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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RUID, n. Also rude, †rudd, reuid (Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 13); ridd (Fif.); ne.Sc., n.Dmf. forms reed, reid (see P.L.D. § 35); ¶red; and dim. roodie (Sc. 1907 D. MacAlister Echoes (1923) 167). Sc. forms of Eng. rood. [rød, rɪd; Cai., ne.Sc. rid]

1. As in Eng., a cross, specif. the cross of Christ, in combs.: (1) Ruid-day, Ree(d)day, (i) the day of the Invention of the Cross, 3rd May (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.), also reed-day in barlan (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.) (see Barlan) and reduced form Rood; (ii) the day of the Exaltation of the Cross, 14th September, also reed-day in hairst (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). See Hairst; (2) Ruid e(v)en, the eve of 3rd May in n.Scot. (Mry. 1925, red-een) or of 14th September in w.Scot. (see (1)); (3) Ruid fair, a market or fair held on Rood-day (see (1)) (Ayr., Kcb., Dmf. 1968); (4) Rudemas(s), †-mess, ¶Roods-, Reeds- (Cai.), = (1). Also attrib. Hence Roodmas e'en = (2), Reedsmas in barlan, see (1) (i) (Cai. 1968).(1) (i) Bnff. 1703 Annals Bnff. (S.C.) II. 178:
James Fyf, son to the lait Bailyie be put to the schooll at the Rudd day.
Abd. 1711 Burgh Rec. Abd. (S.C.) II. 344:
The citizens to be advertised to enter ther children to the said grammar school at Roodday and Lambas.
Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 15:
Neist Reed-day I'm threescore and three.
Fif. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 235:
Upon the Rood day four young Bucky lasses were away early in the morning with their creels full of fish.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Some of the superstitions, connected with the first of May, seem to be transferred to this day, most probably as being so near the other. . . . Some who have tender children, particularly on Rude-day, spread out a cloth to catch the dew, and wet them in it.
Gall. 1814 J. Train Mountain Muse 30:
How he, by lore obtained at school, Each month could count from Rood to Yule.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf ii.:
We're to fight out the quarrel at Jeddart, on the Rood-day.
Abd. 1829 A. Cruickshank Poems 34:
At Hallowmass, an' Festereven, An' Yule, an' Red-day.
Bnff. 1890 Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club 56:
Crosses made of rowan tree, and sometimes tied with red thread, were placed over the doors. . . . In Strathdon this was done by the “Gueedmaan” on the “Reed-day” after sunset without the knowledge of anyone.
Abd. 1903 J. Milne Myths 7:
To ensure food and water for the year, the worthy elderly lady . . . rose before the sun on the Reed Day (day of the Holy Rood or Cross), and took in grass and water.
Kcd. 1911:
Reed Day. The 3rd May, looked upon as an unlucky day for fishing.
(ii) Lnk. 1825 Jam.:
The 14th of September is still called Rude day in Lanarkshire, and perhaps in some other counties, although in the North of Scotland this term is confined to the 3rd of May. From this day (in September) a calculation is made as to the state of the atmosphere. For it is said that if the deer lie down dry, and rise dry on Rude-day, there will be sax owks of dry weather.
(2) Abd. 1817 J. Christie Instructions 106:
On Reed-e'en, I bade bring in, Some twigs of rantree, and wood bin.
Cld., Slk. 1825 Jam.:
On Reid-een, or the eve of this day, i.e., the evening preceding it, the hart and the hind are believed to meet for copulation. This, it is pretended, is the only night in the year on which they meet. If the evening is cold, the hart is said to cry all the ensuing day.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 12:
They [rowan trees] have yielded many a slip for crosses to put above the byre-door on Rood Even, to fend the bestial from “uncanny fowk”.
Abd. 1897 Banffshire Jnl. (22 June) 6:
On eve of May Day it was customary to light large fires and burn furze bushes and heather. It was called Red-Even in this Parish.
(3) Abd. 1706 T. Mair Ellon Par. Rec. (1876) 151:
All mercates and yearly free fairs, specially Rude fair and Marymes.
Slk. 1744 Session Papers, Emmond v. Magistrates Selkirk (19 June) 29:
He would go to the Rood-fair at Jedburgh.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 11:
Lads an' lasses neat an' clean Came to the Rood Fair.
Dmf. 1874 Ayr Advertiser (1 Oct.) 3:
Dumfries Rood Fair. . . . The horse fair commenced on Tuesday.
Dmf. 1957 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (26 Jan.):
The “Reed” Fair, as we pronounced it in our Dumfries dialect — “Reed” was a corruption of Rude or Rood or Cross.
(4) Dmf. 1821 Edb. Ev. Courant (4 Oct.):
At the Roodmass fair, Dumfries, yesterday week, there was a tolerable show of good horses.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood vii.:
Bogles, whilk a'body kens are gi'en a free dispensation on Rood-Mass E'en.
Sc. 1939 M. Banks Cal. Customs Scot. II. 246:
In Aberdeenshire Roodsmas of May was the chief festival of the Cross, in Clydesdale this was in September. In Caithness ‘Roodsmas in Barlan' was the spring observance; barlan being the time of the barley or bere sowing. Roodsmas in harvest was the festival of September.

