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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCREED, n., v. Also skreed, screid, scried, †scride, ¶skreet; scree(d)ge (s.Sc.). [skrid, s.Sc. skridʒ]

I. n. 1. A long narrow strip, or sliver (1) of cloth, twine, paper, skin or the like, a torn piece of anything, a shred, tatter (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 163; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Inv., Bnff., Kcd., em.Sc. (a), Lnk., Ayr. 1969). Also as a collective sing.Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 26:
Or gi'e to Bet, tho' she was sma', A screed o' lace, to mak' her braw.
Sc. 1827 Scott Surgeon's Daughter ii.:
Bank-notes were flying about the house like screeds of brown paper.
s.Sc. 1837 Wilson's Tales of the Borders III. 114:
A screed o' huckaback and harn.
Gsw. 1879 A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 55:
For me, ye see, I'm fair awa' tae screed, Shrunk in the shanks an' taiver't in the heid.
Uls. 1881 W. H. Floredice Memories 197:
Take ivery screed of leather aff my hands.
Gall. c.1900 Gallovidian (1912) 186:
Breeks auld and raggit; vest an' jacket In mony a screed.

(2) a strip of ground (Bnff., Abd., Wgt., Kcb. 1969); a length of road, etc., an appreciable distance or area. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 163:
There's a skreed o' corn to cut. There wiz a great skreed o' the muir brunt.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden (1922) 56:
The day when fouk can do a' their praisin' o' God by harkinin' till a bress band 'll see oor country doon the hill a gey screed.
Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Gall. Gossip 234:
An bocht a great skreed o' lan'.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 2:
There's great screeds o' grun' 'ut wid be better in wid nor in corn an' neeps.

(3) a piece, a detached fragment. Phr. a screed o one's mind, “a piece of one's mind”, a homily or rebuke. Cf. 2.; a screed of sense, the least bit of sense (Uls. 1953 Traynor).Sc. 1808 E. Hamilton Glenburnie xiii.:
I trow ye gae her a screed o' your mind.
Slk. 1825 Lockhart Scott lxi.:
A bit screed o' light — and a bit daud o' dark.
Rnf. 1840 J. Mitchell Wee Steeple's Ghaist 128:
We'll steal frae rosy morn a screed, And eke it to the e'ening, O!
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xviii.:
I'm gaun to gie you a bit screed o' my mind, ma man.

2. A long discourse, harangue or piece of writing, freq. one that can be declaimed or recited (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 163; wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan App. 515; Cai., Inv. 1904 E.D.D.; Ayr. 1910; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc.; sometimes with rather contemptuous force, a dull, prosy rigmarole; a lie, fabrication (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Phr. a screed of lies (Uls. 1953 Traynor).Kcd. 1768 in A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 7:
I here might gie a skreed of names.
Sc. 1808 E. Hamilton Glenburnie xi.:
If I warna sae sick, I wad gie her a screed o' doctrine.
Per. 1812 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 303:
When she has nothing else to do let her give me a screed of a letter.
Sc. 1829 Scott Journal (1890) II. 302:
After dinner I wrote and took a screed of my novel.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 220:
Yet whyles, blythe Bald, wi' skreeds o' rhyme, I let that feckfow fallow, Time, Gae breeshlin by.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xiii.:
Up startit the souter an' gya them a screed o' 't bye ordinar.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 224:
He'll gie ye screeds, amaist aff loof, O' Coila's bard.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xv.:
They would give me a screed of the Gaelic that set me foolish.
Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 34:
Yun screed o' dine.
Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chronicle (12 Feb.):
Aa wad feel much obleeged te ye if ye wad pit this bit screed o' mine in yer paper.
Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.):
If A mak' 'is screed any longer 'e editor may throw hid in 'e waste-paper baskad.

3. A tear, rent, rip, gash, slash (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 464; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Fif. 1969), a scratch. Also fig.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 69:
He had lent anes Guts a Skreed, Wha had gi'en him a broken Head.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Ep. to W. Simpson v.:
Yet when a tale comes i' my head Or lasses gie my heart a screed.
Lnk. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 61:
Syne gave his head A hearty screed.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xiv.:
Two wide screeds across his trowser-knees.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 104:
May ne'er ill health gie you a screed, Wi's hanchin' teeth.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 77:
Sic a mishanter — sic a yawfu' screed, I've trampit on yer goon.
Lth. 1883 M. Oliphant Ladies Lindores xxv.:
It must have been an ill-willy beast that made ye give your arm a skreed like that.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
Bairn o seven dischairged
Fae watching the slauchter.
Men yeuk like warriors,
A swine squeals atour the yerd
Trotters clicking on corbled tiles
Dirt fear flashin in its een
A saw-like squaiking
Fae the screed in its thrapple.

4. The sound of tearing or ripping, a grating scraping noise (Ayr., Uls. 1969); used somewhat jocularly of fiddle-playing, a tune, music; a shrill sound, in 1839 quot. of a horse neighing. Phrs. a screed of or on the fiddle (Uls. 1953 Traynor); to play screed, to scrape away (on a fiddle).Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 4:
Sploiting, strikes the stane his granny hit, Wi' pistol screed, shot frae his gorlin doup.
Edb. 1798 H. Macneill Poet. Works (1801) 144:
Fearfu' ye sang till some agreed The notes war true; Whan grown mair bauld, ye gae a screed.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
The ice gae a great screed; a phrase used to denote the noise made by the cracking of ice.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 199:
Kittle up a moorland screed, To mak us fain.
Lnk. 1822 Clydesdale Wedding 4:
Whiles he play'd screed wi' the hair.
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life I. 49:
If thae billies wad gie us anither screed on the fiddle.
Sc. 1839 Chambers's Jnl. (10 Aug.) 232:
He [horse] ga'e three skreeds o' snorts till a' the Hope-park-end yelled again.
Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups viii.:
Hoosomever, gie's anither screed.
Ayr. 1896 Galt Provost (Meldrum) II. 280:
Scrieds is used in Ayrshire in “scrieds” of the pen, of drink, or of laughter.

5. A bout of drinking, a carousal, spree, a few days “on the batter” (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxv.:
Na — naething confuses me, unless it be a screed o' drink at an orra time.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxxii.:
Had he no deet amang hands in one o' his scrieds wi' the Lairds o' Kilpatrick.
Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck I. x.:
Indulging freely in an occasional screed.
Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Auld Clay Biggin' 20:
Save for his occasional screeds o' drinkin'.

II. v. 1. tr. To tear, rip, rend (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 423; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., screedge; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Per., Fif., Lnk., Ayr., Wgt. 1969); fig. to lacerate.Sc. 1766–80 Lord Lovel in Child Ballads No. 75 I. xiii.:
But he took a little pen-knife, And he screeded the winding-sheet.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 24:
Sick a ruther raise,'tweesh riving hair, Skreeding o' kurches, crying dool an' care.
Edb. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 23:
Then he sic measures does display, And skreeds sic blads o' corn away.
Fif. c.1850 Rymour Club Misc. II. 194:
For she did near her wizzen screed.
Dmf. 1863 R. Quin Heather Lintie 131:
Their weel-aimed taunts severe My feelin' screeges.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 375:
I hae skreetit yer goon.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace 6:
O for a rattlin bauld Scots blast . . . To screed his sails.

2. intr. with passive force: to tear, come apart, split.e.Lth. a.1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 68:
Whan she begoud to crack her creed, I've seen our chafts maist like to screed.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxxi.:
It would hae screeded like an auld rag wi' sic a weight as mine.
Peb. 1835 W. Watt Poems (1860) 94:
They worry'd, till kytes were like to screed, 'Mang flagons and flasks o' gravy, O.
m.Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 49:
The paper screeded up the middle.

3. intr. To make a shrill, grinding or screeching noise, to scream, to play on a fiddle or pipe; to gnash the teeth (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (7 Dec.) 9); tr. to play (a shrill tune), of bagpipes.Sc. 1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 38:
It made me Yelp, and Yeul, and Yell, and Skirl and Skreed.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 38:
At glomin now the bagpipe's dumb, Sae sweetly as it wont to bum, And Pibrachs skreed.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 162:
A better violer never scrided on a silken cord.
Slk. 1804 Hogg Poems (1865) 98:
Nae mair I'll screed the rantin tune.
Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 203:
Feth! Willie maun fiddle, . . . An screed till the sweet fa in beads frae his haffet.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 264:
I heard the bow screeding o'er the strings the noo.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 51:
Be mine, upon my pipe to screed A gleesome ditty when I'm glad.

4. (1) tr. and absol. To relate or read volubly and at length, to reel off, to recite fluently, freq. with aff (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 163; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh., Fif., Lth., Wgt. 1969), also transf.; to hold forth, “spout” (Peb. 1950).Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 53:
Sing then, how, on the fourth of June Our bells screed aff a loyal tune.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 7:
Auld farrant tales he skreeds awa'.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Inventory 44–5:
He'll screed you aff ‘Effectual Calling' As fast as onie in the dwalling.
Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (May) 355:
We find senators screeding off Morgan Ratler, and Paddy Whack at balls and weddings.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes. 171:
We screedit them aff like a parrot by rote.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 9:
He can screed awa' on politics.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 19:
His forte was bothy ballads a' maistly long and prosy' He'd screed them aff, nor miss a word.

(2) to compose (a piece of writing) easily and at great length; to write rapidly.Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (18 March):
When I did get fixed in my saddle, I could screed away with any one.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 93:
With energetic matter, he screeds doun a satire.
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth ii. ii.:
“He used to write for the papers.” She screeded in the air with her forefinger to illustrate what she meant.

(3) Specif. to fabricate or magnify in narration, to romance (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

5. To toss off (a drink), to drink in succession.Sc. a.1758 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 302:
Delicious Drams were his Delight, . . . Nine to his forenoon upon Sight He well could Skreed.

[An unpalatalised variant of Eng. shred, O.E. scrēade, a strip, scrēadian, to cut, lop.]

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"Screed n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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