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The Proverbs of Scotland
by Alexander Hislop
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Hout your dogs and bark yoursel.

"A sharp return to those that say 'Hout' to us, which is a word of contempt; in Latin, apage!"—Kelly.

Humble worth and honest pride gar presumption stand aside.

Hunger is hard in a hale maw.

Or, to a healthy stomach.

Hunger me, and I'll harry thee.

"If servants get not their meat honestly and decently, they will neglect their master's business, or embezzle his goods."—Kelly.

Hunger never fails of a gude cook.

Hunger's gude kitchen.

"Hunger is the best sauce."—English.

Hunger's gude kitchen to a cauld potato, but a wet divot to the lowe o' love.

That is, hunger is good sauce for common meat, but a wet turf (vulgariter, "a damper") to love.

Hunger will break through stane wa's.

The English add to this, "or anything except a Suffolk cheese."

Hungry dogs are blythe o' bursten puddins.

"To him who is hungry any bread seems good, or none comes amiss."—Ray.

Hungry folk are soon angry.

Hungry stewards wear mony shoon.



I ance gied a dog his hansel, an' he was hanged ere night.

Used as a reason for not giving a gratuity, intimating that it would harm rather than benefit a person.

I bake nae bread by your shins.

Or, I am not indebted to you for any obligation.

I brought him aff the moor for God's sake, and he begins to bite the bairns.

"Spoken when they whom we have supported make unhandsome and unthankful returns."—Kelly.

I canna afford ye baith tale and lugs.

Spoken to a person who is inattentive to what has been said to him, and who asks to have it repeated.

I canna baith spin an' rin.

I canna sell the cow an' sup the milk.

"He cannot eat his cake and have it."—English.

I can scarce believe ye, ye speak so fair.

I can see as far into a millstane as he that pick'd it.

I carena whether the fire gae about the roast, or the roast gae about the fire, if the meat be ready.

That is, no matter what means are employed to accomplish an end, so that it be done.

I carena whether the tod worry the goose, or the goose worry the tod.

I could hae done that mysel, but no sae weel.

I deny that wi' baith hands and a' my teeth.

Expressive of the most emphatic denial.

Idle dogs worry sheep.

Idle young, needy auld.

If a' be weel I'll be wyteless.

"Spoken with a suspicion that all will not be well, and if so, I have no hand in it."—Kelly.

If a' bowls row right.

"Ye are right, Mr Owen—ye are right; ye speak weel and wisely; and I trust bowls will row right, though they are awee ajee e'enow."—Rob Roy.

If ae sheep loup the dyke, a' the rest will follow.

If a gude man thrive, a' thrives wi' him.

If a lee could hae chokit you, ye wad hae been dead langsyne.

An indirect or jocular manner of intimating to a person that he is guilty of falsehood.

If a man's gaun down the brae ilka ane gies him a jundie.

"If" an' "an" spoil mony a gude charter.

If ane winna, anither will; sae are maidens married.

If ane winna, anither will—the morn's the market day.

If a' thing's true, that's nae lee.

A saying expressive of unbelief of some improbable story.

If a' things were to be done twice, ilka ane wad be wise.

If a' your hums and haws were hams and haggises, the parish needna fear a dearth.

"To 'Hum and Haw,' to dally or trifle with one about any business by indefinite and unintelligible language."—Jamieson.

If better were within better wad come out.

If Candlemas day be dry and fair, the half o' winter's to come and mair; if Candlemas day be wet and foul, the half o' winter's gane at Yule.

If e'er you mak a lucky puddin' I'll eat the prick.

"That is, I am much mistaken if ever you do good."—Kelly.

If grass does grow in Janiveer, 'twill be the worse for't a' the year.

If he be na a souter, he's a gude shoe clouter.

If he cannot make new shoes well, he is very good at repairing old ones.

If he binds his pock she'll sit down on't.

"Spoken when a niggardly man is married on a more niggardly woman."—Kelly.

If he gies a duck he expects a goose.

If I canna do't by might I can do't wi' slight.

If I canna keep my tongue I can keep my siller.

If I canna kep geese I can kep gaislins.

"If I cannot work my revenge upon the principal author of my injury, I will upon his children, relations, or friends."—Kelly.

If I come I maun bring my stool wi' me.

For, as I am not properly invited, there will be no seat allotted to me.

If "ifs" an' "ans" were kettles an' pans there would be nae use for tinklers.

"Were it not for 'if' and 'but,' we should all be rich for ever."—French.

If I had a dog as daft, I wad shoot him.

Signifying that mischievous or silly doings should be put a stop to.

If I had you at Maggy Mill's house, I would get word about wi' ye.

Used when, in argument or dispute, a man has not a proper opportunity to defend himself.

If I hae done amiss, I'll mak amends.

If I live anither year, I'll ca' this fern-year.

If I'm no kind I'm no cumbersome.

If it be a faut it's nae ferlie.

Or, it is no wonder, as any other result should not have been expected.

If it be ill it's as ill rused.

"Spoken of those who discommend what we have."—Kelly.

If it can be nae better, it's weel it's nae waur.

If it sair me to wear, it may sair you to look at.

A pertinent reply to those who find fault with a person's dress.

If it werena for hope the heart would break.

If it werena for the belly the back wad wear gowd.

If it winna be a gude shoe we'll mak a bauchel o't.

If it winna sell it winna sour.

Meaning that an article is good, and will not spoil by keeping.

If marriages are made in heaven, you twa hae few friends there.

If ony body speir at ye, say ye dinna ken.

Meaning that a person is unwilling to give another some information.

"'Madge,' said Ratcliffe, 'have ye ony joes now?' 'An ony body ask ye, say ye dinna ken. Set him to be speaking of my joes, auld Daddie Ratton!'"—Heart of Midlothian.

If she was my wife I would mak a queen o' her.

If strokes be gude to gie they'll be gude to tak.

If that God gie the deil daurna reive.

If the auld wife hadna been in the oven hersel, she ne'er wad hae thought o' looking for her dochter there.

That is, if a person had not been guilty of a particular crime himself, he would never have suspected another of it. Kelly inserts this proverb, but says it is English; and Henderson makes it the subject of an illustration.

If the badger leave his hole the tod will creep in.

If the deil be laird, ye'll be tenant.

If the deil find ye idle, he'll set ye to wark.

For "An idle brain is the devil's workshop."—English.

If the deil were dead, folk would do little for God's sake.

