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).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ROBIN, n. Also robbin. As in Eng. a dim. or familiar form (through O.Fr. Robin) of the Christian name Robert. Sc. usages:

1. Combs. and Phrs.: (1) Robin-a-ree(rie), a fanciful name given to a burning stick which is passed from player to player in a children's game to the accompaniment of a rhyme, the purpose being to keep the stick alight as long as possible by waving it about (Per., Ayr. 1968). Cf. Dingle-Dousie; (2) Robbin Breestie, the Robin Redbreast (Wgt. 1968); (3) Robin i' the hedge, (i) the goose-grass, Galium aparine (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.43); (ii) the ground-ivy, Nepeta glechoma (Ib. 44); (4) Robin ran i' the scroog, the ground-ivy, Nepeta glechoma (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.44). Cf. (3) (ii); (5) Robin Redtail, the redstart, Ruticilla phoenicurus (Cai. 1907 J. Horne County Cai. 369); (6) Robin-rin-the-dyke, the goose-grass, Galium aparine (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (7) Robin-rin-the-hedge, -run-a- (Lnk. 1832 W. Patrick Plants Lnk. 93), the goose-grass, Galium aparine (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 413; Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.43; Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 100; Rxb. 1876 Science Gossip 39; Dmf. 1886 B. & H. Plant-Names; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb. 1968). Also common in Eng. dial.; (8) Robin-roond-the-hedge, = (7) (Ayr. 1899 Montgomerie-Fleming; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Wgt., Rxb. 1968); (9) Robin's doon, a remark indicating that someone is in a sullen mood, with brows lowered (Bwk.2 1948); (10) Robin's pincushion, the bedeguar or rose-gall (Ags.6 1947). Also in Eng. dial.(1) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 410:
In passing the brunt-stick round the ring, the following rhyme is said: — “Robin-a-Ree, ye'll no dee wi' me, Tho' I birl ye roun' a three-times and three, O Robin-a-Ree, O Robin-a-Ree, O dinna let Robin-a-Reerie dee”.
(2) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 412:
The tane o' them was the Robbin Breestie, And the tither the Wullie Wagtail.
(5) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 100:
A common weed, called . . . Robin-run-the-dyke when it creeps over or along the base of our stone walls with a more branched and closer growth.
(7) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 163:
Nettles, and robin-rin-the-hedge.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
Robin-run-the-hedge. The juice of this plant is extracted and boiled with sugar, and given as a remedy in whooping-cough.
Ags. 1899 C. Sievwright Garland 17:
The ground-ivy and the robin-rin-the-hedge.

2. The wren (I.Sc. 1837 R. Dunn Ornithol. Guide 82; Sh. 1899 Evans and Buckley Fauna Shet. 79, Sh. 1968). Also in combs. Robin-redbreast (Sh. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 35). An I.Sc. usage from the popular belief that the wren was the robin's wife.Sh. 1864 Zoologist XXII. 9095:
When a Shetlander talks of the robin he almost invariably means the wren, a bird which is almost common in some parts of these islands.

3. A child's name for the penis (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1968).

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

"Robin n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: