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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

RODDEN, n.1 Also roddan, roddin(g), roddon (n.Sc. 1886 B. & H. 405), roden (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., 1886 B. & H. 405), rodin (Sc. 1741 A. M'Donald Galick Vocab. 68; n.Sc. 1886 B. & H. 405), rhoddin; roddeen (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.); rare or erron. forms ¶rooden, ¶rottin, ruddin, redden (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 80), redin. [′rodɪn.]

1. The berry of the rowan or mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Clc. 1886 B. & H.; Cai., Inv. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264; n.Sc. 1968), occas. referring to the tree itself or its wood. Also attrib.Rxb. 1722 Stitchill Ct. Book (S.H.S.) 184:
Amerciat in one shilling sterling for pulling and cutting of rottins.
Sc. c.1783 Willie o Douglas Dale in Child Ballads No. 101 A. xx.:
He's pu'd a bunch o yon red roddins That grew beside yon thorn.
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1873) 31:
The Gaudman . . . maks yoke-sticks o' rooden.
Abd. 1817 J. Christie Instructions 28:
Cran berries were thicker than our ley birds lint, Their colour like roddings, but some what bigger.
Kcd. 1850 W. Jamie Effusions 33:
Twa wimpling burnies meet, Beside the rodden glen.
Ags. 1883 Brechin Advertiser (9 Jan.) 3:
An auld horse shoe an' a bunch o' roddens tied thegither in a hank o' red wirset an' hung on the back o' the byre door.
Abd. 1914 Abd. Univ. Rev. (Feb.) 156:
When larch an' rodden firm an' fast Will stand ance mair.
Bnff. 1954 Banffshire Jnl. (2 Nov.) 4:
The roddens an' the briar hips an' the haws.
Abd. 1967 Buchan Observer (21 Feb.) 2:
Whiles a roddan, bent wi blast.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 9:
Ower the midden an roon the tractor foun ran the chuckens on their girssly shanks tae hide in the lang stand o wanderin willies back o the henhooses, Neil and Davie pluffin them wi roddens.

Combs. and Phrs.: (1) as sour as roddens, as soor as a rodden, very sour or bitter (ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr. 1968). Also fig.; (2) nae to care a rodden, not to care a “fig” (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968); (3) rodden-bird, the fieldfare, Turdus pilaris, from its fondness for rowan berries; (4) rodden-tree, the mountain-ash, Sorbus aucuparia (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Clc. 1886 B. & H.; Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 5; n.Sc., Fif., Lth., Peb., Ayr. 1968); (5) to have had roddens tae one's supper, to be in a sour or surly humour (ne.Sc. 1968).(1) Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 121:
There in's bowl sat the milk as sour's roddens.
Sh. 1904 E.D.D.:
Anything very sour would be called ‘as soor as ruddins'.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 16:
The sowens were soor as roddens or plums.
Abd.30 1965:
He hiz a face as sour's roddins.
Sc. 1991 Roderick Watson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 106:
It's passed, it's passed, an I'm hodden
Here wi my wits an my senses gane,
Trauchled, sair, an soure as a rodden,
Edb. 2003:
Thir grapefruit are as soor as roddens.
(2) Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 201:
Naebody cares a rodden for them.
(3) Bnff. 1918 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 69:
They are generally plentiful in winter about Tomintoul, where they are called “Rodden-birds”.
(4) e.Lth. 1733 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XVIII. 62:
This tree is called in the country the rowan or roddan tree.
Sth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 169 note:
Kinin [sic] is a Gaelic word, expressing the fruit of the redin [sic] tree, which of old grew on this maul or hill.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 54:
Sair tewed wi' wark, I laid me down And sloomed aneth the Roden Tree.
Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 27:
Honeysuckle, black thorn, and rodin-trees.
Ags. 1915 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 36:
Says I to Grannie, “Keek up the glen Abune by the rodden tree”.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 16:
Lay doon yer heavy burden, wife, ahint this roden tree I planted when oor merried days were young.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 33:
A'll meet ye at the rodden tree at hauf-aucht.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 3:
And a burn at the back and side lined wi aik and sycamore
and flowin to a wee humped-backt brig
on the curve o the twistin lane.
And rodden tree by the corner
scarin aff evil spirits.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 1:
The mappamound it disna ken
It's thirled tae a rodden tree;
Tethered tae a kenspeckle glen,
'Twad brak its hert tae set it free.
(5) Bnff. 1935 I. Bennett Fishermen x.:
Ye've surely had rodens tae yer supper! Ye should cultivate a contented mind.

2. Given by C. Mackay Dict. Lowland Sc. 168 as the fruit of the hawthorn or briar rose by inference from the version of the above ballad in P. Buchan Ballads (1828) II. 176: “The roddins, . . . That grow on yonder thorn” which is an obvious textual corruption. See 1783 quot. under 1. above.

[Prob. of Scand. orig. from a reduced ablaut grade of the root *rauð-, Eng. red, and hence ultimately of same orig. as Rowan, q.v. Cf. O.N. roð, roði, redness, reddening. O.Sc. roddyne, id., a.1568.]

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"Rodden n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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