Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RASH, n.1 Also rasch (Jam.); resh (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. Risis; Rxb. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 312, Sc. 1896 Garden Wk. No. CXV. 100; Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 325; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1955 Abd. Univ. Review (Aut.) 146); and deriv. form rasher (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 199; Rxb. 1880 T. Watts Woodland Echoes 81; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein), and dim. forms rashie (Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 234, Dmf. 1904 W. Wilson Folk-Lore Nithsdale 90), reshie (w.Sc. 1924 Glasgow Herald (25 Nov.)). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. rush, the plant Juncus (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems Gl.; Ayr. 1786 Burns Green Grow the Rashes; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson). Gen.(exc. Sh.)Sc. [Sc. rɑʃ; s.Sc. rɛʃ].

1. As in Eng. Proverbial phrases:Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 98:
Ye're as sma as the twitter o' a twined rash.
Rnf. 1850 A. McGilvray Poems 259:
Straight as a rash was humphy Hare, When dancing with the bride.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 17:
Sheu . . . sat ap i' her chair wi' her back as stracht as a rash, an' as stiff as the sae-tree.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Doric 12:
His dwebble legs boo't like a rash, ower on his wime he fell.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiv.:
Saa A niver siccan a spin'ly streeker o' a chiel, as jimp's a rash an' legs on 'im like a spurgie's.
Cai. 1967:
Till grow like a rash — to shoot up rapidly.

Combs.: (1) rash berry, the bog whortleberry, or great bilberry, Vaccinium uliginosum, prob. because it grows in marshy regions where rushes are to be found (Abd.1 c.1930); (2) rash bonnet, a cap made of rushes (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 404); (3) rash-bush, -buss, a clump of rushes (Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 181; Bnff., Abd., Ayr., Kcb. 1967), freq. in prov. expression the rash-buss holds or keeps the cow, a time of peace and security from marauders is reigning, traditionally ascribed to James I; (4) rush cap, a cap made of rushes (Rxb. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 365). Cf. (2). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (5) rush corn, inferior-quality oats fed unthreshed to live stock. Cf. Eng. rush-wheat, a species of wild wheat; (6) rash-fish, rush-, the smelt, Osmerus eperlanus; (7) rush hat, a hat made of rushes. Cf. (2), (4); (8) rash-mill, a child's toy mill-wheel made of rushes (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also rashie-mill, id. Cf. 2. (2); (9) rash-pyddle, a fish-trap of rushes (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 404). See Paidle, n.4; (10) rash-rape, a rope made of twisted rushes; ¶(11) resh-rouch, overgrown with rushes. See Roch, adj.; (12) rush-theekit, thatched with rushes; (13) rash tow, = (10); (14) rash whup, a whip of pleated rushes (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 404).(3) Abd. 1766 Abd. Journal (29 Sept.):
She had left it in a rash bush, a little way off from where they were reaping.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Address to Deil vii.:
Ye, like a rash-buss, stood in sight, Wi' waving sugh.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiii.:
When he was hasting up to the rash-bush in the little green gair that morning.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 167:
For milder times we live in now When safe the rash-buss keeps the cow.
Sc. 1854 D. Vedder Poems 20:
The rash-buss held the widow's cow, The latch the orphan's door.
Edb. 1871 J. Ballantine Poems 226:
The fearns and heath-bells wag on the knowes, And the tall rash-bushes jouk jauntily.
Abd.7 1925:
We speak of any youngster who grows quickly and is straight of figure as “growin' like a rash-buss”.
(4) Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor 175:
The rush-cap on his head nodding like a mandarin's.
(5) Ags. 1734 Arbroath T.C. Minutes MS. (22 Jan.):
Two stackheads of Rush corn was caryed by Bailie Doig with the fodder at six pound Sixteen shiling eight penies the boll.
Sc. 1927 Sc. N. and Q. (Ser. 3). V. 207:
Rush corn — very poor corn, used unthreshed, for feeding to horses.
(6) Gall. 1892 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. I. 23:
Osmerus eperlanus — The Smelt. — (Locally “Spirling” and sometimes “Rash” or “Rush-fish” in allusion to the rush-like smell).
(7) Ayr. 1897 H. Ochiltree Out of her Shroud xxv.:
His grim rush-hat trembled in the gale.
(8) Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 1:
Him near the burn, wi' willow shaded linn, Dammin the gush, to gar his rash-mill rin.
(10) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 49:
Sawny . . . sometimes had ae gartan, a lingle or rash-rape was good enough for Sawny.
(11) Dmf. 1873 A. C. Gibson Folk Speech Cmb. 119:
An' back I took my darksome way By gerse-grown dykes an' resh-rouch heid rigs.
(12) Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 181:
And jink the rude blast in my rush-theekit ha'.
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 448:
Sae laigh at the back that the laddies wad speil, Like cats i' the dark to the rash theekit riggin'.
(13) Rnf. 1725 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) 120:
To Cutt and away bring Rashes for making Rash Towes and other necessary uses.