If the laird slight the leddie his menyie will be ready.

Menyie—the servants or followers will be ready to follow the example.

If the lift fa' the laverocks will be smoored.

Literally, if the sky falls the larks will be smothered. Spoken when people are anticipating some very improbable occurrence.

If the mare has a bald face the filly will hae a blaze.

Equivalent to saying, that if the mother is of one complexion the child will be the opposite.

If this be a feast, I hae been at mony.

The inference is, that he is not pleased with the treatment he is receiving.

If we canna preach in the kirk, we can sing mass in the quire.

If we haena the warld's wealth, we hae the warld's ease.

If wishes were horses beggars wad ride, and a' the warld be drowned in pride.

If you be angry, claw your wame, an' cool i' the skin ye het in.

"Spoken to them whose anger we value not."—Kelly.

If you be angry, sit laigh and mease you.

If ye be na gall'd ye needna fling.

Synonymous with the English saying, "If the cap fits, wear it."

If ye dinna haud him he'll do't a'.

Spoken of lazy people, meaning, that if not restrained they will do too much. Applied tauntingly of course.

If ye dinna like what I gie ye, tak what ye brought wi' ye.

If ye dinna see the bottom, dinna wade.

If you do not see your way clearly through an undertaking, do not venture on it at all.

If ye do nae ill, dinna be ill like: if ye steal na my kail, breakna my dike.

"He that would no evil do, must do nought that's like thereto."—English.

If ye gang a year wi' a cripple, ye'll limp at the end o't.

For "Evil communications corrupt good manners."

If ye had as little money as ye hae manners, ye would be the poorest man o' a' your kin.

If ye'll blaw your ain whistle, ye maun uphaud the win'.

If you had been anither, I would hae denied you the first word.

Meaning that you are granted more indulgence than another would be if similarly situated.

If ye had stuck a knife in my heart it wadna hae bled.

He was so much surprised by some information.

If ye hae little gear ye hae less care.

If ye're nae better, ye're snoder like, quo' the wife, when she cut off the doggie's lugs.

If you laugh at your ain sport, the company will laugh at you.

If you lo'e me, let it kythe.

That is, if you love me let it appear.

If ye like the nut, crack it.

If ye sell your purse to your wife, gie her your breeks to the bargain.

"For if your wife command your purse, she will certainly have the mastery in everything else."—Kelly.

If you spend muckle, put mair to the fore.

If you want your business weel done, do't yoursel.

If you win at that you'll lose at naething.

"Spoken to them that are about an ill thing, which will undoubtedly prove to their damage."—Kelly.

"If you winna come you'll bide," quo' Rory to his bride.

It was a matter of perfect indifference whether Rory got her or not.

If you would be a merchant fine, beware o' auld horses, herring, and wine.

Because, proverbially speaking, the first will die, the second stink, and the third sour.

I gaed through the bear-land wi' him.

"This is a phrase used by a person who has gone through all the particulars of a quarrel with another, or told him all the grounds of umbrage at his conduct."—Jamieson.

I gied his birn a hitch.

Or, assisted him in a strait.

"Though he bans me, I wish him well, We'll maybe meet again; I'll gie his birn a hitch, an' help To ease him o' his pain."—Poems in the Buchan Dialect.

I had but little butter, an' that I coost on the coals.

Said by a person who has been reduced either in circumstances, or in the possession of a particular article, signifying that even the little that was left had been allowed either by carelessness or accident to slip through his fingers.

I had nae mind that I was married, my bridal was sae feckless.

Meaning that a circumstance was of so little importance that no notice was taken of it.

I hae a gude bow, but it's i' the castle.

Satirically remarked of those who pretend that they could do great things if they had some article by them, but which they know very well is not near at hand.

I hae a Scotch tongue in my head—if they speak I'se answer.

I hae baith my meat and my mense.

I hae gi'en a stick to break my ain head.

Engaged in an undertaking which will be to my own disadvantage.

I hae gotten an ill kame for my ain hair.

I hae had better kail in my cog, and ne'er gae them a keytch.

"The return of a haughty maid to them that tell her of an unworthy suitor. It alludes to an art among the Scottish reapers, who, if their broth be too hot, can throw them up into the air, as they turn pancakes, without losing one drop of them."—Kelly.

I hae ither fish to fry.

I hae ither tow on my rock.

That is, I have other work to do.

I hae mair dogs than I hae banes for.

I hae mair to do than a dish to wash.

That is, I have work of importance to do.

I hae muckle to do, and few to do for me.

I hae my back to the wa': if I dinna slip I'll no fa'.

A saying expressive of a feeling of confidence or security.

I hae seen as fu' a haggis toom'd on the midden.

Or as good an article thrown away. Applied disparagingly to any article in question.

I hae seen mair snaw on ae dike, than now on seven.

I hae seen mair than I hae eaten, else ye wadna be here.

A sharp retort to those who doubt a statement of which the narrator has had ocular demonstration.

I hae taen the sheaf frae the mare.

I hae the Bible, an' there's no a better book in a' your aught.

I hae tint the staff I herded wi'.

I have lost the support I depended upon.

I hae twa holes in my head, an' as mony windows.

"I hate 'bout gates," quo' the wife when she haurl'd her man through the ingle.

Meaning that she approves of straightforward conduct. Kelly says that the second part is "added only to make it comical."

I ken a spune frae a stot's horn.

"I had the honour to visit his late gracious Majesty, at his palace of Holyrood, where, I can assure you, I was as civilly entreated as the first in the land, not excluding the Lord Provost of Glasgow, tho' he and his tounfolk tried to put themselves desperately far forrit; but the king saw thro' them brawly, and kent a spoon frae a stot's horn as well as the maist of his liege subjects."—Motherwell.

I ken by my cog how the cow's milk'd.

That is, I know by the appearance of a thing when it is properly done.

I ken by your half-tale what your hale tale means.

Having told me so much I can guess the rest. Applied to those who come to borrow money.

I ken him as weel as if I had gane through him wi' a lighted candle.

I ken how the warld wags: he's honour'd maist has moniest bags.

I ken your meaning by your mumping.

Ilka bean has its black.

"Ye hae had your ain time o't, Mr Syddall; but ilka bean has its black, and ilka path has its puddle; and it will just set you henceforth to sit at the board end, as weel as it did Andrew langsyne."—Rob Roy.

Ilka bird maun hatch her ain egg.

Ilka blade o' grass keps it's ain drap o' dew.

Ilka corn has its shool.

Ilka dog has its day.

"'You have made a most excellent and useful purchase, Cuddie. But what is that portmanteau?' 'The pockmantle?' answered Cuddie: 'It was Lord Evandale's yesterday, and it's yours the day. I fand it ahint the bush o' broom yonder. Ilka dog has its day—ye ken what the auld sang says,

"'"Take turn about, mither," quo' Tam o' the Linn.'"—Old Mortality.

Ilka land has its ain land-law.

"Jeannie Deans, writing from London to Reuben Butler, says,—'Ye will think I am turned waster, for I wear clean hose and shoon every day; but it's the fashion here for decent bodies, and ilka land has its ain land-law.'"—Heart of Midlothian.

Ilka land has its ain leid.

"Leid," language.—Jamieson.

Ilka man as he likes—I'm for the cook.

Ilka man buckles his belt his ain gate.

"'Oh but, sir, what seems reasonable to your honour will certainly be the same to them,' answered Jeanie. 'I do not know that,' replied the Duke; 'ilka man buckles his belt his ain gate—you know our old Scots proverb?'"—Heart of Midlothian.

Ill bairns are aye best heard at hame.

I'll big nae sandy mills wi' you.

Or I will not join with you in any project.

Ill comes upon waur's back.

Parallel to the saying, "Misfortunes never come single." In this case it is more forcibly expressed, and means literally, a great misfortune is followed by a greater one.

Ill counsel will gar a man stick his ain mare.

I'll do as the man did when he sell't his land.

"That is, I will not do it again, for selling of an estate is a fault that few are twice guilty of."—Kelly.

Ill doers are aye ill dreaders.

Ill flesh ne'er made gude broo.

Bad meat never made good soup; or, a bad man cannot be expected to do a good act.

I'll gar him draw his belt to his ribs.

Meaning that a person will be compelled to defend himself.

I'll gar his ain garters bind his ain hose.

"That is, what expense his business requires I will take it out of his own money."—Kelly.

I'll gar ye blairt wi' baith your een.

I'll gar ye claw where its no yeuky.

"Ye bardy loon, gae but the house and mind your wark. Ye thought and they thought; but if it wasna mair for ae thing than anither, I hae a thought that wad gar baith you and them claw where it's no yeuky."—Sir Andrew Wylie.

I'll gar you sing Port-youl.

That is, cry, weep:—

"I'll make them know they have no right to rule, And cause them shortly all sing up Port-yeull." —Hamilton's Wallace.

I'll get a better fore-speaker than you for nought.

Ill getting het water frae 'neath cauld ice.

I'll gie ye a bane to pike that will haud your teeth gaun.

I will give you work to do which will keep you busy for a time.

I'll gie ye a sark fu' o' sair banes.

A shirtful of sore bones: vulgariter, a thrashing.

I'll gie ye let-a-bee for let-a-bee, like the bairns o' Kelty.

That is, he will give as good as he gets. "Let-a-bee for let-a-bee," generally speaking, is expressive of mutual forbearance; but the "bairns o' Kelty" reversed the usual meaning.

Ill got gear ne'er prospered.

I'll haud the grip I've got.

"'When ye hae gotten the better o' the sore stroke o' the sudden removal of the golden candlestick o' his life from among us, ye'll do everything in a rational and just manner.'

"''Deed, I'll do nae sic things, mother,' was the reply; 'I'm mindit to haud the grip I hae gotten.'"—The Entail.

Ill hearing maks wrang rehearsing.

Ill herds mak fat tods.

I'll keep my mind to mysel, and tell my tale to the wind.

Ill laying up maks mony thieves.

Answered by people who are blamed for breach of confidence.

I'll learn you to lick, for suppin's dear.

Ill-less, gude-less, like the priests' holy water.

I'll mak a shift, as Macwhid did wi' the preachin'.

"Macwhid was a knowing countryman, and a great stickler for the king and the church. At the Restoration, clergymen being scarce, he was asked if he thought he could preach; he answered that he could make a shift; upon which he was ordained, and got a living."—Kelly.

I'll mak the mantle meet for the man.

"That is, I'll pay you according as you serve me."—Kelly.

I'll neither mak or mar, as the young cock said when he saw the auld cock's neck thrawn.

I'll ne'er brew drink to treat drinkers.

Applied to those who are slow to partake of anything which is offered to them, and signifying that although the article is good, still, if unwilling, they will not be "treated," i.e., urged or forced to take it.

I'll ne'er buy a blind bargain, or a pig in a pock.

I'll ne'er dirty the bannet I'm gaun to put on.

I'll ne'er keep a cow when I can get milk sae cheap.

I'll ne'er keep a dog and bark mysel.

To "keep a dog," &c., is to keep servants and do their work for them.

I'll ne'er lout sae laigh an' lift sae little.

That is, I will never put myself to so much trouble for such a small remuneration.

I'll ne'er put the rogue aboon the gentleman.

I'll no slip my dog afore the game's afoot.

I'll no tell a lee for scant o' news.

Ill payers are aye gude cravers.

I'll pay you, and put naething in your pouch.

Intimating that a person will give another a flogging.

I'll put daur ahint the door, and do't.

Or carry my threats into execution. Used when in a dispute one person "daurs" another to do such a thing.

I'll rather strive wi' the lang rigg than the ill neighbour.

Meaning that a person would rather conduct a large business himself than be troubled with a disagreeable partner.

Ill's the gout, an' waurs the gravel, but want o' wit maks mony a travel.

I'll say naething, but I'll yerk at the thinking.

He will keep his sorrows to himself, but the recollection of them will make him "yerk," i.e., writhe, or start with pain—applied in a mental sense.

I'll see the stars gang withershins first.

"Bid Iceshogels hammer red gauds on the studdy, And fair simmer mornings nae mair appear ruddy: Leave thee, leave thee, I'll never leave thee; The starns shall gang withershins ere I deceive thee." —Tea-Table Miscellany.

I'll sell my lad, quo' Livistone; I'll buy't, quo' Balmaghie.

"If a man have a good pennyworth to sell, he will still find a buyer."—Kelly.

I'll serve ye when ye hae least to do.

I'll take nae mair o' your counsel than I think fit.

I'll tak the best first, as the priest did o' the plooms.

I'll tell the bourd, but no the body.

That is, I will tell the jest or story, but cannot mention the name of the person to whom it refers.

Ill to tak and eith to tire.

