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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

YIN, pron., adj.1 Also yane (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 92; wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 441; Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 184), yein, yune. Sc. forms (chiefly em.Sc. (b), wm., sm. and s.Sc.) of Eng. one. See P.L.D. §§ 28.1., 84, 94, Y, letter, 2.(2) and Ane, Een, pron. [jɪn]

I. pron., also subst. 1. As a numeral: one. Hence yinsome, adj., single, consisting of one only (Slk. 1964 Stat. Acc.3 287). See -Some, suff. Phr. yin end's errand, formed by popular etym. from Aince-errand, q.v.Sc. 1797 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 534:
Nae yin o' a hunder can be understood by the fowk wha speak it.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds xxxix.:
I never had ony sweethearts in my life — deil a yane.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 278:
When they used the hand-reel, they put the thread over one end and then over the other end, saying — Ye're yin, an' ye're no yin, an' ye're yin a' oot.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 15:
“Hae ye ony freens in Glesco,” sez he. “Na, no' yin,” sez I.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 333:
It's every man's interest to look to number yin first.
wm.Sc. 1906 H. Foulis Vital Spark iv.:
Yin, twa, three, fower, and fower's eight, and twa's ten.
Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 30:
Cobbler and gravedigger in yin.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 19:
"You mind Faither aye wanted to big a hoose there. ... Weel I've the same notion noo mysel' to put yin up - no' jist a single room like Burnside," he said contemptuously, "but a kitchen wi' a ben-spence and a place for the coo."
Ayr. 1989:
Ayrshire folk use YIN for 'one', but with influx of Glasgow folk they also use WAN.

2. Pronominally: a certain (person, thing, etc.); reciprocally in yin anither. In s.Sc. freq. with indef. art. The Auld Yin, the Devil. See Auld, 3.(2).Sc. 1761 Magopico 12:
It sets you weel indeed, to gee sic treetmen to yin it's better nir the hale crew o' ye.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems 105:
A third yin owns an antique rare, A Soap-brush made o' Mermaid's hair!
wm.Sc. 1834 College Album 135:
It's yune o' thae Glasky college goons.
wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report (2) i 23:
[The witness] teers a month or so to yane and a month to another.
Lnk. 1877 W. M'Hutchison Poems 47:
Yin had nae whaur tae lay His head.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 329:
We fell in wi' yin anither teaching in a Sabbath School.
Kcb. 1902 Crockett Dark o' the Moon xxxiv.:
It wad puzzle the Auld Yin himsel'.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 182:
Here the wee yin bides, gey safe wi' you an' me.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of Fields 28:
For yae fain glower, sic was her power, Bit nae yin daured tae enter.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 4:
Gie's a yin, ir ee? Man, a henna a yin ti gae ee! There was a yin was socht here threh Bosells last nicht.
Gall. 1972 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 353:
There's three bulls in that field and wan's a bad yin!

Phrs. to be in a bad yin, to be in a bad mood or temper (Arg. 1931); to lauch a gude yin, to have a hearty laugh.Rxb. 1925 Kelso Chronicle (27 March) 2:
He wad lauch a gude yin at the denner.

3. In pl. after a pl. accus. or dat. pers. pron., both as subj. and obj.: we (us) men, women, you, those people, etc., gen. used by way of distinction or contrast with others. Colloq. or dial. in Eng. and Ir.Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw iii.:
Hey, you yins, let me ower.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 5:
Yow yins 'll finnd that gey ill ti baet.
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth i. vi.:
Us yins . . . will play verses yous yins at football if yous yins will bye the ball.
wm.Sc. 1974:
I'm no for thir. I'll tak them yins.

4. As the indef. pron.: one, someone, Fr. on, Ger. man. This usage is ad. Eng. or Ir., the gen. Sc. idiom in this case being a body (see Body).Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 110:
But yin has to consider weys and means wi' a young faim'ly and a sma' wage.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 1:
Yin canna thow the cockles o' yin's hert.
Rxb. 1965 Hawick Express (21 July) 4:
It's that muckle easier teh picter the scenes in yin's meind.

II. adj. 1. Denoting the numeral one.s.Sc. 1899 Border Mag. (Jan.) 4:
Irr ee gaun wi' the yin o' clock express on Saturday?

2. Used attrib.: one, a certain, one as opposed to another of two or more (m. and s.Sc. 1974). This usage has been also adopted from Eng. or Ir., in place of the reg. Sc. forms Ae, Yae, adj., q.v. See also Ane, adj., 2.Uls. 1870 R. S. Brooke Parson Annaly 49:
Wull ye not dra' to the yane side or the ither?
Lth. 1889 A. S. Swan St Veda's xv.:
Ye'll gang yin road, an' I'll gang anither.
Rxb. 1912 Kelso Chronicle (25 Nov.):
A' they dae is tae read us yin sermon a week.
Gsw. 1931 H. S. Robertson Curdies 53:
Fur or no' fur, I can tell ye yin thing; it's no' paid.
Wgt. 1939 J. McNeillie Wigtown Ploughman viii.:
The door blew doon yin nicht in the wun.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
Aboot the sairvant, I neither care nor ken
But Tartuffe his maister is a Man Among Men
His truth's sairness and shairness is mair than you can thole,
Yet his yin thocht is your immortal soul.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 15:
"Here's yer baa, Edwin."
Jist as yin day he'd be laith fu
At Glesca's mauk baneyerd
Or Warsaw's weir teirin vennels.

[O.Sc. yane, one, 1686.]

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"Yin pron., adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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