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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

RICE, n., v. Also ryce, rys(s), ryse, r(e)ise, reiss; rise, rize; race. [rəis]

I. n. 1. Used collectively: twigs or small branches of trees, brushwood (Abd. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 263; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Per., Ayr. 1968). Also in Eng. dial. Adj. ricie in comb. ricie buss, a bush of brushwood (Ork. 1968).Bte. 1722 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 679:
Drawen strae, rigin turff fail and ryce furnished by him to the schoollhouse.
Gsw. 1732 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 380:
Gathering and cutting ryce.
Bwk. a.1760 Trans. E. Lth. Antiq. Soc. VII. 15:
Who so ever shall steal or take away sneedings or Rize shall be fin'd in Twenty Shillings.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 51:
Now weir an' fence o' wattl'd rice The hained fields inclose.
Ork. 1808 Jam.:
The branches of heath, juniper, &c. are called the ryss of such a plant.
Dmf. 1863 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 25:
The stones were supported upon rude beams of wood (oak), covered over with a layer of (“rice”) brushwood, birch and hazel.
Abd. 1895 Sc. N. & Q. (Ser. 1) IX. 110:
This word [ryce, rys] is quite familiar to me. It refers to the smaller branches of trees used for firewood.
m.Sc. 1904 Sc. Hist. Review I. 352:
The word “rice”, — I do not know the spelling — is used in parts of Midlothian, Peeblesshire, and the Upper Ward of Lanarkshire for the small branches placed below stacks when they are built on the ground, or used for filling up ruts in a cart track over soft ground. These branches are now for the most part of spruce fir, but in many places are still of birch. No doubt in former times birch would be the material generally used for such a purpose.
Gall. 1912 Scotsman (31 Jan.):
I dabbit the slap wi' a wheen reiss.

2. A branch, a twig (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Per., Ayr. 1915–23 Wilson): a fire-beater used by foresters (Abd. 1968): a stick, a cudgel. Also in Eng. dial. Specif. in 1790 quot., the cross of Christ.Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 76:
Thou must die here upon this rice Hang'd by the Jews.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. viii.:
“This is the last reise that I'll ever cut in the bonny woods of Ellangowan”. So saying, she broke the sapling she held in her hand.
Ayr. 1832 J. McKillop Poems (1870) 55:
Constables wi' hazel rice Were forced to quell the quarrels.
s.Sc. 1839 Wilson's Tales of the Borders V. 322:
Like a squirrel, swinging frae ae r.yse to anither.
Rxb. 1901 R. Murray Hawick Char. 13:
He travelled with two long sticks — rices they were called.

3. Combs. and phrs.: (1) rice-dyke, a fence of boughs and twigs twisted between stakes; (2) stab and rice, = (3); (3) stake and rice, a method of construction by which twigs are horizontally woven between vertical stakes, used for fencing or forming an inner framework for plastered walls; a fence thus constructed (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Adj. and fig. = sketchy, in outline only.(1) Lth. 1734 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 15:
Could any thing press more than making the rice dike, if the Nursery is not safe without it?
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life H. 21:
The road here is very narrow, and was then wholly unprotected along its steep edge — a neglect at that time quite common in Scotland, and yet in many places removed only by temporary wattled palings, or ryss-dykes.
(2) Dmb. 1794 D. Ure Agric. Dmb. 24:
Stab and Rice, as a fence, is not unfrequently met with, especially in the Highland part of the county, where abundance of wood is at hand. The stabs are frequently of peeled oak, or branches of elm or fir trees. . . . Brushwood, and sometimes brooms, is intertwined between them, so that they become very firm. Frequently, there is only a course of rice near the head of the stabs, which answers instead of bars.
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St. Patrick I. xi.:
As lang's the're stab an' ryse in the wuds o' Dalriogh.
Bnff.2 1932:
The workmen came on an old stab and ryce partition. It consists of a row of uprights fairly close together with which are interwoven straw ropes coated with clay. I understand the stabs are the upright posts, and the ryce the intertwined straw ropes. I am told that the woven material is not necessarily “straw raips”, but may be heather or other flexible fibre.
(3) Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
Of stake and rise, i.e. of stakes and small twigs, ropes or such like, twisted about them, and then plaister'd over.
Gall. 1764 Session Papers, Sloan v. Earl Gall. (1 July) 18:
The small spot of arable land lying within the stake and rice dyke.
Sc. 1775 D. Loch Essay on Trade 88:
A proper fence of staick and rice. . . . The staick are large pieces of tree, which they drive far into the earth, at some distance from each other. The rice are a kind of twigs which they weave about the staick, and make a sort of net of the whole.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 458:
At that time, the houses in Rannoch were huts of, what they called, “Stake and Rise”.
Bte. 1807 J. Headrick View Arran 337:
This stone-facing should be surmounted by a Galloway coping, sufficient to exclude sheep, or by stake and rice.
Abd. 1818 W. Kennedy Annals Abd. I. 294:
The houses being constructed of wood, with stake and rice chimnies.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 238:
“Is your memory, Tibby, yet in possession o. ony o' thae auld melodies that wont to affect him?” “I hae them a' in a sort o' stake an' ryce way.”
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
A minister is said to prepare his sermons in the stake and ryse way, who writes them only in the form of skeletons, without extending the illustrations.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. vni.:
The stake and ryse dyke between hell and purgatory is burned down.
Gall. 1904 E.D.D.:
I can only gie ye stake-an-ryse o't.

II. v. In phr. to rice the water, see quot.Slk. 1825 Jam.:
To rice the Water. To throw plants or branches of trees into a river, to frighten the salmon, before using the lister. The effect is, that they become stupid and lie motionless.

[O.Sc. rys, small branches, 1450, ryss, a branch, 16th c., Early Mid.Eng. rise, O.E. -hrīs, O.N. hrís, id.]

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"Rice n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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