Ill weeds wax weel.

A saying common to all nations. "Ill weeds grow apace."

Ill will ne'er spak weel.

Ill won gear winna enrich the third heir.

Ill won, ill wair'd.

Ill workers are aye gude onlookers.

I'm as auld as your auncient.

I maun do as the beggars do; when my wame's fu', gang awa.

Spoken jocularly when a person who has been partaking of a meal with another rises to go away.

"I'm but beginning yet," quo' the wife when she run wud.

I'm flytin' free wi' you.

That is, on terms of familiarity with you.

I'm forejidged, forefoughten, and forejeskit.

An alliterative saying of those who are very much fatigued.

I might bring a better speaker frae hame than you.

I'm neither sma' drink thirsty, nor grey bread hungry.

Spoken when a person is not so freely entertained as he would like to be. Applied generally by those who do not get what they expect, and are offended thereat.

I'm no every man's dog that whistles on me.

I'm no obliged to simmer and winter it to you.

I'm no sae blind as I'm blear-e'ed.

That is, I am not so blind as unwilling to see.

I'm no sae scant o' clean pipes as to blaw wi' a brunt cutty.

I'm no that fu', but I'm gayly yet.

I am not fully satisfied, though I am nearly so.

I'm ower auld a dog to learn new tricks.

I'm speaking o' hay and you o' horse corn.

That is, I am talking on one subject, while you are talking on another.

In a frost a nail is worth the horse.

Because it may save the horse from falling, and perhaps losing its life. A mere trifle may, at an opportune moment, be of very great service.

In a thousand pounds o' law there's no an ounce o' love.

Industry maks a braw man and breaks ill fortune.

I ne'er lo'ed meat that craw'd in my crappie.

Metaphorically, I do not like to interfere with matters which may injure me.

I ne'er lo'ed water in my shoon, and my wame's made o' better leather.

Spoken when a drink of water is offered to a person who is not so fond of it as he is of something stronger.

I ne'er sat on your coat-tail.

That is, I never interfered with or impeded your progress in any way.

In ower muckle clavering truth is tint.

Anglice, In too much gossiping truth is lost.

It comes to the hand like the bowl o' a pintstoup.

"It's been the gipsies that took your pockmanky, when they fand the chaise stickin' in the snaw; they wadna pass the like o' that: it wad just come to their hand like the bowl o' a pintstoup."—Guy Mannering.

I prick'd nae louse since I darned your hose, and then I might hae prick'd a thousand.

Kelly attaches a meaningless remark to this proverb—"An answer of a tailor to him that calls him pricklouse." Is it not meant as a reply of one who may have been under the evil influence of another, and who, having shaken himself free of it, can say honestly that since he has done so he has been perfectly free, however much he may have been under it before?

It canna be worse that's no worth a tinkler's curse.

It doesna set a sow to wear a saddle.

Or vulgar people to wear fine dress.

It gangs as muckle into my heart as my heel.

Ither folk are weel faur'd, but ye're no sae vera.

To be "weel faur'd" is to be good-looking; and the proverb is a jocular allusion to the fact that the person addressed is not an Apollo.

I think mair o' the sight than the ferlie.

I think mair o' your kindness than it's a' worth.

I think you hae taen the grumple-face.

Applied to persons who make a show of displeasure at anything which may be said or done to them.

It keeps his nose at the grundstane.

It maun e'en be ower shoon ower boots wi' me now.

That is, since I have gone so far in the matter, I must go through with it. "In for a penny in for a pound."—English.

It may be that swine may flee, but it's no an ilka day's bird.

An emphatic expression of incredulity at an extraordinary, or what may be deemed improbable, statement.

It may be true what some men say; it maun be true what a' men say.

It may come in an hour what winna gang in seven years.

It's a bare moor that ye gang through an' no get a heather cow.

A "heather cow," a twig or tuft of heath. Equivalent to the English saying, "It is a long lane that has no turning."

It's a bauch brewing that's no gude in the newing.

"It's a bauld moon," quo' Bennygask—"Anither pint," quo' Lesley.

This saying has nothing to recommend it but its antiquity. It expresses the reluctance of a convivial party to break up.

"'Hout, awa, Inverashalloch,' said Galbraith;—'Mind the auld saw, man—It's a bauld moon, quo' Bennygask—Anither pint, quo' Lesley;—we'll no start for anither chappin.'"—Rob Roy.

It's a cauld stamach that naething hets on.

It's dry tale that disna end in a drink.

It's a far cry to Lochow.

That any speaking or application is useless. The person addressed either will not or cannot hear.

It's a friend that ruses you.

It's a gude goose that draps aye.

It's a gude maut that comes wi' will.

It's a gude poor man's blade; it will bend ere it break.

"Spoken of an ill-tempered knife, that will stand as it is bent, or the like."—Kelly.

It's a gude tongue that says nae ill, but a better heart that thinks nane.

It's a gude tree that has neither knap nor gaw.

That is, a good thing that is without fault.

It's a gude enough warld if it haud.

A jocular reply to those who complain that this world is a "weary" one.

It's a gude warld, but it's ill divided.

"It's hardly in a body's pow'r To keep at times frae being sour, To see how things are shar'd,— How best o' chiels are whiles in want, While coofs on countless thousands rant, And kenna how to wair't."—Burns.

It's a gude warld, but they're ill that are in't.

It's a gude wood that hath ne'er a withered branch in it.

It's a lamb at the up-takin', but an auld sheep or ye get it aff.

In allusion to the unconscious contraction of bad habits.

It's an ill bargain where nane wins.

It's an ill bird that files its ain nest.

"Where's the use o' vilifying ane's country, and bringing a discredit on ane's kin, before Southrens and strangers? It's an ill bird that files its ain nest."—Rob Roy.

It's an ill cause that the lawyer thinks shame o'.

It's an ill fight where he that wins has the warst o't.

It's an ill kitchen that keeps the bread awa.

Or an ill master that starves his servants.

It's an ill pack that's no worth the custom.

It's an ill thow that comes frae the north.

It's an ill turn that patience winna owercome.

It's an ill wind that blaws naebody gude.

It's a' outs an' ins, like Willie Wood's wife's wame.

It's a pity fair weather should e'er do harm.

It's a poor tongue that canna tell its ain name.

"'Nane o' your deil's play-books for me,' said Lucky Dods; 'it's an ill world since sic prick-my-dainty doings came into fashion. It's a poor tongue that canna tell its ain name, and I'll hae nane o' your scarts upon pasteboard.'"—St Ronan's Well.