2. Derivs.: (1) rashen, rashin, raschen, made from, composed or consisting of rushes (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 263); (2) rashie, rashy, reshy, adj., overgrown with rushes (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 243, reshy; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 181), made of or consisting of rushes. Gen.(exc. Sh.)Sc. Special comb. Rashiecoat, the name of the heroine of the Sc. version of the tale of Cinderella, who wore a coat of rushes.(1) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14:
Whiloms they tented, an' sometimes they plaid, An' sometimes rashen hats or buckies made.
Bnff. 1795 Stat Acc.1 IV. 395:
The straw brechem is now supplanted by the leathern collar, the rashen theets by the iron traces.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
A raschen cap, a cap of rushes, a raschen sword, etc.
n.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 232:
When rashin rinds grow gay gowd rings, I winna langer tarry.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 24:
But when the hairst was by, and a' the crap Was snug aneath their cozy rashen hap.
Bnff. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 22:
The wick consisted for the most part of the pith of the common rush — rashin wicks — and in later times of cotton thread.
Abd. 1882 W. Forsyth Writings 50:
I hae been wae for him when we had baith to lie in a moss pot, wi' oor noses side by side, barely aboon the water for breath, at the back o' a rashen buss.
(2) Ayr. 1788 Burns My Highland Lassie chorus:
Within the glen sae bushy, O, Aboon the plain sae rashy, O.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 73:
O' gin I were whare Gadie rowes Thro' rashie haughs and whinnie howes.
Ags. 1845 A. Smart Rhymes 78:
The auld oily cruisie hung down frae the tow, And the clear rashy wick lent a cheerie bit lowe.
Fif. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 68:
Whan the king's son heard this, he . . . lookit ahint the caudron, and there he found Rashie-coat greetin' for her slipper.
Sc. 1876 Trans. Highl. Soc. 163:
On all hill farms there is a considerable extent of rough Rashie grass such as deer's hair, bents, spret, etc.
Fif. 1876 A. Laing Lindores 399:
The primitive cruisie, with its wick of rashie-rind (pith of rushes), the sole light of every weaver.
 Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Poems 2:
'Twas there, in langsyne, whaur we wore rashy mitres.
Ags. 1881 C. Sievwright Garland 10:
Faur the robin biggit his nest i' the rashie buss at the side o' the burn.
Rxb. 1904 W. Laidlaw Poetry & Prose 69:
And sweet the streamlets sound While crooning down the rashy syke.
Sc. 1934 Gallov. Annual 11:
At the hinner end cam' Rashiecoat, the King's dochter, wha got her name frae the bonny manteel o' gerss-green silk she aye wore, for it was the colour o' rashes growin' by the water-side.
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 67:
Beside where they stayed wis a rashie moor.

3. A peeled rush used for a lamp wick (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.).Cai. 1849 J. T. Calder St. Mary's Fair 12:
Who selleth “rashes” nicely peeled and white; These are for cottage lamps, that still are hung Along the sooty brace.
Ags. a.1863 A. Reid Bards Ags. (1897) 301:
My lamp, Lady Moon, should be steady and bright, For the rush-wick was cut with the moon at its height; I gathered the rashies when you were on high . . . Such wicks have a glamour they borrow from you.
Abd. 1914 A. McS. The Bishop 11:
Pit anidder rash i' the cruisie.

4. Inferior-quality oats, as in 1. (5).Inv. 1769 I. F. Grant Old Highland Farm (1924) 153:
[Sawn] of Falconers white oats for rush.

[O.Sc. rash, a.1400, resch, 1489; rysch-buss, 1529.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Rash n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: