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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

THON, pron., adj. Also thone (Sc. 1808 Jam.), thoan (em.Sc. (a) 1944 Scots Mag. (April) 3); misprinted thor (Mry. 1913 Kenilworth Mag. II. iii. 55). [ðon, ðɔn]

I. pron. That, yon, indicating something more distant in place or time from the speaker in relation to another thing or to the most remote of three (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Also used of pl.Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 96:
Leuk down the gate, what squabble's thon?
Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage ii.:
Hoose! ca' ye thon a hoose? Thon's gude Glenfern Castle.
s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 186:
This is mine, that's yours, but whae's aucht thon?
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona i.:
Ca' thon a leddy?
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 55:
He cudna dress like thon on little siller.
Abd. 1918 C. Murray Sough o' War 46:
An' last comes Sandy — he's a nickum thon.
Rnf. 1935 G. Blake Shipbuilders ix.:
My, she's a right tear thon!
Arg. 1947 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 192:
It would be a wild thing if the like of thon were to happen to his own lassie.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 128:
Well... I dinna ken about thon.
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 202:
And then I was walking and I mean walking, just walking, with nobody there to say yay or nay. What a feeling thon was. I stopped a minute to look about. An error. Of course, an error. I bloody knew it as soon as I'd done it. And out they came.
Gsw. 1991 Maud Devine in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 123:
ma cairn
stane oan stane
aye cheyngin aye growin
wurd chukkies wurd bools cast
a mountain
bi trauchled boadies
a puddin hill o reachin
frae yin oanganger ti anither
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 1:
Sookin' a liquorice stick, ma curdy in ma haun,
Soor Plooms an' Humbugs, ah'll hiv some o' thone.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 94:
'I kept watch ower the Archbishop's hoose when the rebels cam oot the west in the year '66,' Tammas told him. 'The rebels - or whitiver ye'd cry them - that mairched frae Dumfries tae the Pentlands, and wis bate by mad Tam Dalyell the Muscovite.' He pointed his pipe at Mitchel. 'Ye wouldna hae been mixed up in thon, would ye?'
wm.Sc. 2000 Liz Lochhead Medea 6:
there there wheesht my wee loves my bairnies
your poor mither she's no right run
keep away from her thon's no your mother
the state she's in

II. adj. That, those, yon (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor Gl.). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Thon thing, a thing not to be mentioned by its own name as too ominous; in fisher taboo usage: a salmon.Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Ye can try Thon Thing wi' the gun.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 199:
Aneth thon roarin', neck and heels, The feck o' them is swirl'd!
Abd. 1920 C. L. Hay When the Cat's Awa' 6:
Fat's thon door owre yon'er?
m.Sc. 1928 O. Douglas Ann and Her Mother i.:
Ye wad need to fit in about thon daft man.
Abd. 1951 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 114:
He's sittin' anither o' thon exams next week.
Ags. 1968 Dundee Courier (13 Jan.):
There is a superstition about [salmon], and one may speak only of “thon things.”
m.Sc. 1979 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 87:
Let us hear again thon benwart glory
That burns throu time wi daethless love,
Steirin thocht o auld, heroic livin
In this dow, disjackit land.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 30:
An' bring me linament - Ah'm awfy liable
Tae rheumaticks wi' bein' so lang oan the caul' flair, kneelin'.
It sterts wi peens an' needles then Ah lose a' feelin' ...
It's gi'ein' me gyp, so git thon embrocation
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 16:
Ah hope yer no gallivantin wae thon freends a yours doon that Barraland.
Edb. 1991 J. K. Annand in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 20:
Gif I had ae short simmer o sang
Wi hauf the beauty o thon flouer
In the snaw o eild I'd hap my tongue
And haud my wheest for evermair.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 42:
Thon quines will be a hud doon tae Knowie yet.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 30:
And you got scones and pancakes out the Co-op, and thon big butter biscuits.
Gsw. 1993 Herald (2 Feb) 12:
They turn up at the opening but Hen [Broon] is distraught at not having a good view of the lookalike flashing her knickers in a re-enactment of thon scene from The Seven-Year Itch.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 65:
Remember thon night I gave you a tab before you came down to The Lighthouse car?
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 17:
Enough ye'd think,
Tae crack thon icy hairts.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 33:
Ah, did ye meet in derkened wids, bi chaunce,
Thon singer, fa o luv an wae dis sing?
An did ye see him lauch, or see him greet?
Or glisk the grue that glimmers in thon glaunce -
Ah, did ye meet?

[Conflation of Yon and That.]

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"Thon pron., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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