It's a poor world that winna gie a bit and a brat.

It's a rare thing for siller to lack a maister.

It's a sair dung bairn that mayna greet.

It's a sair field where a's dung down.

It's a sair time when the mouse looks out o' the meal barrel wi' a tear in its ee.

It's a sairy collop that's ta'en aff a chicken.

It's a sairy flock where the ewie bears the bell.

That is, a "sairy," uncomfortable, or poor house where the wife commands, "though," as Kelly slily remarks, "there are some such houses in the world."

It's a sairy mouse that has but ae hole.

It's a shame to eat the cow an' worry on the tail.

To "eat the cow," &c., is to overlook very great faults, and make a severe example of a trifling one.

It's a silly hen that canna scrape for ae bird.

It's a sin to lee on the deil.

It's a sma' sheil that gies nae shelter.

It's as plain as a pike staff.

"Na, na, gudeman, ye needna be sae mim; every body kens, and I ken too, that ye're ettling at the magistracy. It's as plain as a pike staff, gudeman, and I'll no let ye rest if ye dinna mak me a bailie's wife or a' be done."—The Provost.

It's a sooth dream that's seen waking.

It's a sour reek when the gudewife dings the gudeman.

"A man in my country coming out of his house with tears on his cheeks, was asked the occasion; he said, 'There was a sour reek in the house;' but, upon further inquiry, it was found that his wife had beaten him."—Kelly.

It's a staunch house that there's never a drap in.

It's as true as Biglam's cat crew, and the cock rock'd the cradle.

It's a thrawn-fac'd wean that's gotten against the father's will.

It's a' tint that's done to auld folk an' bairns.

"It's aye gude to be ceevil," quo' the auld wife when she beckit to the deevil.

A dying Spaniard was being exhorted by his confessor, who told him that the wicked were sent to hell and subjected to all manner of torments by the devil. "I hope," said the Spaniard, "my lord the devil is not so cruel." His confessor reproved the levity of the wish. "Excuse me," said the Don, "I know not into whose hands I may fall; and if I happen to fall into his, I hope he will use me the better for giving him good words."

It's best travelling wi' a horse in your hand.

Simply, that it is better to travel on horseback than on foot.

It's better sheltering under an auld hedge than under a new planted wood.

It's better to drag soon than draw late.

"Signifying that it is preferable to use strong measures in proper season, than such as are more feeble when it is too late."—Jamieson.

It's better to sup wi' a cutty than want a spoon.

It's but a year sooner to the begging.

"Facetiously spoken when we design to be at a little more expense than we thought."—Kelly.

It's but kindly that the pock savour of the herring.

Literally, it is but natural that the bag should bear traces of what it has contained.

It's by the mouth o' the cow that the milk comes.

According to the meat given, or means employed, is the quality of milk, or the result obtained.

It's clean about the wren's door when there's nought within.

It's dear coft honey that's licked aff a thorn.

It's drink will you, but no drink shall you.

That is, a person's hospitality is not very warm. For courtesy's sake he offers refreshments, but does not press them.

It's easier to big lums than keep them reeking.

It's easier to forgie than to forget.

It serves naething to strive wi' cripples.

"'Aweel, aweel,' said Hobbie, mounting his horse, 'it serves naething to strive wi' cripples,—they are aye cankered; but I'll just tell you ae thing, neighbour, that if things be otherwise than weel wi' Grace Armstrong, I'se gie you a scouther if there be a tar barrel in the five parishes.'"—The Black Dwarf.

It sets a haggis to be roasted.

It sets you weel to gab wi' your bannet on.

It's far to seek an' ill to find.

It's folly to live poor to dee rich.

It's gane the thing I lo'ed you for.

It's God that feeds the craws, that neither till, harrow, nor saw.

It's growing to the grund, like a stirk's tail.

Meaning that a person, or project, is not progressing favourably.

It's gude baking beside the meal.

It's gude fighting under a buckler.

It's gude fishing in drumly waters.

It's gude fish when it's gripp'd.

It's gude game that fills the wame.

It's gude gear that pleases the merchant.

It's gude sleeping in a hale skin.

It's gude to begin weel, but better to end weel.

It's gude to be in your time; ye kenna how lang it may last.

"It's gude to be merry and wise," quo' the miller when he mouter'd twice.

The miller must have been more rogue than fool when he thus took advantage of his customers, for to "mouter," as he did, is to take the fees twice over.

It's gude to be out o' harm's gate.

It's gude to be sib to siller.

To be "sib to siller," is to be related to rich persons.

It's gude to dread the warst, the best will be the welcomer.

"Expect the worst, hope for the best, and bear whatever happens."—English.

It's gude to hae friends baith in heaven and in hell.

It's gude to hae your cog out when it rains kail.

That is, it is good to take advantage of any opportunities of benefit or advancement which may come in our way: to "make hay while the sun shines."

It's gude to nip the briar in the bud.

It's hard baith to hae and want.

It's hard for a greedy ee to hae a leal heart.

Or for a covetous person to be honest.

It's hard for an auld mare to leave aff flinging.

It's hard to be poor and leal.

It's hard to keep flax frae the lowe.

It's hard to sit in Rome and strive wi' the pope.

It's ill ale that's sour when it's new.

It's ill baith to pay and to pray.

It's ill bringing but what's no ben.

The meaning of this proverb is, that it is ill to produce what we are not possessed of.

"'Swith roast a hen, or fry some chickens, And send for ale to Maggy Pickens,'— 'Hout I,' quoth she, 'ye may weel ken, 'Tis ill brought but that's no there ben; When but last owk, nae farder gane, The laird got a' to pay his kain.'"—Allan Ramsay.

It's ill limping before cripples.

It's ill meddling between the bark and the rind.

"It is a troublesome and thankless office to concern ourselves in the jars and outfalls of near relations, as man and wife, parents and children, &c."—Kelly.

It's ill praising green barley.

Because it is hard to tell how it will turn out.

It's ill speaking between a fu' man and a fasting.

"I have been waiting this hour for you, and I have had a snack myself; and, as they used to say in Scotland in my time—I do not ken if the word be used now—there is ill talking between a full body and a fasting."—Heart of Midlothian.

It's ill taking corn frae geese.

It's ill to be ca'd a thief, an' aye found picking.

"It is ill to have a bad name, and to be often found in a suspicious place or posture."—Kelly.

