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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

THRASH, v., n.2, adv. Also thresh; ¶thrush; and I.Sc. form tresh (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. thrash, thresh, thrush (Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 93), tresh; pa.t. strong: thruish (Edb. 1829 G. Wilson Sc. Laverock 121; Rxb. 1848 R. Davidson Leaves 171; Per., Fif. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1942 Zai), threush (Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 93; Ags. 1818 G. Beattie Poems (1882) 182), throosh (Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 4; Slk. 1825 Jam.; Lth. 1851 M. Oliphant Merkland II. viii.) [θrøʃ, θryʃ; θrɪʃ]; thrush (Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 392; Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Neuk 137; Ayr. 1868 J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 151) [θrʌʃ]; I.Sc. forms treush (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 119, Ork. 1971), trüsh (Sh. 1923 Shetlander No. 3. 2, 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 154) [trøʃ]; and ne.Sc. threesh (ne.Sc. 1909 G. Greig Folk-Song Lxv. 1; Abd. 1928 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (18 Oct.) 6; ne.Sc. 1972) [θriʃ]. The forms †throosh [θruʃ] (Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. (Spring 1956) 20; ‡Mry., Bnff. 1930), troosh [truʃ] (Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. ii. 68) are also found; weak thrasht, thrashed. Gen.Sc. Pa.p. strong: thrashen (Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 80; Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 284; wm.Sc. 1843 Whistle-Binkie (1890) II. 239; Abd. 1912 G. Greig Mains's Wooin' 47; ne., wm.Sc. 1972) [θrɑʃn], pseudo-Highl. ¶thrasun (Rs. 1749 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 74); thruishen (Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson), thrushen (Per. 1802 S. Kerr Poems 2; Lnk. 1822 W. Watson Poems (1877) 87; Kcd. 1856 W. Jamie Jacobite's Son 160), throoshen (Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) ii.; Edb. 1864 W. Fergusson Songs 49) [θrøʃn, θryʃn, θrʌʃn]; I.Sc. treshen (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 41; I.Sc. 1972), tröshin (Sh. 1972 New Shetlander No. 100, 26); weak thrashed, threshed. See also Thrash, v., 3.

B. Sc. usages. The distinction now observed since the 17th c. in Eng. between thresh, to beat the seed from grain, and thrash, to beat, chastise, is not made in Sc. and both forms are used indiscriminately, though thresh is now rare and obsol. in either sense.

Sc. derivs. combs. and phrs.: (1) auld Threshie, a nickname for a schoolmaster who was a stern disciplinarian (Fif. c.1850 Peattie MS.); (2) thrasher, the striking part of a flail, the beater (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (3) thrashing-machine, a mechanical contrivance for threshing corn, one of a series of such first invented in Scotland in the 1730's (see G. E. Fussell Farmer's Tools (1952) 152 sqq.); (4) thrashing-mill, id. Gen.Sc. Also in form threshy-mill (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (5) thrashin tree, a flail. Cf. flingin tree s.v. Fling, III. 3.; (6) to thrash o'er, to repeat, go over again and again. Cf. Eng. to thresh over old straw, to go on at a fruitless and monotonous task; (7) to thrash one's Sunday strae, of a minister: to prepare one's sermon, esp. on the previous Saturday (Bnff. 1902 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 11, Bnff. 1930); (8) to thrash pease in a bottle, said of very small people.(3) e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 148:
Mr Meikle constructed a threshing machine with the flutted feeding rollers; and afterwards added a machine for shaking the straw, and the fanners for winnowing the corn.
e.Lth. 1813 R. Somerville Agric. E. Lth. 78:
There is only one thrashing machine worked by steam, in East Lothian.
Sc. 1849 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 386:
The thrashing-machine is set in motion by different kinds of power, — by steam, by horse-strength, by the wind, and by water.
(4) m.Lth. 1793 G. Robertson Agric. M. Lth. 46:
Thrashing mills were very soon afterward introduced into this country. They are now very general.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 6:
All the iron work of the thrashing mill.
Ork. 1929 Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 78:
I' a treshin mill, amang da strae.
(5) Sc. 1851 A. MacLagan Sketches 236:
Come, rest your weary shanks awhile, Come, rest your thrashin' tree.
(6) Sc. 1876 The Twa Sisters in Child Ballads (1950) I. 133:
O sister, O sister, will ye go to the dams, To hear the blackbird thrashin oer his songs?
(8) Mry. 1971:
Their bairns'll thrash pease in a bottle, said of very small people.

II. n. A dash, a sweeping motion. Nonce.Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 235:
I appeared in the court in Edinburgh wi' a thrash, and had the case settled in a jiffy.

III. adv. in phr. to come thrash down, to fall heavily, crash down.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) vi.:
He cam thrash doon on the kribstane.

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"Thrash v., n.2, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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