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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.

TRADE, n. Also †trad (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 8), traid- (Edb. 1717 J. D. Marwick Guilds (1909) 198), tread (Slg. 1706 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. (1924) 39, Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 189); trede (Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 7); tryde (Abd. (coast) 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (8 May) 10); tred (Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 293; Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller vi.; Gall. a.1897 R. Ringan's Plewman's Cracks 17; Fif. 1916 G. Black Rustic Rhymes 150; Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 99; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai), tredd (Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 346; Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 102). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. trade. [In Sc. gen. with shortened vowel trɛd]

1. As in Eng. Phr. to trade, by profession or occupation, as one's regular occupation. Gen.Sc. See also Tae, prep., 6. (2). Comb. het-trade, see Het, adj., 1. (8) and Trod, n., from which trade is an alteration.Per. 1836 G. Penny Traditions 47:
A weaver to trade.
Lnk. 1889 A. MacLachlan Songs 164:
Some simpleton, tailor to trade.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Tod was a wabster to his trade.
Gall. 1914 Gallovidian No. 59. 107:
Joseph Heughan, blacksmith to trade, translated this Eclogue of Virgil.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 9:
"You're to bide in the parish then, Frank Hay?"
"Aye my faither's bigged a cot up there by the Kirktoun; he's been a wabster to trade but he's meanin' to settle here and farm a bit."
Ork. 1995 Orcadian 6 Apr 5:
Throughout this period the family were all stone masons to trade and it was throughout the 1930s that Joseph and his brother Norrie ran the shop and a building business until the 1940s.
Sc. 1995 Daily Record 21 Jun 7:
An electrician to trade, he came from a Labour family and was active in the Young Socialists...

2. A corporation of master craftsmen in any one trade in a burgh, which until the Municipal Reform Act of 1834 elected members to the Town Council, one of the Incorporations, q.v. These corporations continue to exist in many of the larger towns as friendly societies, and in Edinburgh and Glasgow have still civic representation through the Deacon Convener of the United Trades.Sc. 1701 Fountainhall Decisions (1761) II. 119:
The giving the trades too great an influence and hand in elections is very inconvenient.
Sc. 1705 J. H. Macadam Baxter Bk. St Andrews (1903) 152:
The Brethren of the Baxter traid Haueing mett for electing of ane Deacon.
Gsw. 1784 Lumsden & Aitken Hist. Hammermen Gsw. (1912) 141:
To appoint the Fourteen Officers of the Trades to peramble the Streets every Sunday.
Abd. 1797 E. Bain Merchant Guilds (1887) 261:
It was represented to the trade that their journeymen had entered into an illegal combination for the purpose of raising their wages.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun 106:
By the Municipal Constitution of Dumfries, the Craftsmen, who are here, as in the other Scotch boroughs, called Trades, are divided into Seven Corporations.
Sc. 1830 W. Chambers Bk. Scotland 66:
The last description of privileged persons within every royal burgh, are the incorporated trades. The number of these incorporations varies in every town, from one to fourteen separate bodies.
Sc. 1872 A. J. Warden Burgh Laws Dundee 239:
Each Trade is equipped with a Deacon, Boxmaster, and other officers.
Sc. 1936 W. E. Whyte Local Government 88:
The rights of any craft, trade, convener of trades or trades house are reserved without interference on the part of the Town Council.

