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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHED, v., n. Also shade, shaid, sheyd (Cai.), ¶shedde, †sched; shead, sheed, schede. Sc. forms and usages. [ʃed, Cai. ʃeɪd; I., ne.Sc. ʃid]

I. v. 1. tr. (1) To separate out, divide, sort, esp. lambs from ewes (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.), or calves from cows (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 425).Peb. 1772 J. Maclaurin Crim. Cases (1774) 557:
To shade out his hogs, or young sheep, from his other sheep.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 276:
I've lambs to shed, and sheep a clippin' too.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 134:
We a' nae doubt, are fasht wi' flaws That shed us frae perfection.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 87:
It is necessary to handle the whole lot and shed the fattest from the rest.
s.Sc. 1900 Weekly Free Press (8 Dec.):
I've made my dog separate hirsels, an' shed oot yin here an' there.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (26 Aug.) 2:
A better never lifted paw, To shed or wear aff a stell.
wm.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 463:
Wicket-gates for “shedding” the sheep into various pens.

Hence (i) shedder, an instrument for parting (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 270), a pen used for sorting sheep. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; (ii) shedding (a) the act of separating sheep. Hence shedding-place, the place where this is done; (b) = shedding-place; (c) the lambs separated out from a flock.(i) Peb. 1934 J. Dickson Poems (1938) 48:
Some man wha never saw a hill, Will rin them through the shedders.
Bwk. 1958 Scotsman (31 May) 4:
He discussed the layout, the shedders, the footpath.
(ii) (a) Slk. 1801 Hogg Pastorals 20:
An useless gauffin tike . . . At sheddin', fauldin', bought, nor burn.
Slk. 1832 Trans Highl. Soc. 295:
When gathered to the same fold or shedding-place together.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chronicle (26 Aug.) 2:
Test — Hauld between two poles, drive round trainer, and proceed between two other sets of poles before penning, shedding, and wearing.
Abd. 1956 J. Murray Rural Rhymes 27:
An' then they had a sheep tae pairt Frae a' the rest — ca'ed sheddin'.
Dmf. 1957 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (19 Oct.):
Midge had a good run out and the most perfect lift in the competition, perfect fetch, driving and shedding.
(b) Slk. 1818 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xx.:
One kind will manage sheep about hand, about a bught, shedding, or fold, almost naturally.
(c) Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 39:
The lambs, dinmonts, or wethers, that are drafted out of the fat stock are called the sheddings, or tails, or drafts.

(2) In Weaving: to divide the warp-threads in a loom for the shuttle to pass through, done by means of raising and lowering the heddles alternately by pedalling on the treddles. Cf. II. 5. Pa.p. shedded, vbl.n. shedding.Sc. 1839 A. Ure Dict. Arts 1285:
The weaver thus sheds the warp, by lifting and depressing each alternate thread.
Sc. 1863 J. Watson Weaving 196:
It has been explained how a common web is shedded, and a few words will show the difference for the shedding in this loom.

(3) to take apart or to bits, divide in pieces; to cut into flat slices (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., shede, sheed); to rake out or scatter the ashes and cinders of a fire.Ork. 1762 W. Mackintosh Curious Incidents (1892) 299:
Taking down the long stone of the Cross, shedding it, and carrying the stones to the new Cross.
Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 26:
I [a blacksmith] had shed my fire, An' hame was ettlin' to retire.

(4) to move to the side, to shift.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 116:
He'd shade the binwud door aside.

(5) to cut short (talk), leave off, be done with.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 99:
Aften had the Dominie to break in on his discourse with: “Ay! be sheddin't noo, Davie, be sheddin't!”

2. tr. To part or comb (the hair, a sheep's fleece, etc.) to one side or the other (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, shade). Gen.Sc. Pa.p. shed(ded). Hence shedding, the parting of the hair; comb. shedkame, a woman's side-comb. For phr. in 1768 quot. see II. 2.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 115:
Gin he look'd blyth, the lassie looked mair, For shame was past the shedding o' her hair.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Works (Chambers 1896) II. 160:
Neil Gow plays; a short, stout-built Highland figure, with his greyish hair shed on his honest social brow.
Sc. 1824 Lord Ingram in Child Ballads No. 66 A. xxvi.:
Then up did start him Chiel Wyet, Shed by his yellow hair.
Sc. 1831 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. III. 399:
To shed wool is to divide it on the sheep's body into parallel bands or stripes.
Sc. 1858 Slight and Burn Farm Implements 529:
A tin flask is used to pour the bath along the shedded rows of the fleece.
Cai. 1871 M. McLennan Peasant Life 265:
To have her hair combed and shaded.
Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 107:
Her pure wee haun' sheddin' back his raven locks.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff xvi.:
His hair was bright red, and shed in the middle.
Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Gall. Gossip 137:
Jean begood tae hing oot her ringlets, an pit shedkames on her haffets.
Dmf. 1914 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo 93:
To shed my hair in the auld yin [mirror].
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 89:
Aw got mony a dreel 'at aw wunna leuk in an' see at my heid's richt shed.
Uls. 1993:
Do you shed your hair in the middle?
Edb. 1997:
Shed yer hair on the right.
Sc. 1999 Scotsman (3 Jul.)  1:
He appears as if by magic, dressed immaculately in a dark blue suit, his hair shed severely, ...

3. intr. (1) with wi: to separate oneself from another, to part company, to go off in different directions.Sc. 1822 R. M'Chronicle Legends Scot. II. 193:
We should hae garr'd him tell anither tale or we had shed wi' him.

