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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

RIDE, v., n. Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. A. Forms: Pr.t. ride, rid, ryd(d)e; reid (Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 6). Pa.t. rade (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Ayr. 1794 Burns 3rd Election Ballad vii.; Sc. 1815 Scott Guy Mannering xlv.), raid (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 101; Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 57; ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 77). Gen.Sc., obsol.; red(d) (Ork. 1706 W. Macintosh Glimpses Kirkwall (1887) 49; Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 133; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.); rede (Sc. 1828 Lady Isabel in Child Ballads No. 4. B. iii.); reed (Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 125); rid (Sc. 1732 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) IV. 159; Sc. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxii.). Pa.p. ridden (Gen.Sc.); rode (Dmf. 1759 Dmf. and Gall. N. & Q. (1913) 224; Rnf. 1825 Poems Kilbarchan (Lyle 1931) 20; Sc. 1827 G. Kinloch Ballads 27); red (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); rid (Ayr. 1968).

Pa.t. Sc. forms of Eng. rode.m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 48:
King Sillersecks rade his gray meare
aff til the birkenshaw;
but birk and buss an bourtree thare
gied him nae bield ava.
Ayr. 1999:
He rid doon tae the shops.

Pa.p. Sc. form of Eng. ridden.Ayr. 1999:
He hes rid monie horses.

B. Usages:

1. As in Eng. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) ridie-roosie, a hoist-up on someone's back for a ride, a pick-a-back; (2) ride-out, one of a series of rehearsal rides of sections of the burgh boundaries in the weeks before a March-riding festival (see s.v. March) (Dmf., Rxb. 1968); (3) riding o' the braes, a corrupt form of (5); (4) to ride at the ring, to take part in a competition in which a rider at full speed attempted to spear and carry off a small ring suspended on a cross-bar under which he galloped. Hist.; (5) to ride for the broes, see quot., (3) and Broose; (6) to ride (in) the market, — fair, to open a fair or market with a ceremonial procession of magistrates and council; (7) to ride on (one's) back, to carp at or criticise persistently, to censure remorselessly; (8) to ride on the beetle, see Bittle, n.1; (9) to ride tail-tynt, to match one horse against another in a race, the losing horse to be given as a prize to the winner (Fif. 1825 Jam.). See Tine; (10) to ride the donkey, a children's game; (11) to ride the fore-horse, to be the dominant member in a partnership; (12) to ride the hagri, = (13). See Hagri; (13) to ride the marches, see March, n.1, 2., Redd, v.1, 6. (4) and Rid, v., 5. (3), which are the earlier usages. The phonetic similarity and the fact that the perambulation was gen. on horseback has led to the substitution of ride which is now the current usage; (14) to ride the parliament, to open Parliament, q.v., with a ceremonial procession; (15) to ride the stang, see Stang.(1) s.Sc. 1904 W. G. Stevenson Glen Sloken xiv.:
Gie 'er ridie-roosie on yere back.
(2) Dmf. 1964 Dmf. Standard (10 June) 4:
There was a cavalcade of 53 riders for the annual “Cornet's Lass” ride-out in connection with Lockerbie Gala and Riding of the Marches.
(3) Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 112:
Mony's the waddin' and creelin' and ridin' o' the braes I have seen.
(4) Slg. 1707 Slg. Guildry Rec. (1916) 85:
The Guildry agree to give a gold ring to be ridden for at the ring by the dean and other twelve guild brethren and any strangers.
Sc. 1733 W. Thomson Orpheus Caled. II. 8:
He was a braw gallant, And he rid at the ring.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XX. 433:
They spend the evening in some public competition of dexterity or skill. Of these, “riding at the ring” . . . is the chief.
(5) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 408:
Riding for the Broes . . . is a ride on horseback by the wadding fowk attending a bridegroom to the bride's house; he who has the swiftest horse wins the broes, or a cog of good broth made for the occasion.
(6) Sc. 1701 Acts Parl. Scot. X. 332:
To cause proclaim and ride the said fair.
Ags. 1748 A. Reid Kirriemuir (1909) 389:
The Townsmen have a Custom of fencing or riding in the Mercat, as they call it.
Abd. 1752 Abd. Journal (10 Oct.):
The Magistrates and Council invited fifty or sixty Burghers to ride the Market along with them.
Rxb. 1838 Lockhart Scott vi.:
The honest burghers of Jedburgh . . . have suffered the ancient privilege of “riding the Fair”, at it was called . . . , to fall into disuse.
(7) Gall. 1881 J. K. Scott Gall. Gleanings 105:
I pity them wha step aside, She on their backs for weeks does ride.
(10) Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 115:
[The game] Buck, buck, how many fingers do I hold up? [called in Golspie] Ride the donkey.
(11) Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. i.:
Determined to ride the fore-horse herself, Meg would admit no help-mate.
(13) Edb. 1718 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 351:
The Councill appointed the Committee of Publict Works once in the year to ride the Good touns marches.
Per. 1804 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 126:
The cavalcade of riding the marches by the burgesses and trades people of Linlithgow.
(14) Edb. 1703 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 45:
The solemnitie of the Ryding of the parliament the sexth day of May.

2. Combs. with vbl.n. and ppl.adj.: (1) riding-claim, “a liquid claim upon a claimant in a multiple-poinding, which may be lodged in a multiple-poinding itself” (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 79). See also (4). Hence riding claimant, the creditor who submits a riding claim; †(2) riding-commission, -committee, a committee appointed to examine the causes of rejection of a candidate by presbytery and congregation, and to override these objections, if they considered them insufficient; (3) ridin graith, riding attire and accoutrements. Also in Eng. dial.; (4) riding interest, = (1) (Sc. 1860 J. Paterson Compendium 582, 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 79); (5) riding-money, an additional sum of money exacted to cover the expenses of sending troopers to collect fines from the Covenanters in 1666 for absenting themselves from church under Episcopacy. Hist.; (6) riding-season, the time of riding or copulating of animals, the breeding season (Ork. 1968). Cf. (8); (7) riding stone, a stone in a river at a fordable place serving as an indicator of the depth of the water for those intending to cross on horseback; (8) riding time, (i) in pl., see 3.; (ii) the mating time of animals, esp. sheep (Ork. 1968). Cf. (6); (9) riding wand, a riding switch. See Wand.(1) Sc. 1903 J. W. Brodie-Innes Compar. Principles 472:
The only Scottish analogue to third-party procedure is a “Riding Claim” in the admirable and convenient Scottish action of “Multiple-poinding”.
Sc. 1916 J. A. Maclaren Ct. Sess. Practice 242:
A creditor has no title to sue directly a debtor of the bankrupt, except in a multiple-poinding, where he may have a riding claim on the claim lodged by such a debtor.
Sc. 1930 Encycl. Laws Scot. X. 131:
The claim for the riding claimant as a rider on the claim of the original claimant.
(2) Abd. 1729 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 1028:
Mr. Bisset's successor was settled by a riding committee, contrary to the will of the people or presbytery.
Sc. 1888 J. Rankin Handbk. Ch. Scot. 234:
The last “Riding Commission” was in 1751.
Sc. 1910 W. L. Mathieson Awakening of Scot. 147:
“Riding committees” were appointed to override the reluctance of presbyteries to ordain obnoxious candidates.
(3) Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair vii.:
Here farmers gash, in ridin graith, Gaed hoddin by their cotters.
(4) Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 863:
Where any of the claimants in an action of multiple-poinding, or in a process of ranking and sale, have creditors, these creditors may claim to be ranked on the fund set aside for their debtors; and such claims are called riding interests.
(5) Sc. 1721 R. Wodrow Sufferings ii. i.s.1:
The Troopers of the King's Guard are ordered to different Parts of the Country, especially in the West and South, where most of the fined Persons were, with Lists of those from whom they were to uplift such and such Sums . . . Noblemen, Gentlemen, and Commons, when the Troopers came to their Houses, if they had not the Money, went presently and borrowed it, and gave it them: But this was not all, they must go to Edinburgh and report their Discharge, and when there, satisfy the Troopers over and above. This was called Riding-money; and sometimes the Riding-money was as much as the Fine itself.
(6) Sth. 1831 Brit. Husbandry (Burke 1840) III. 83:
During the “riding” season.
(7) Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 358:
Two natural stones in the middle of the river [Isla], called the riding stone and the wading stone.
(8) (ii) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 53:
As outragious as ony ram at riding time.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Death of Mailie 47–8:
An' warn him ay at ridin time To stay content wi' yowes at hame.
(9) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Let. xi.:
So saying, he touched the horse's neck with his riding-wand.

3. To ride out on a foray, esp. in the time of the Border warfare of the 16th-c. Vbl.n. riding. Obs. in Eng. Hence riding ballad, a traditional ballad commemorating a border foray, riding days, -times, the period of Border warfare. Hist.Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy I. 36:
The rapacity of this Clan, and of their allies, the Elliots, occasioned the popular saying, “Elliots and Armstrongs ride thieves all”.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
We had lived on the grund, and under the Redgauntlets, since the riding days, and lang before. . . . As if a tenant could have helped riding with the Laird.
Peb. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. I. 186:
During that unhappy era still remembered in the county by the descriptive appellation of “the riding times”, Peeblesshire took its share in the system of mutual rapine and bloodshed.
Sc. 1836 Lockhart Scott vii.:
The ancient riding ballads, said to be still preserved among the descendants of the moss-troopers.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws i., iii.:
Others of the Scots rode into England . . . though the Princes and Councils of both countries might disapprove of our Border riding.