Combs.: (1) trades-bailie, -councillor, -counsellor, a bailie or member of a town council elected by the Trades, severally or jointly, before 1833; (2) trades' ha(ll), a meeting-house of the Trades in a burgh; (3) trades holiday, an annual summer holiday, orig. taken by the craftsmen in a town, but later extended to the citizens generally, and from one day to a week and now to a fortnight or three weeks. Gen.Sc. Cf. (10); (4) trades hospital, a home for pensioners of the Incorporated Trades of a burgh, specif. of Glasgow. Hist.; (5) trades house, a deliberative body or council consisting of representatives of the fourteen Incorporated Trades of Glasgow, presided over by the Deacon Convener, no doubt orig. so called from the house or hall where they met. There is still a Trades House in Glasgow; (6) trade's key, the name given to the senior treasurer of the Incorporation of Wrights in Glasgow. See Key (Suppl.) and quot.; (7) tradesman, one who practises a skilled handicraft, an artisan, craftsman (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc., now only dial. in Eng. Hence tradesmanlike, in a skilled professional manner; †a member of one of the Incorporated Trades (see above); (8) trades people, coll. name of (7), tradesmen; (9) trade stent, see Stent, n.2, 3. (10); (10) trades week, = (3).(1) Edb. 1705 Burgh Rec. Edb. 110:
William Wardrop present deacon conveener, remanent deacons and trades Counsellors of the said burgh.
Sc. 1759 Session Papers, Information for Magistrates Dundee (10 July) 1:
A Provost, four Bailies, a Dean of Guild, and Treasurer, ten Merchant-counsellors, and three Trades-counsellors.
Sc. 1779 H. Arnot Hist. Edb. 509:
The next step in the election is the choice of three merchants and two trades counsellors.
Sc. 1818 W. Kennedy Annals Abd. I. 368:
Two of the four trades counsellors may be guild brethren, being always operative craftsmen.
Per. 1849 T. H. Marshall Hist. Perth 449:
All those who at any time had held office as deacon, trades' baillie, or trades' councillor.
(2) Gsw. 1791 Gsw. Past and Present (1851) I. xxiii.:
Protest by John Herbertson, against a new Trades' Hall and Steeple.
Dmf. 1796 Lockhart Burns (1828) ix.:
On the 25th of July, the remains of the poet were removed to the Trades Hall.
Ags. 1872 A. J. Warden Burgh Laws Dundee 295:
The Trades' Hall was sold to the Clydesdale Bank in 1864.
Abd. 1887 E. Bain Merchant Guilds 193:
The new Trades Hall, situated at the south-east end of Union Bridge.
(3) Edb. 1873 Minutes Edb. Trades Council (S.H.S.) 362:
A letter from Mr Irons, superintendent, Caledonian Railway, enquiring when the annual trades Holidays take place this year.
Sc. 1922 Scotsman (24 July) 5:
Trades Holiday week began at Edinburgh on Saturday.
(4) Abd. 1723 E. Bain Merchant Guilds (1887) 160:
David Cruickshank, officer of the Traids Hospital.
Gsw. 1736 J. McUre View Gsw. 75:
Twelve thousand Merks to the Trade's Hospital for the Maintenance of six old Tradesmen.
Gsw. 1851 Gsw. Past and Present I. xxiii.:
The meetings of the House, as well as those of the several Incorporations, were held from time immemorial in the Trades' Hospital, near the High Church.
(5) Gsw. 1712 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 485:
The considerable mortifications made be him to the Merchants and Trades houses.
Gsw. 1813 J. Cleland Green of Gsw. 72:
The Trades' House, in conjunction with the Fourteen Incorporations, support a Free-School.
Gsw. 1948 J. Ness Incorp. Bakers 47:
Although composed of representatives from the fourteen Incorporated Trades of the Burgh, the Trades House is a distinct corporation, with a constitution of its own, and with separate funds.
(6) Gsw. 1801 Incorporation Wrights Gsw. (1889) 9:
The Deacon's Box has two locks, one of the keys for which is smaller than the other. The larger key is kept by the Trade's key, or “Big Key”; and the smaller by the Deacon's Key, or “Little Key.” These designations were first introduced in the minutes of the meetings held on 25th September, 1801.
(7) Sc. 1705 Dialogue between Country-Man and Landwart School-Master 6:
Farmers and poor Tradesmen, who are glad to abide here to make Ploughs and Harrows for us.
Sc. 1720 Session Papers, Deacons Haddington (18 July) 1:
The Number of their Magistrates and Council to consist of 25 Persons, whereof 16 Merchants, and 9 Tradesmen.
Kcd. 1778 D. Loch Tour 65:
An ingenious cabinet-maker and house-carpenter, a good smith, and tradesmen of all professions.
Bnff. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 507:
Tradesmen of different sorts, such as smiths, weavers, wrights, and tailors.
Edb. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (23 Jan.) 2:
The houses are substantially finished, and will stand the examination of any tradesman.
Sc. 1879 Stevenson Deacon Brodie i. i. 2:
No a tradesman, — no the Deacon here himsel' — could have made a cleaner job.
Sc. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Report 38:
Dry-stone dykes, substantially built in a tradesmanlike manner.
Lnk. 1890 H. Muir Reminiscences 56:
Hard things ha'e been said as are said aboot tredsmen.
Sc. 1939 St Andrews Cit. (25 Nov.) 4:
Mr. D — — was a skilled tradesman.
Sc. 1949 W. M. MacKenzie Sc. Burghs 114:
In Scotland a craftsman was a “tradesman” and the crafts were the “trades,” whereas in England a tradesman was and is a retail dealer — baker, butcher, etc. — who in Scotland was and is a merchant.
(8) Kcd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 453:
Trades people, such as weavers, shoemakers, &c.
(10) Sc. 1926 Scotsman (26 July) 5:
The end ofthe Glasgow Fair week coincided with the beginning of the Edinburgh Trades week.

3. A ss, to-do, “carry-on” (Ags., Per. 1972). Also in Eng. dial.Ags. 1883 Brechin Advertiser (1 May) 3:
That's awfu like trade! gaen aboot drinkin' that way.
Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 157:
The craws are hauding a great trade — i.e., are busy building their nests.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13:
Some folk heh sic a tredd wui thersels, — primpin!

4. A continued practice, a habit, esp. phr. to mak a trade o (ne.Sc., Ags. 1972). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.Sc. 1817 G. Chalmers Churchyard's Chips Pref. 14:
He homeward drew as was his wonted tread.
s.Sc. 1914 N.E.D.:
Ye maunna mak a tred o' gangin there.

5. Stuff, goods, articles, in a gen. unspecified sense. Now dial. in Eng.Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xlvi.:
There's been mony a moonlight watch to bring a' that trade thegither.

[From M.L.Ger. trade, a track, course, with later shortening of the vowel in Sc. (from the mid. 16th c.). N.E.D.'s association of the short vowel form with Eng. tread, Mid.Eng. treden, is against probability since this would normally in most Sc. dialects have become [trid], which is nowhere instanced. See Tread.]

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"Trade n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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