It's ill to mak an unlawful oath, but waur to keep it.

It's ill to put a blythe face on a black heart.

It's ill to quarrel wi' a misrid warld.

It's ill to say it's wrang when my lord says it's right.

It is ill or dangerous to speak against those who are in authority.

It's ill to tak the breeks aff a Hielandman.

Highlanders proper wear none, so it means it is difficult to take from a person that which he does not possess.

It's ill waur'd that wasters want.

It's kittle for the cheeks when the hurlbarrow gaes ower the brig o' the nose.

It's kittle shooting at corbies and clergy.

"As for your priesthood, I shall say but little, Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle; But under favour o' your langer beard, Abuse o' magistrates might weel be spared."—Burns.

It's kittle to wauken sleeping dogs.

It's lang ere ye saddle a foal.

It's lang or four bare legs gather heat in a bed.

Applied to young people who get married before they have all that is necessary for housekeeping.

"It's comfort to hae a frugal woman for a helpmate; but ye ken now-a-days it's no the fashion for bare legs to come thegether. The wife maun hae something to put in the pot as weel as the man."—The Entail.

It's lang or Like-to-dee fills the kirkyaird.

Spoken of those who are always complaining how ill they are, and likely to die; but who, nevertheless, generally contrive to live as long as other people.

It's lang or the deil dees at the dike side.

That is, it will be long ere we hear of the removal or death of a particular person who is a cause of annoyance to us.

It's lang or ye need cry "Schew!" to an egg.

It's lang to Lammas.

"Spoken in jest when we forget to lay down bread at the table, as if we had done it designedly, because it will be long ere new bread come."—Kelly.

It's like Truffy's courtship, short but pithy.

It's little o' God's might that makes a poor man a knight.

It's muckle gars tailors laugh, but souters girn aye.

It's nae laughing to girn in a widdy.

To "girn in a widdy" is to laugh or girn when a halter is round the neck—meaning that it is no joke to be placed in a difficult or dangerous position.

It's nae play when ane laughs and anither greets.

It's nae shift to want.

It's nae sin to tak a gude price, but in gieing ill measure.

It's nae mair ferlie to see a woman greet than to see a goose gang barefit.

"Mattie had ill will to see me set awa on this ride, and grat awee, the silly tawpie; but it's nae mair ferlie to see a woman greet than to see a goose gang barefit."—Rob Roy.

It's nae wonder wasters want and lathrons lag behint.

It's needless pouring water on a drowned mouse.

It's neither a far road nor a foul gate.

It's neither here nor there, nor yet ayont the water.

It's neither rhyme nor reason.

It's no aye gude i' the maw what's sweet i' the mouth.

It's no easy to straucht in the oak the crook that grew in the sapling.

It's no for nought that the gled whistles.

"'I think,' said John Gudyill, while he busied himself in re-charging his guns, 'they hae fund the falcon's neb a bit ower hard for them—it's no for nought that the hawk whistles.'"—Old Mortality.

It's no lost what a friend gets.

It's no safe wading in unco waters.

It's no the burden, but the owerburden, that kills the beast.

It's no the cowl that maks the friar.

It's no the gear to traike.

"'Wha kens what would be the upshot o' a second marriage?'

"'That's looking far ben,' replied the laird; 'my wife, to be sure, is a frail woman, but she's no the gear that 'ill traike.'"—The Entail.

It's no the rumblin' cart that fa's first ower the brae.

It is not the oldest or most likely person that dies first.

It's no tint that comes at last.

It's no "What is she?" but "What has she?"

It's no what we hae, but what we do wi' what we hae, that counts in heaven.

It's ower far between the kitchen an' the ha'.

It's ower late to lout when the head's got a clout.

"It is too late to throw water on the cinders when the house is burnt down."—Danish.

It's ower late to spare when the back's bare.

It's ower weel hoardet that canna be found.

It's past joking when the head's aff.

It's sair to haud drink frae drouth.

It spreads like muirburn.

"Muirburn," furze on fire. Said of ill news.

It's stinking praise comes out o' ane's ain mouth.

It stinks like a brock.

"Our gentry care sae little For delvers, ditchers, and sic cattle; They gang as saucy by poor folk, As I would by a stinking brock."—Burns.

It's the barley pickle breaks the naig's back.

It's the best feather in your wing.

It's the best spoke in your wheel.

It's the laird's commands, an' the loon maun loup.

Orders from those in authority, no matter how ridiculous or unreasonable, must be obeyed. "There's nae bailie-courts among them.... But it's just the laird's command, and the loon maun loup; and the never anither law hae they but the length o' their dirks."—Rob Roy.

It's the life o' an auld hat to be weel cocket.

It's the wanton steed that scaurs at the windlestrae.

"Ghaist! my certie, I shall ghaist them—if they had their heads as muckle on their wark as on their daffing they wad play na sic pliskies—it's the wanton steed that scaurs at the windlestrae. Ghaists! wha e'er heard of ghaists in an honest house!"—St Ronan's Well.

It's the waur o' the wear.

It's time enough to mak my bed when I'm gaun to lie down.

It's time enough to skreigh when ye're strucken.

It's weak i' the wow, like Barr's cat.

It's weel that our fauts are no written in our face.

It's weel won that's aff the wame.

Or well saved that is won from the belly.

It was but their claes that cast out.

"That is, the quarrel was not real, but only with design, in order to accomplish some end."—Kelly.

It was my luck, my leddy, and I canna get by it.

It wasna for naething that the cat licket the stane.

It were a pity to put a foul hand on't.

It were a pity to refuse ye, ye seek sae little.

It will aye be a dirty dub between them.

"A dirty dub," a puddle of foul water. That is, it will always be a cause of contention between them.

It will be a feather in your cap.

It will be a feather out o' your wing.

It will be a het day gars you startle.

It will be an ill web to bleach.

It will be lang ere you wear to the knee lids.

It will be the last word o' his testament.

That is, he will delay doing a thing as long as possible.

It will come out yet, like hommel corn.

"Hommel corn," grain that has no beard. The meaning of the proverb is, that on account of particular circumstances, a certain result may be expected in due time.

It will haud out an honest man, but naething 'll haud out a rogue.

It will mak a braw show in a landward kirk.

Spoken when a person is asked to give an opinion of something which is considered vulgar—that a gaudy article of dress will look well in a country church—but only there.

It would be a hard task to follow a black dockit sow through a burnt muir this night.

