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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.

TUNE, n., v. Also tuin, tüne (Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 166, 1917 J. Buchan Poems 69), teun (Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 131), töne (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (24 Iktober), 1958 New Shetlander No. 48. 8); ¶ta'en; tin(n) (w.Lth. 1892 R. Stewart Legends 171; Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 38, Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 20); ‡teen (ne.Sc.), †tien (Per. 1773 in Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 243); choon. Sc. forms and usages. See P.L.D. §§ 37, 93.1., 121. [I., m. and s.Sc. tøn, tyn, tɪn; ne.Sc. tin, gen. in sense I. 3. only.]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Sc. phrs, and comb.: (1) to gie tune to, to put feeling and strength into; (2) to hae or tak a tune to onesel, to play a tune by oneself (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1973); (3) tune-book, a metrical psalm-book (Ork. 1973); (4) tune lines, the words sung to a tune, specif. secular words devised to suit a metrical psalm-tune when it is sung in practice only and not at worship (Ork. 1973).(1) Ags. 1774 Weekly Mag. (30 Dec.) 15:
They weel their meikle fingers beek, To gie them tune.
(2) Slk. 1838 Hogg Tales (1866) 73:
He's takin a tune to himsel' at the house-end.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 57:
Some billie haein' a teen tull 'imsel i' the edge o' the evenin'.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 74:
Jimmy had certainly come a long way from the wee laddie haen a choon doon at the dykes at East Wemyss on his dad's box, but perhaps in the most important way he had not really changed at all!
(4) Wgt. 1878 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 206:
Singing masters and precentors all through Galloway used to make use of popular rhymes for tune-lines, so as not to desecrate the Psalms of David by using them to teach children to sing.

2. Intonation, the pitch and cadence of speech; freq. that associated with a particular dialect, a twang (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1973).Sc. 1783 H. Blair Lectures on Rhetoric II. 214:
In Public Speaking . . . a certain melody or tune, which requires rest and pauses of its own, distinct from those of the sense.

3. Mood, humour, disposition, temper, now most freq. in guid or ill tune, -teen (Sh., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Bwk., Wgt. 1973). Obs. in Eng. Adj. tunie, changeable in temperament, moody (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; s.Sc. 1973).Ayr. 1785 Burns Holy Fair xxvi.:
They're a' in famous tune For crack that day.
Abd. 1794 W. Farquhar Poems 172:
Sae, 'oman fa' no in ill teens.
Lnk. 1824 Sc. Peasants 217:
He put me in an ill tune, Jenny.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 84:
Robina an' me were juist oot o' a' tune an' temper.
Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 37:
'Twud pit them in a merry teen.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 5:
Sandy's in a tirmendous ill tuin the day.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 40:
She'll bless ye or curse ye, Whate'er be her teen.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 286:
The ill ta'en in which he had flitted from Echt.
Abd. 1956 Ev. Express (21 Nov.):
Do ye ever get into sic a nyatterin' teen?
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 165:
Aabody seemed tae be intae a guid teen, and the tone noo wis quiet as aabody sort of telt bits and pieces and a fine quiet feeling prevailed ower the fish-hoose.
Abd. 1993:
Fit kinna teen are ye in?
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Fyles ye myurr-myurr to me ma leen,
Yer quaverin myowies thin an smaa,
Sae saft they're scarce a soun avaa.
Ye're couthy in yer fraisin teen.

II. v. 1. In phr. to tune one up to, to induce one to do some silly or wrong action (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Per. 1973).

2. To put (an implement) into proper working order, to set correctly, to adjust, e.g. of a plough (Cai. 1973). In n.Eng. dial. used of setting up a loom.Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 5:
I wat a pleugh he weel could tune.
Abd. 1869 Banffshire Jnl. (21 Dec.) 2:
To gather down, an' trim an' teen Yer guid auld Spinnin' Wheel.

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"Tune n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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