Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SEL, pron., n., pref. Also sell. Gen.Sc. forms of Self (Sc. 1755 S. Johnson Dict.). Pl. sel(l)s. See P.L.D. § 70. 3. and F, 4. and 5. [sɛl]

I. pron. 1. Used as in Eng., with pers. and possess. prons. See Ainsel(l), Hersel, Himsel, Hissel, Mysel, nainsel s.v. Nain, etc. Sometimes written separately (Sc. a.1706 J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 68, my sell; Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 44, our sells). Phrs.: (1) glaar's sel, mud itself, a sea of mud. See Glaursel; (2) muck's sel, id., very dirty or filthy; (3) reek's sel, thick with smoke, in a dense atmosphere; (4) saut's sel, salt itself, excessively salted of food, etc.; (5) stoor's sel, nothing but dust, very dusty. See Stour, n., 5.; (6) sel dö, sel hae, see quot.(1) Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 5:
The roads ir fair awfih the day; thay're duist glaar's sel wui that rain.
(2) Rxb. 1958 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 26:
We could be muck's sel and dirt teh the eenholes.
(3) Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 5:
Ee've the hoose reek's sel wui eer unfeel cutty.
(4) Kcb. 1969:
Ye've shairly sautit this twice. It's saut's sel.
(5) Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 5:
A've been oot bittlin thae rugs; thay war fair stoor's sel.
(6) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 214:
The universal truth that whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, is very curtly expressed in four syllables — “Sel' dö, sel' hae”.

2. With pers. pron.: alone, by oneself. Gen.Sc. s.Sc. 1880 Border Counties' Mag. I. 95:
He began to be eerie, bein' himsel' on sic a nicht.

II. n. ‡1. In phr. the sel(l) o —, followed by a pers. pron., as an emphatic form of the reflexive.Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 56:
A sow that has been the waur o' drink ance'll tak gude tent no to fill the sell o't fu a secont time.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian ix.:
I ken nae friend he has in the world that's been sae like a father to him as the sell o' ye.
Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 167:
It [letter]'ll aiblins tell you the sell o't.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (17 April) 431:
It's maybe no just sae weel come to the sell o't yet as it should be.
Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 290:
They [primroses] saw'd the sell o' them.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 191:
Fair play tells the sel o'd (speaks for itself).
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 22:
This year for neeps we jist used slag by the sell o't.

2. As in Eng., selfishness. In this sense freq. in dim. sel(l)ie, selly (Ags. 1969). Also attrib. = selfish. Hence ¶selliness, selfishness.Sc. a.1758 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 300:
In a ye do forgetna selly.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 134:
That land where “sellie” reigns supremely chief.
Mry. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 343:
Ye're like the minister o' Balie, preaching for selie.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 128:
I made it aye a principle, that I would never blink the richt for sellie's sake.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xi.:
An thar be ocht o' selliness howderin' athin ye.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 21:
Bit A daarsay there's a selly bit aboot uz aa.

III. pref. In combs. the normal form Self, q.v. Nonce usages: 1. selsam, self-same; 2. sel-sappitness, self-absorption, self-centredness. See Sap, v.21. Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms cxlvi. 4:
In that sel-sam day, his thoughts die.
2. Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. vii.:
It is better till hae a wee thocht o' knawlege wi' lown-hertitness, an' sma' uptak, nor griter gear o' lear wi' ydil sel'-sappitness.

[O.Sc. sell, self, selves, 1475.]

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

"Sel pron., n., prefix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: