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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEEN, n.2, v. Also pien, pean; pin(e); pi(e)nd, peind, peand, pen(d). [pin(d)]

I. n. 1. A peak or apex, a salient angle, a point (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., Cai., Kcb. 1965); an arris (Sc. 1842–76 Gwilt Architecture Gl., 1952 Builder (21 June) 942), a coping (Sh., Mry., Ags. 1965). Comb. piend-check, see 1855 quot. (Gwilt).Gsw. 1715 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 535:
A straight lyne to the pine of his dyck next to the bridge.
Sc. 1752 J. Spottiswoode Stile Writs 425:
To build a Bridge . . . with a mid Pit of free Stone with a Pean or Beak upon the Current of the Water.
Sc. 1855 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 391:
The joints of the steps, are joggled, . . . where the plane of the tread, is continued for about an inch within the line of the riser, and is there met by a plane at right angles to the line of the soffit. This joint is called, in Scotland, a piend check, check being used as synonymous with rebate.
Sh. 1954:
Da craa sat apo da pin o da yard-dek.

2. Specif. the pointed or chisel end of a mason's hammer, the bevelled or tapered face used for dressing stone (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lth., Dmb. 1965). Also peen-en(d), id. (Watson). Hence peener, peen-hammer (n.Sc., Fif., Lth. 1965), a mason's hammer of this type.Uls. 1951 E. E. Evans Mourne Country 162:
These long bars [of granite, for setts] were then roughly dressed into a squared cross-section with a scabbling hammer and nicked with a heavy sledge or “peener”.

3. In Building: one of the sloping ridges at the corners of a hipped or pavilion roof (Sc. 1861 Stephens and Burn Farm Buildings 543, 1906 G. Ellis Mod. Pract. Carpentry 365; Abd., m.Sc. 1965), also piend-ridge, id. (Abd. 1965); the part of the roof between or contiguous to the hip or ridge (Sc. 1871 Village and Cottage Architect. xii.,). Hence peen-batten (Sc. 1845 H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 528), piend-rafter (Sc. 1871 Village and Cottage Architect. xii., 1952 The Builder (20 June) 942), pien(d)-tree (sw.Sc. 1881 Architect. Pub. Soc. Dict.), a hip rafter; piend-roof, a hipped, ridged or pavilion roof (Sc. 1861 Stephens and Burn Farm Buildings 543; n.Sc., Lth. 1965); piend-stone, “the stone covering the rafter in continuation of the ridge stones” (sw.Sc. 1881 Architect. Pub. Soc. Dict.).Ayr. 1766 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (27 Feb.) 205:
That the Peens of the Roof be covered with Lead.
Ayr. 1767 Ib. (8 Dec.) 306:
That the north Shade wants Lead upon the Pines.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot., App. I. 286:
The roof to be covered with blue Easdale or Ballachelish slates, with lead flanks at 6 lib. and peens and ridge at 5 lib. per superficial foot.
Sc. 1845 H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 528:
The peands should be 8 inches broad, and 1½ thick, properly backed to receive the sarking or tile-lath of the respective sorts of roofs. . . . Wall-plates, ridge-rods, valley pieces, peand trees, lead fillets, etc., are measured and priced by the lineal foot.
Sc. 1851 Trans. Highl. Soc. 114:
The ridge and peind battens to be 1½ inch diameter, firmly fixed with strong iron studs. The sarking to be ¾-inch thick, closely nailed together.
Ayr. 1901 Ib. 43:
There is more waste of material and more labour implied and extra rhones and ridging for the “piends” [in a house without a gable].
Per.4 1950:
The piends maun be at the right angle tae the wa.

II. v. 1. To bring to a point, to taper, to shape to a peak or point (Cai., Abd., Ayr. 1965); to round a square piece of timber by taking off the corners, as in making a mast (Ayr. 1965). Comb. peened ledger, a recumbent tombstone having a number of dressed, sloping faces or panels (Abd. 1965).Sc. 1858 H. Stephens Farm Implements 247:
The neck part of the beam is 1½ inch square, and peened or rounded.
Abd. 1931 Glasgow Herald (3 Nov.) 5:
The crook-shaped ornaments known as crockets on a gable or on the piended corners of a pinnacle.

2. To strike with a peen-hammer or sim. pointed instrument (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.).

[O.Sc. pene, peyne, to beat out with a hammer, 1513, E.M.E. pen, the pointed end of a hammer. Meaning I. 2. appears to be the original. Also in n.Eng. dial. Cf. Norw. dial. pen, pœnn, id., Sw. dial. pena, to beat with a hammer. The phonology is not clear.]

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"Peen n.2, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jun 2023 <>



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