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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.

RANCE, n., v.1 Also rans(e); runce.

I. n. A prop, a wooden post used as a stay or strut. Also in Eng. dial.; specif.: the wooden cross-bar between the legs of a chair or table (Ags. 1808 Jam., Ags. 1910; Bnff.8 c.1920; Mry., Ags., Kcb. 1967); a bar for securing a door; a prop to hold up a building, corn-rick, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1900; Lth. 1967), in mining, a prop used to strengthen and support a wall of coal or the roof of a working, also a pillar of unhewn coal left for the same purpose (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 54; Fif. 1890–1957), a row of such supports (Barrowman); the cross-bar of a fence (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), a row of wire in a fence (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C. s.v. rachts); one of the bars of a grate (Abd. 1967), or of a dresser where dishes are set (Abd. 1929), also in deriv. rancers, id. (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. App.); “the fore-part of the roof of a bed, the cornice of a wooden bed” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Combs. fore-rance, the bar along the front of a recessed bed, against which the doors slide (Ib.); rance-pole, a prop or support (Uls. 1967); ranse-wall, a wall of coal, acting as a support or prop for the roof of a working.Lnk. 1714 Session Papers, Thomson v. Pettigrew (15 Feb.) 3:
When the Defender left off working the Carntine Coal, there was left by him a Rans-wall between the Coal where he was working, and the Pursuer's Coal of Shettlestoun.
Ags. 1768 Session Papers, Petition J. Craich (24 Nov.) 13:
Fenced by staves driven in the ground, three cross rances, and barrel-staves, nailed upright upon the said rances.
Rnf. 1787 Session Papers, Coventry v. Speirs (16 Jan.) 38:
Part of these stoops or pillars were ranse-walls, and these ranse-walls appear to have been left for the purpose of keeping back the water.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 561:
Two hundred sheep flakes or hurdles, made somewhat like gates, of foreign fir, having four rails each, with pins, stobs and rances, for securing them.
Lnk. 1843 Trans. Highl. Soc. 80:
This coal is worked in the “room and rance”, or long wall principle, by which the whole coal is taken out.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 243:
Our Cadger sae sly slippit in Syne cannilie shot the muckle door slot, Made a ranse o' a big racking pin.
Abd. 1903 J. Milne Myths 14:
A blow from a “luggie cog”, that came from the “rances” of the dresser table.
Abd. 1965 Press & Jnl. (26 March):
[In the North-east] unlike the thatch of the Highlands, there was no need to rope it down against the wind, though occasionally a thin wooden board called the “runce”, might be laid along the roof just above the eaves as an extra precaution.

II. v. 1. To prop up, brace, stay a building, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth., Lnk. 1967).e.Lth. 1807 Foord Acct. Bk. MS. 2:
To ranceing a house and other Jobs 2 days.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 41:
Ane stamm'rin' on his neibour comes, An' hauds the bodies rancin' Their staunds that day.
e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 54:
Did ye sit . . wi' a foot ranst against the wa' face?

2. To make fast, to jam, close up, esp. by wedging a bar across an opening, to barricade, to fasten firmly to prevent motion (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Per., Slg., Lth. 1967), to obstruct, block or choke up (Ayr. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1824 Farmer's Mag. (Feb.) 62:
4 Straps for rancing the ends, 3 inches by 2 . . . 2s. 0d.
Sc. 1832 Chambers's Jnl. (Aug.) 219:
“He's surely daft to chap the night.” “No sae dooms daft, lass — the door's ranced,” was the answer.
Slg. 1848 Sc. Journal II. 200:
Rance the doors and winnocks — and fill every hole and bore in the wa's.
e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 119:
We have “ransed” the cage with crossbars below the “borderees,” so that it canna win up to let him down.
Fif. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 48:
The action o' the alcohol dejinerates the tishie until the liver becomes akwilly ransed.

[O.Sc. ranse, to prop, brace, 1680, appar. ad. O.Fr. ranche, a cross-bar or stay in a cart, Fr. ranche, id., also the rung of a ladder.]

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"Rance n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2023 <>



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