2. In lineal measure, corresp. to the rod, pole or perch: 6 Ells or 6.176 imp. yards (Sc. 1789 J. Swinton Weights, etc. 24). Also attrib. See also Lang, adj., 6. (43) and Short, adj., 5. (19), the lang ruid being six times the length of the ordinary or short ruid; Fa, n.1, 2. (1). Rare.Sc. 1803 Farmer's Mag. (May) 172:
What may those hedges cost the Tenant, to train up, at the end of the tack, per rood of six ells?

3. In square measure, the two subdivisions of meaning not always being distinguishable in quots.: (1) corresp. to Eng. rood: a land measure = ¼ acre Scots. Also in coll. pl.Ayr. 1707 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (2 July):
The gleib is in measure three aikers, three rude, three falls and two ells.
Sc. 1712 Caldwell Papers (M.C.) 304:
To eat the fodder upon the ground, and keep the guided land in its ordinair rudes.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 595:
The mode of giving feus [in Callander] is a rood of ground, or one 4th of an acre, in property, upon paying £7 10s. of a premium, and 5s. of feu duty yearly, together with an acre of arable ground, a rood of meadow or bog hay, and two cows grass, in the common pasture, for rent and the liberty of moss, common thatch and stones, free.
Sc. 1830 W. Shiress Tables 182:
That in Scots Land Measure 1 Acre contains 4 Roods; that a Rood contains 40 Falls, and a Fall contains 36 Square Ells.

(2) corresp. to Eng. (square) rod: a land measure = 1/160 part of a Scots acre or 36 Ells, freq. differentiated from (1) by being denominated short rood; a small plot of ground of this size (Bnff., Ags. 1968). See Fa, n.1, 2. (2).Fif. 1776 Weekly Mag. (30 May) 319:
All his property in the burgh consisted only of twenty roods, or twenty falls of land.
Abd.16 1808 :
The original Feuing Plan of the village of Ballater, dated 1808, bears the statement: “Each Feu contains 36 Falls or short roods”.
Fif. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (28 Jan.) 3:
These short Roods of Land or Garden Ground, lying near the North or East Port of Inverkeithing.
Ags. 1821 Montrose Chron. (29 June):
These three Yard Roods, or thereby, of that large Yard commonly called the Large Hospital Yard.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxviii.:
A reed or twa o' grun' to be a stance for a place o' worship.
Knr. 1878 J. L. Robertson Poems 59:
Men wha bocht them wi' their blude, An' battled for them rude by rude.
Abd. 1913 C. Murray Hamewith 9:
An auld feal dyke enclosed a reed O' garden grun'.
Abd.6 1936:
A reed o' grun wis a squar pole. In trenchin days men war pey'd sae muckle the reed.

(3) in masonry or slater work: an area of 36 square ells or (later) yards.Bnff. 1711 W. Cramond Ch. Ordiquhill (1886) 19:
The whole principal dwelling house and chambers, both high and laigh, consisting of four reed and four ells at £21 Scots per reed.
w.Lth. 1794 J. Trotter Agric. W. Lth. 14:
This kind [of stone wall] is generally built about 5 feet high: the rood is 36 yards in length, and 1 yard in height.
Kcd., Ags. 1830 W. Shiress Tables 178:
A Rood of Stone, Brick, or Slater Work, is 36 Square Yards.
Bwk. 1856 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 1126:
Rood (Berwickshire), of masonry, 6 yards square, 2 feet thick.

4. A piece of ground apportioned from the land belonging to a burgh to anyone wishing to set up house thereon and to cultivate the remainder, corresp. to Eng. toft and orig. rented but later gen. occupied as a feu, in effect a building site and the ground attached. Hence freq. in comb. burgh rood. The word survives in a number of Sc. towns as a street or neighbourhood name, e.g. Elgin, Kirriemuir, Stirling, Inverkeithing. Such parcels of ground usu. abutted on the street with a fairly narrow frontage and extended backwards to a varying depth so that the total area may vary considerably, and hence the usage may derive from the lineal frontage measurement under 2. rather than from 3. See W. C. Dickinson in Early Records Aberdeen (S.H.S.) lvi. sq. and footnotes.Mry. 1715 E. D. Dunbar Documents (1895) 22:
Ilk heritor of the borrow roods within the said Burgh.
Rs. 1720 N. Macrae Romance Royal Burgh 208:
The tenement and ruid commonly called Kemps Yaird.
Gsw. 1725 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 221, 232:
Teinds of the barronie and burrow roods. . . . Craving a rood of ground in the gallow-muir quhich is not arable nor set to any, for building a house upon.
Ags. 1764 Arbroath T.C. Minutes MS. (30 March):
Half an Acre of Land belonging to the Town in the Borrow Roods.
Dmf. 1824 G. Chalmers Caledonia III. 200:
A tract of more than six-and-twenty Scottish acres still bears the name of the burough roods of Stapelgorton.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister iv.:
I'll let you see that for yoursel' at the head o' the Roods.
Sc. 1949 W. M. Mackenzie Sc. Burghs 164:
Small scale agriculture on apportioned rigs in the “burgh roods”.

[O.Sc. Rud day, 1510, Rude-evyn, 1375, Ruidfair, 1671, rud, = 3. (3), 1531, = 3. (1), 1494, = 4., c.1425.]

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



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