It would be a pity to hae spoilt twa houses wi' them.

"Spoken when two ill-natured people are married."—Kelly.

It would do a blind man gude to see't.

I will add a stane to his cairn.

A "cairn" is a heap of stones thrown together in a conical form to mark the grave, or in memory, of a person. To add a stone may mean, proverbially, that a person will bear testimony to the good qualities of another.

"I winna mak a toil o' a pleasure," quo' the man when he buried his wife.

"A man going under his wife's head to the grave was bid go faster, because the way was long and the day short; answered, 'I will not make a toil of a pleasure.'"—Kelly.

I wat weel how the world wags; he's best lik'd wha has maist bags.

I winna mak fish o' ane an' flesh o' anither.

I will favour no one, but will treat all alike.

I wish I had a string in his lug.

I wish it may be the first sight ye'll see.

An expression used when a person is telling that he has received a promise of something welcome—it may be payment of an outstanding account.

I wish you had brose to lay the hair o' your beard.

I wish you had wist what you said.

I wish you may hae as muckle Scotch as tak you to your bed.

"Spoken when our companions, beginning to take with the drink, begin to speak Latin, ... believing that by and by they will be at that pass that they will be able to speak no language."—Kelly.

I wish you may lamb in your lair, as mony a good ewe has done.

I wish you readier meat than a rinnin' hare.

I wish you the gude o't that the dogs get o' grass.

I wish you were able, e'en though you didna do't.

I wish you were laird o' your word.

I would as soon see your nose cheese and the cat get the first bite o't.

I would hae something to look at on Sunday.

The reply of a man who is asked of what use a wife would be to him.

I wouldna be deaved wi' your keckling for a' your eggs.

That is, your services do not compensate for the annoyance you cause.

I wouldna ca' the king my cousin.

Expressive of contentment.

I wouldna fodder you for a' your muck.

Of similar import to "I wouldna be deaved," &c.

I wouldna hae kent ye if I had met ye in my parritch.

A phrase to express that a person whom you had not seen for a long time had so much altered in appearance as to be scarcely recognisable.

I would rather see't than hear tell o't, as blind Pate said.

I would sooner be your Bible than your horse.

A jocular allusion to the fact that a person neglects the one, but overworks the other.

I would sooner gae by his door than ower his grave.

"Nothing but a wish that our sick friend may recover."—Kelly.

I would sooner hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep.

Or abroad early in the morning than late at night.

I would sooner my bannock burn than that you should turn't.

That is, I would rather allow an article to spoil than be indebted to you for assistance in keeping it right.

I would sooner see ye fleipeyed, like a French cat.

"A disdainful rejection of an unworthy proposal; spoken by bold maids to the vile offers of young fellows."—Kelly.



Jeddart justice—first hang a man, syne try him.

"According to Crawford, in his Memoirs, the phrase Jedburgh justice took its rise in 1574, on the occasion of the Regent Morton there and then trying and condemning, with cruel precipitation, a vast number of people who had offended against the laws, or against the supreme cause of his lordship's faction. A different origin is assigned by the people. Upon the occasion, say they, of nearly twenty criminals being tried for one offence, the jury were equally divided in opinion as to a verdict, when one who had been asleep during the whole trial suddenly awoke, and, being interrogated for his vote, vociferated, 'Hang them a'!'

"The English phrase 'Lidford Law,' commemorated by Grose, bears the same signification."—Robert Chambers.

Jock's a mislear'd imp, but ye're a run deil.

That is, "Jock," although very mischievous, is a quiet and well-behaved person compared to you.

Joke at leisure; ye kenna wha may jibe yoursel.

Jouk, and let the jaw gang by.

Literally, stoop, and let the rush of water go over your head; meaning, yield to adverse circumstances, and their effects will pass away.

"Just as it fa's," quo' the wooer to the maid.

"A courtier went to woo a maid: she was dressing supper with a drop at her nose. She asked him if he would stay all night; he answered, 'Just as it falls:' meaning, if the drop fell among the meat, he would be off; if it fell by, he would stay."—Kelly.

Just enough and nae mair, like Janet Howie's shearer's meat.

Just, father, just; three half-crowns mak five shillings; gie me the money and I'll pay the man.



Kail hains bread.

Kame sindle, kame sair.

If the hair is seldom combed it soon becomes a difficult and painful operation to perform. Proverbially applied when simple but necessary matters of business are neglected to such an extent that they become troublesome.

Kamesters are aye creeshy.

"Kamesters," or wool-combers, are always greasy. People are always like their work.

Katie Sweerock, frae where she sat, cried, "Reik me this, and reik me that."

"Applied to lazy people, who ask others to do this or that for them which they ought to do for themselves."—Kelly.

Keek in the stoup was ne'er a gude fellow.

"Spoken when one peeps into the pot to see if the liquor be out; whereas a jolly good fellow should drink about, and when the pot's empty call for more."—Kelly.

Keep a calm sough.

That is, keep your own counsel on matters of danger or delicacy.

"'Thir kittle times will drive the wisest o' us daft,' said Neil Blane, the prudent host of the Howff; 'but I'se aye keep a calm sough.'"—Old Mortality.

Keep aff and gie fair words.

Or promise much, but perform little.

"The assets he carried off are of nae mair use to him than if he were to light his pipe wi' them. He tried if MacVittie & Co. wad gie him siller on them—that I ken by Andro Wylie; but they were ower auld cats to draw that strae afore them—they keepit aff and gae fair words."—Rob Roy.

Keep a thing seven years, and ye'll find a use for't.

Keep gude company, and ye'll be counted ane o' them.

Keep hame, and hame will keep you.

Keep out o' his company that cracks o' his cheatery.

Shun the company of him who boasts of his cunning.

Keep something for a sair fit.

"Keep something for a rainy day."—English.

Keep the feast till the feast day.

Keep the head and feet warm, and the rest will tak nae harm.

Keep the staff in your ain hand.

Keep woo, and it will be dirt; keep lint, and it will be silk.

"Lint mellows and improves by keeping, but wool rots."—Kelly.

Keep your ain fish-guts to your ain sea-maws.

"'Why, Mrs Heukbane,' said the woman of letters, pursing up her mouth, 'ye ken my gudeman likes to ride the expresses himsel—we maun gie our ain fish-guts to our ain sea-maws—it's a red half-guinea to him every time he munts his mear.'"—The Antiquary.

