Structure of SND entries

Headword and variant spellings

The entries generally start with the headword, part(s) of speech and the variant spellings in current use, along with their regions if appropriate. This arrangement may vary depending on the complexity of the entry; for example, in the entry for gie (give), there are separate sections for forms of the verb that are particularly Scots, and for Scots usages.


For headwords and variants in current use, a pronunciation guide is given in square brackets, e.g. [Sc. ˈglekɪt, Per. ˈgləik-] where the regional abbreviation is followed by the appropriate pronunciation in phonetic script.


Each separate sense is listed in a new paragraph, with the most common meaning listed first.


The illustrative quotations generally appear in ascending date order within each sense, except in the early part of the dictionary (A-D) where they were arranged according to region.


Lists of compounds (headed ‘Combs’ for ‘combining forms’) are numbered in brackets, e.g. (1), (2) and so on, and their illustrative quotations are given at the end of the list, showing the number of the compound that they illustrate.


There may also be a separate list of phrases, illustrated by quotations in the same way as the compounds.


Finally, the origin of the word, if known, is given at the end of the entry, in square brackets.