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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.

TWIN, adj., n., v., adv. Also twinn, twun (Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 39); twan (Slk. c.1830 Scott Journals (1890) I. 344); tone (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., § 27); and in v. usages twine, twyn(e) (see etym. note). [twɪn, twʌn; twəin]

Sc. v. usages: 1. To take a lamb from a weak or sickly ewe and put it to a strong ewe which is able to suckle it along with her own lamb (m. and s.Sc. 1973). Vbl.n. twinning.Gall. 1925 Scottish Farmer (21 Feb.):
When there are not many twins, and a good lot of deaths to keep up, lambs should be taken from any small gimmers or thin ewes and twinned on to good ewes. . . . When ewes are being driven in to be twinned they should be very carefully handled and not made to sulk.
Peb. 1929 J. Dickson Poems (1938) 10:
The twinning season being bye, For milk you must depend on kye.

2. tr. To divide, separate, sunder, part (Sh. 1973).Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 2:
The lowlands of Holland has twin'd my love and me.
wm.Sc. 1832 W. Motherwell Poems 184:
The waves and cruel wars hae twinn'd My winsome luve frae me.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 42:
Oh, wae on the siller! it's twined me an' Johnnie.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 49:
'Twas him that twyned me frae the braes abune Stobha'.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 58:
O, we maun sinder never, Nocht daur us twine.

3. To divide up, share out, part with (wealth, etc.).Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 35, 74:
Wi' what a waefu' phiz he twinn'd his clink . . . Narrow's the saul wha winna twin his gear.

4. With o, out o: to take (something) from (a person), to deprive of, separate from; to get (something) out of (someone) by persistent asking or guile (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Now only liter.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 13:
Gart [Samson] tell where lay his Strength, O' which she twin'd him at the Length.
Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caled. (Thomson) II. 110:
For a' the live-long Winter's Night. I lie twin'd of my Marrow.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 211:
A challenge shou'd Twin ye o' Highland tongue an' Highland blude.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Scotch Drink xv.:
Wae worth that Brandy, burnan trash! Twins monie a poor, doylt, druken hash O' half his days.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 22:
For us to raise a din or strife Might twin him o' his precious life.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 58:
Robust he was an' resolute, An' had twin'd mony o' their purse.
s.Sc. 1859 Bards of Border (Watson) 105:
She had twined the dominie o' the ket On whilk he had thrie times dyned.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 88:
Ye callants, what avails the strife That twyns ye o' your prime?
ne.Sc. 1940 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 140:
What bang wis yon that rived ma lugs, An' twined me o' ma dozin'?

5. To steal, to take forcibly (Ork. 1973). Vbl.n. twinin, stealing (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

6. intr., used absol. To part company, go one's separate way (Sh. 1973). Now chiefly liter.Sc. 1790 Sc. Songs I. 77:
We twa will never twin.
Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 113:
There shall be dunts ere we twa twine.
Knr. c.1885 H. Haliburton Horace (1925) 220:
O short the game for wardly fame Till saul an' body twyne.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Little by little they cam to very ill words, and twined in anger.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xvii.:
I doubt you and me maun twine afore we hae gane mony mae miles.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 53:
Fareweel for ever mair, Twinin' and tinin' is sair.

7. With wi: to part with, give up, relinquish (Sc. 1808 Jam.; I.Sc., Cai. 1973).Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 9:
Be the Disgrace of a' my Kin, If e'er I with my Bonnet twin.
Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 559:
Ye'd aiblins twin wi' your best heifer Or a' be done.
Cai. 1956:
He widna twin wi' his sark in rillans. . . . I never twinned wi 'im till I took 'im tae 'e brae.

[O.Sc. tuin, twene, twyne to take one's leave, to part company, a.1400, twynn, to separate, c.1470, 1567, twin with, to part with, 1591, Mid.Eng. twinnen, to sunder, separate, leave. The diphthongal form twine seems to be due to the formal influence of Twine below.]

Twin adj., n., v., adv.

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"Twin adj., n., v., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2024 <>



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