forfeit their pauns.
Rxb. 1711 J. J. Vernon Par. Hawick (1900) 92:
The pands consigned before Mr. Alexander Orrok's death, which were not forfeited for immoralitie, were restored.
Clc. 1727 J. Crawford Mem. Alloa (1874) 151:
The session having received a petition from James Virtue demanding back fourty shillings Scots which was retained out of his pan-money, as a due to the poor for his being married privately.
Slg. 1739 R. M. Fergusson Logie (1905) I. 336:
Alexander Robertson's pawnes was put in the box for the use of the poor, he being proclaimed and not married, which is . £6.
Fif. 1745 Sc. Antiquary (1893) 6:
It has been the immemorial practice of the parish of Innerkeithing, when the Bride resided there, for the Bridegroom to lay a paund of Eight pounds scots, in case of ante-nuptial fornication or not solemnising the marriage within fourty Days.
ne.Sc. c.1800 G. Greig Folk-Song clxxiv.:
But as the Kirk the ring demands, Says Jeems: We'll go and join our hands, For fear we lose our twal' poun' pawns.
Per. 1818 A. Philip Longforgan (1895) 236:
The Session taking into consideration that their Clerk, from his entry, has had the marriage Pawns allowed him, and for which he taught some poor Scholars.
Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 170:
The practice of requiring pawns at marriage and of exacting fines from the transgressors is still kept up by some Kirk-sessions in Shetland.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 89:
Along with the bride's father, or brother, or it might be with a friend, the young man went to the Session Clerk to give in the names for proclamation of banns, or, as it was called, “to lay doon the pawns.”

2. A pawnshop. Gen.Sc. Cf. colloq. Eng. pawn, a pawnbroker.wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report (2) i 59:
Another flagrant cause of immorality is the "wee pawns," or small unlicensed pawn-brokers, of whom the thieves are the best customers.
Ayr. 1868 A. M'Kay Lilts 44:
Even the duds that your hurdies should screen Ye took to the pawn, and got drunk yestreen!
Ayr. 1882 A. L. Orr Laigh Flights 22:
Their guid claes a' gaed to the pawn.
Sc. 1897 C. M. Campbell Deilie Jock i.:
Near half the plenishing went to the pawn for drink.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie xxiii.:
A street that has a public-house at each end o't, and a wee pawn in the middle.
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie ii. i.:
I'd to lift my claes oot o' the pawnd this morning.
Gsw. 1952 Scots Mag. (July) 288:
“Whit pawn are ye goin' to?” . . . “I'll gie ye five bob for it!”

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to lay down as security, stake, pledge (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Ppl.adj. pandit, -ed, pledged (Ib.). Used fig. in phr. to pawn one's thumb (see Thoum, n. 2), to touch hands on a bargain as a pledge of good faith.Rxb. 1711 J. J. Vernon Par. Hawick (1900) 90, 92:
His consignation money panded in Mr. Orrok's time . . . twentie shilling Scots piece pawnded by Jo. Forman.
Edb. 1889 R. F. Hardy Johnnie 127:
Tell us what you mean by "panded". What did your old friend do to his Bible? He took it to the pawn.

2. To foist on to, to palm off on (ne.Sc., Lth., Bwk. 1959). Also formerly in Eng.m.Lth. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie i.:
Ye begin to pawn yere trash on the bits o' glaikit lassies.
Sc. 1897 S. Tytler L. Jean's Son 21:
A beggar's boat from France, pawnded on my lord Duke while he was yet in the body.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 16:
Yon haaf-pun o' butter ye tried to paan on to me.

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"Pawn n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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