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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHE, pron., adj. Sc. forms and usages:

A. Forms: nom. she; accus. her, hur (Per., Ayr. 1915–23 Wilson), hir (s.Sc. 1856 H. S. Riddell St Matthew i. 6; Uls. 1900 T. Given Poems 147; Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 141); unstressed 'ir (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 187; Uls. 1898 A. McIlroy Meetin'-Hoose Green vi.). See also Scho.

Sc. forms of Eng. her.m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 47:
An aw the weemin in yir companie,
bi yir ain luve are thay made lusum tae:
sae nou I ask thaim o thair courtasie
wha best is able, lat hir honour dae
an dearlie haud yir rule in majestie,
syne bi yir bewtie, that ye shairlie hae.
Slg. 1994 Janet Paisley in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 29:
She sayd she heard vices. No the Joan o Arc kind, bit in hur heid. Ah wance asked hur whit they sayd, these vices, an wha did she think they wur.
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 141:
Aye ye huv, like ah sais, mentioned hur before, he teased, his jaw stretching downwards like Mr Fantastic's.

B. Usages, mainly parallel to those of He, q.v.: I. pron. 1. Her is used freq. for she, when conjoined with another subj., esp. in semi-literate speech, as in Eng., and also pleonastically as in 1931 quot.Ayr. 1781 Session Papers, Speir v. Earl of Eglinton (16 Jan.) 16:
The deponent was told by Mary Reid that the defender and her had a struggle about the said paper.
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie i. v.:
And her, she comes along again and does me in.

2. Used by a husband to refer to his wife, or by a servant to his or her mistress. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1862 J. Brown Horae Subs. (1882) 286:
I found out that he had been married when young, and that “she cc. (he never named her) and their child died on the same day, — the day of its birth.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.:
She was jist up.
m.Sc. 1893 A. S. Swan Homespun v.:
“Maister in, Annie?” “No, he's no hame but she's in.”

3. As in colloq. or dial. Eng., applied to animals or inanimate objects, specif. in Sc. to (1) fish.Ork. 1951 H. Marwick Orkney 262:
Shu's nether a tirso or a dochan; thoo kunno pit doon thee hand an' grip her.

(2) to various inanimate objects, not usu. so denoted in Eng., as a bell, a church, a mill, a clock or watch, etc. (see quots.).Rxb. 1706 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1914) 25:
Threw stones att the bell to the hazard of breaking of the said bell, and the hurting and affrighting of the person that did ring her.
w.Lth. 1752 Caled. Mercury (16 March):
The Wind-Mill at Bridgeness, near Borrowstounness. . . . She is pleasantly situate upon a rising Ground.
Abd. 1776 Abd. Journal (15 April):
Any Person who may have found the said Watch, and will return her to James Argo, Watchmaker, will be handsomely rewarded for the Safety of her.
Bnff. 1794 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1930) 51:
The new kirk at Turriff was built this summer . . . no mason nor day labourer that wrought about her lost an hour's work.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. I. 353:
She was a short little plough.
Ags. 1814 Session Papers, Scott v. Gillies (28 Feb.) 8:
She [a river] has been decreasing for a long time, and now that the season begins to turn, she will increase.
Uls. 1875 A. Knox Hist. Dwn. ii. 49:
She and her in place of it, applied to a clock, or watch, etc. As, she goes well.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 14:
Ollie Meur ran i' a sa'twater pow an' steud i' ner a hoor.
Bwk. 1906 D. McIver Eyemouth 198:
When a net is being prepared for use, it (or “she” as the fisherman calls it) . . .
Sh. 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. II. 137:
Du'll look fur da book, an hae her ready.
s.Sc. 1937 Border Mag. (Sept.) 141:
If the sun shone we said “She's a het yin”.

4. Used in representations of pseudo-Highland speech, gen. for I, less commonly for you, he, it. Her is sim. used both as subject and object and as possess. pron. my, his, its. See also Nain, adj., combs. (1)(ii). This usage, which is purely a liter. convention with no basis in actual Highland speech, is found in O.Sc. as early as 1450 and in E.M.E. purporting to be used sim. by Welsh speakers. See Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XV. 172 sqq.Sc. 1706 Sc. Antiquary XII. 105:
She sall Confin Her nane Speak to te Salt, an te Excise, whilk she far sees will touch Her nane sell Mickle.
Sc. 1757 T. Smollett Reprisal (1777) i. ii.:
The commander has sent for her [i.e. me] to play a spring to the sasenach damsel.
Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 186:
First when her to the Lowlands came . . . Nain sell did wear the philapeg, The plaid prik't on her shouder. Nain sell wad durk him for hur deeds.
Sc. 1800 Monthly Mag. IX. 323:
The Highlanders, like the Welch, are apt to say her for his.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxix.:
She had better speak nae mair about her culter, or, by G —, her will gar her eat her words.
Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage ix.:
Oo', but hur need na be feared, hur will no' be a hair the war o't; for hurs wad na' tak the feesick that the leddie ordered hur yestreen.
Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck III. ii.:
Wha suld it be but Duart? She's unco fashious, and says she's in a hurry.
Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm vi.:
Young Malcolm and old Tuncan hasn't made teir prayers yet', and you know fery well tat she won't sell pefore she's made her prayers.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
It will be made by a bogle and her wanting ta heid upon his body. . . . “She would ken that story afore,” he said. “She was the story of Uistean More M'Gillie Phadrig and the Gavar Vore.”
wm.Sc. 1979 Robin Jenkins Fergus Lamont 209:
'Well,' he murmured, staring into the rain, 'she should be along soon. She knows you're coming. In any case, she'll be for the bread.'
He meant a cardboard box which he had put off with my case. It had the name of a Glasgow baker on it.
Dry and comfortable, I would have found amusing this Gaelic way of muddling the sexes in English. No doubt the carter from East Gerinish was a hulking fellow with hands like shovels. [actually refers to a woman, but indicated perception that Highlanders use 'she' of men]

II. adj. Female, lit. and transf. Comb. she-oak, chestnut wood (Ags. 1970).Nai. 1886 Folk-Lore Journal IV. 10:
Fishermen speak of “he-wood” and “she-wood”, and they say that a boat built of “she-wood” sails faster during night than during day.
Sc. 1950 P. Anson Sc. Fisher folk 39:
“She-oak” or chestnut is lighter than white-oak. Fishermen believed that “she-oak” had powers.

[She is rare in Sc. before the 16th c. and is mainly due to anglicisation in texts. See note to Scho.]

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"She pron., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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