Hence sheddin(g)(s), ¶shedlands, a place where roads branch off from one another, a road-fork, parting of ways, a cross-roads (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Slg., w.Lth., wm.Sc. 1970), also found as a place-name.Gsw. 1735 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 438:
Betwixt the head of the Gorballs and the shedding of the ways there.
Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Tales (1874) 237:
The shedlands of sundry roads.
Wgt. 1875 W. McIlwraith Guide Wgt. 18:
We come anon to the sheddings of the roads.
Lnk. 1880 W. Grossart Shotts 235:
Shedinhall is derived from the old verb “shed”, to divide, because several roads branched from the main road at this point.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie I. i.:
The village terminated at the toll-house or “sheddings” of the road.
Uls. 1993:
I'll meet you at the sheddings.

(2) of the hair: to part, be divided, to be combed one way and another (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Abd. 1970).Abd. 1749 Aberdeen Jnl. (26 Dec.):
His Hair shades upon his Fore-head.
Edb. 1992:
My hair sheds in the middle.

II. n. 1. The act of sorting out sheep, the dividing of a flock, freq. as a test in sheep-dog trials. Gen. (exc.I.) Sc.Rxb. 1920 Kelso Chronicle (23 July) 2:
When buchting the sheep, or getting them in a heap to make the single “cut” or “shed.”
Gall. 1954 Gall. Gazette (30 Oct.):
Best outrun and lift — H. Craig. Best shed — D. Johnstone.

2. The parting of the hair on the head (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Gen.Sc.), or of wool on a sheep's back. Prov. phr. shame is past the shed of (your, his, etc.) hair, one has lost all sense of shame (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 287). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Comb. Short-shed, see 1796 quot.Sc. 1703 Reason against Presby. Prints 18:
Shame hath passed the Shed of some Mens Hair.
Sc. 1775 Weekly Mag. (2 March) 299:
The wool of every sheep that is smeared is divided into shades.
s.Sc. 1796 Annals Agric. XXVII. 195:
Older sheep are salved . . . slightly on the back, neck, and upper parts of the sides, which is called salving from short shed to short shed.
Bwk. 1824 Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 321:
Applied with the finger in the different sheds of the fleece, in the same manner as tar and butter.
Dmf. 1843 Trans. Highl. Soc. 49:
The shed in the fleece along the back is often filled with snow for a whole day together.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie ii.:
There was no “shed,” or parting of the hair.
w.Sc. 1917 H. Foulis Jimmy Swan 258:
What side are sheds worn on this season?
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 23:
A got masel cleaned, a shed i ma hair.
Arg. 1952 N. Mitchison Lobsters on the Agenda xxl.:
He leant nearer into the wee looking-glass and put a shed into his hair.
Edb. 1991 Gordon Legge In Between Talking about the Football 105:
He looks like he used to hang around with nutters with his tattoos and boxer's build. He's got a side-shed and his hair's greasy.
Edb. 1997:
What side do you want your shed on?

3. A slice, cut, a piece divided off (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., Ags. 1950, sheed). Obs. in Eng.Per. 1739 A. Nicol Poems 74:
Assunder I shall hack it [cheese] In Sheeds this day.
Ags. 1914 I. Bell Country Clash 214:
The wumman's as aisy buttered as a sheed o' het toast.

4. A strip of land plainly marked off from its surroundings, a distinct or separate piece of ground, now chiefly hist. (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 69, 1808 Jam.; Ork. 1808 Jam., 1929 Marw., sheed (of land); Cai. 1970), a field (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 19, shead. Phr. shed of corn, “a piece of ground on which corn grows, as distinguished from the adjacent land on either side” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Found also in place names as Broadshed.Ags. 1706 A. J. Warden Burgh Laws Dundee (1872) 169:
3 Aickers of this land, in that shed called the laigh shed, bounded with the Queen's highway on the south.
Cai. 1734 J. E. Donaldson Cai. in 18th Cent. (1938) 81:
Eat Canisbay was divided into “shades” as they were termed, each of which contained an indefinite number of riggs.
Ork. 1766 P. Fea MS. Diary (13 Jan.):
Ott land of the West Shead of How.
Sc. 1825 Lady Maisry in Child Ballads No. 65 B. xxvii.:
And I'll cause mony back be bare, And mony shed be thin.
Abd. 1884 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 28:
Chading Jenny Hurlpipes Through a shed o' red laan.
Ork. 1909 Old-Lore Misc. II. iii. 132:
A field or sheed called Trackantrunges.
Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (31 March):
As the tafts and beds grew in number and in size they were joined together in a small “sheyd” or field.

5. An opening, gap or interstice, specif. in a loom: the space between the upper and lower warp threads where the shuttle passes through (Sc. 1808 Jam.; m.Sc. 1970). Also in Eng. weaving usage. Phr. shed-(of the) teeth, the spaces between the teeth (Kcd. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1792 A. Adam Roman Antiq. 523:
The principal part of the machinery of a loom, . . . raises or depresses the warp, and makes the shed for transmitting the shuttle with the weft.
Sc. 1844 P. Chalmers Dunfermline 255:
These cords [of a loom] raised the shed or made the pattern.
Slg. 1898 J. M. Slimmon Dead Planet 146:
My shuttle saunters in the shaid.
s.Sc. 1901 Border Mag. (Aug.) 157:
The shuttles being thrown from one side of the “shed” to the other by hand.

[O.Sc. schedd, a piece of ground, 1473, schede, to separate, c.1475, parting of the hair, 1513, shedd, to part company, 1456. The long vowel forms are the orig. from O.E. scēadan, ȝescēad, the shed forms are due to 14th c. shortening, as in bread, dead, lead (metal), etc.]

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"Shed v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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