4. tr. To cross (a stretch of water) on horseback, to ford (a river). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1701 Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine Families I. 489:
All of them having rode a watter except De Tang, a Frenchman.
Sc. 1790 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) I. 12:
The servant was waiting there with our horses, as we were to ride the water.
Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 22:
Like those o' mony a rhyming pate, That rid the ford afore it.
Sc. 1928 J. Buchan Montrose 119:
The very ford which Scott makes Marmion ride on the eve of Flodden.

Hence fig. phr. no tae ride the ford or water on or -wi, not to be depended upon, unreliable, untrustworthy, as if of a horse that could not be trusted to carry one through water safely (Per. 1904 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Rxb. 1968).Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 204:
An' at the wooing trade bra' masters prove But are not ay to ride the water on.
Sc. 1824 Susan Ferrier The Inheritance (1984) 114:
"I can tell you one thing, my dear," whispered she to Gertrude, "that mum should be the watch-word here today; - a certain person," with a wink at Colonel Delmour, "is but a younger brother, and not the thing. He can be very pleasant when he pleases; but take my word for it he's not to ride the ford upon."
Sc. 1861 C. Rogers Illustr. Sc. Char. 262:
The saying concerning a doubtful person, “He is not to ride the water on”.
Abd. 1887 Bon-Accord (12 Feb.) 16:
There's nae vera muckle to ride the water on law-wers.
Sc. 1891 Scots Mag. (March) 264:
I wouldn't tackle Mercer and Kerse about such a subject for a trifle, I can assure you. They're no to ride the water wi'.
Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow xviii.:
You may be certain neither it nor she is fit to ride the water on.
Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups of Durley xiii.:
Ye'll likely find oot to your cost that he's no to ride the water wi'.
Ags. 1946 D. Twitter Tales 17:
My watch wizna tae ride the water on.

5. intr. Of a stretch of water or river: to be fordable by a horseman, to permit of being crossed on horseback. Deriv. ridable, fordable.Rxb. 1784 Session Papers, Duke of Roxburgh v. Mein State of Process 25:
The deponent has carried the corn through Tiviot in his boat, when the water would not ride.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
During a flood it is said; “The water's grit”, or “very grit, it winna ride”.
Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 243:
A man . . . raid up to tak' the ford The haill town sware it wadna ride.
s.Sc. 1891 E. Hamilton Outlaws xix.:
The water “wudna ride till weel abune Westerkirk”.

6. tr. or absol. in Curling, freq. with out: to play a stone with such force as to strike and carry before it an opponent's stone blocking its path to the tee. Gen.Sc. Sim. used of bowls.Lnk. 1771 Weekly Mag. (7 Feb.) 180:
Or teach, The undisciplin'd how to wick, to guard, Or ride full out the stone that blocks the pass.
Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 55:
Be straight how-ice, and dinna ride, Nor sell your stane by playing wide.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
To ride full out, to carry it [curling stone] quite away from the possibility of winning.
Edb. 1811 J. Ramsay Acct. Curling 42:
He throws — he roars — he rides him out The length of ony tether.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 237:
Will neatly drew — Mac. fiercely rode.
Sc. 1884 J. Taylor Curling 74:
J.S., who was a straight, strong player, was once directed by his skip to ride out an opponent's stone.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie xix.:
A' the ports are blocked; or if ye like it better ye can ride through.

7. Mining: to travel up and down the shaft in a cage (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 55; Lnk. 1968); to travel in a hutch (Ib.). Phrs. to ride the shaft, id., to ride the tow, to descend the pit by sliding down the shaft rope (Barrowman). Also in Eng. mining usage.e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 28, 57:
I never saw them ride the shaft. . . . The miners on the estate of Blawearie, were but rarely allowed to indulge in the luxury of “shaft-riding”.

8. Of one of two harrows being drawn side by side: to override the other and become interlocked with it (Kcb. 1968).Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. Per. 97:
On these three pins is fixed a piece of wood which prevents the far-harrow from riding on the other.
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 556:
The olden occurrence of riding is also obviated.

II. n. 1. The swell of the tide.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 207:
The rack an' the ride, o' the restless tide.

2. A sail, a journey by ship.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
A rouch ride, a rough passage by water.

3. Curling: a forceful shot played to dislodge a stone blocking the passage to the tee (Ayr. 1930); a similar shot in bowling.Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 237:
What boos, what rides, what wicks, what draws!

[O.Sc. ryde, to ride on a border foray, 1405, to ford (a river), 1501, to ride in Parliamentary procession, 1604, riding time, breeding season, a.1669.]

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"Ride v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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