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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WAN, n.2 A general and imprecisely defined term for a locality, an area, a region. Freq. suffixed to a n. and giving the sense ‘the direction of — '; also used adv. without prep. = in the direction of, -wards (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Combs. doonwan, see Doon, adv.1, III. 42.; east-wan, north-wan (Fif. 1957).n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
With implies that the word, to which it is joined, expresses the place of one's destination; Wan does not convey this idea. With is not arbitrarily affixed to words; Wan is, “He was gäin to Aberdeenwan;” He was on the road to Aberdeen.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
Some hyne doon as far's we cud see, comin' fae the Ba'dyfash wan.
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. ii.:
He's maybe heard some tidings aboot her, him bein' awa tae that wan the day.
Abd. 1925 Greig & Keith Last Leaves 157:
Your gloves shall be the lockerin clover, That grows in yonder wan.

[Prob. to be associated with Wane, a dwelling-place, q.v., which in its s.Eng. variant wone developed the sense of territory, domain. Cf. also Wan, n.3, 3., which has the same ultimate orig. Cf. Norw. dial. von, expectation, a place where one may expect to find something, a hunting-ground.]

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"Wan n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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