Keep your ain cart-grease for your ain cart-wheels.

Of similar meaning to the preceding proverb.

Keep your breath to cool your parritch.

Applied to people who are angry without cause, or exercising undue authority.

"The only wiselike thing I heard ony body say, was decent Mr John Kirk of Kirk-knowe, and he wussed them just to get the king's mercy, and nae mair about it. But he spak to unreasonable folk—he might just hae keepit his breath to hae blawn on his porridge."—Heart of Midlothian.

Keep your gab steekit when ye kenna your company.

Be silent or cautious in speaking when in the company of strangers.

Keep your kiln-dried taunts for your mouldy hair'd maidens.

"A disdainful return to those who are too liberal with their taunts."—Kelly.

Keep your mocks till ye're married.

Keep your mouth shut and your een open.

Keep your tongue a prisoner, and your body will gang free.

Keep your tongue within your teeth.

Kenn'd folk's nae company.

Ken when to spend and when to spare, and ye needna be busy, and ye'll ne'er be bare.

Ken yoursel, and your neighbour winna misken you.

Kindle a candle at baith ends, and it'll soon be done.

Kindness comes o' will; it canna be coft.

Kindness is like cress-seed, it grows fast.

Kindness will creep where it canna gang.

Kings and bears aft worry their keepers.

"Witness the tragical end of many courtiers."—Kelly.

Kings are kittle cattle to shoe behint.

"'Kittill to scho behind,' not to be depended on; not worthy of trust."—Jamieson.

King's cheese gaes half away in parings.

For a greater part of the income is absorbed in the expenses of collecting it.

King's cauff's worth ither folk's corn.

"'I am sure,' said Ritchie, composedly, 'I wish Laurie a higher office, for your lordship's sake and for mine, and specially for his ain sake, being a friendly lad; yet your lordship must consider that a scullion—if a yeoman of the king's most royal kitchen may be called a scullion—may weel rank with a master-cook elsewhere; being that king's cauff, as I said before, is better than ——.'"—Fortunes of Nigel.

Kings hae lang hands.

Kiss and be kind, the fiddler is blind.

Kiss a sklate stane, and that winna slaver you.

"'Ah! bonny lass,' says he, 'ye'll gies a kiss, An' I sall set ye richt on, hit or miss.' 'A hit or miss I'll get, but help o' you, Kiss ye sklate-stanes, they winna weet your mou'.' An' aff she gaes, the fallow loot a rin, As gin he ween'd wi' speed to tak her in, But as luck was, a knibblich took his tae, An' o'er fa's he, an' tumbled doun the brae."—Ross's Helenore.

Kissing gaes by favour.

Kissing is cried down since the shaking o' hands.

Kelly says (1721), "There is a proclamation that nobody should kiss hereafter, but only shake hands." Spoken by a woman who is asked for a kiss, but who is unwilling to allow it.

Kiss my foot, there's mair flesh on't.

A sharp reply to those who obsequiously ask permission to kiss the hand.

Kiss ye me till I be white, an' that will be an ill web to bleach.

Knock a carle, and ding a carle, and that's the way to win a carle; kiss a carle, and clap a carle, and that's the way to tine a carle.

"Both these are joined together, and signify that people of mean breeding are rather to be won by harsh treatment than civil."—Kelly.

Kythe in your ain colours, that folk may ken ye.



Lacking breeds laziness, but praise breeds pith.

"Discommend a boy, and you discourage him; but commend him, and it will spur him on."—Kelly.

Lads will be men.

Laith to bed, laith oot o't.

Laith to drink, laith frae't.

Meaning that although some people are slow or "laith" to begin a thing, still, when they do commence, it is difficult to get them to leave off.

Lang and sma', gude for naething ava.

Jocularly applied to those who are tall and of "genteel" build.

Langest at the fire soonest finds cauld.

Lang fasting gathers wind.

Lang fasting hains nae meat.

Lang leal, lang poor.

Lang lean maks hamald cattle.

That is, poorly kept cattle makes homely, domestic, or common meat.

Lang look'd for come at last.

Lang mint, little dint.

"Much ado about nothing."

Lang noses are aye taking till them.

Lang or ye saddle a foal.

Lang or you cut Falkland wood wi' a pen-knife.

Spoken when people enter into extensive undertakings without sufficient preparations or means.

Lang sick, soon weel.

Lang sport turns aft to earnest.

Lang standing and little offering maks a poor priest.

"Lang straes are nae motes," quo' the wife when she haul'd the cat out o' the kirn.

Lang tarrowing taks a' the thanks awa.

"He loses his thanks that promises, but delays."—English.

Lang-tongued wives gang lang wi' bairn.

"Applied to those who discover their projects, designs, and intentions long before they are put in execution."—Kelly.

Lasses and glasses are bruckle ware.

Lassies are like lamb-legs: they'll neither saut nor keep.

Lassies now-a-days ort nae God's creatures.

"The proverbial reflection of an old woman, as signifying that in our times young women are by no means nice in their choice of husbands."—Jamieson.

Last to bed, best heard.

Laugh and lay't down again.

Laugh at leisure, ye may greet ere night.

Laugh at your ain toom pouches.

"'The japanned tea-caddie, Hannah—the best bohea—bid Tib kindle a spark of fire—the morning's damp—draw in the giggling faces of ye, ye d—d idle scoundrels, or laugh at your ain toom pouches—it will be lang or your weel-doing fill them.' This was spoken, as the honest lawyer himself might have said, in transitu."—St Ronan's Well.

Law licks up a'.

"The Laird has been a true friend on our unhappy occasions, and I have paid him back the siller for Effie's misfortune, whereof Mr Nichil Novit returned him no balance, as the Laird and I did expect he wad hae done. But law licks up a', as the common folk say. I have had the siller to borrow out o' sax purses."—Heart of Midlothian.

Law-makers shouldna be law-breakers.

Law's a deadly distemper amang friends.

Law's costly: tak a pint and gree.

"How easy can the barley bree Cement the quarrel! It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee, To taste the barrel."—Burns.

Lay a thing by and it'll come o' use.

Lay the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice.

Or place the profit against the loss.

"An' I am to lose by ye, I'se ne'er deny I hae won by ye mony a fair pund sterling—sae, an' it come to the warst, I'se e'en lay the head o' the sow to the tail o' the grice."—Rob Roy.

Lay the sweet side o' your tongue till't.

"An answer to them that ask what they will get to their hasty pudding."—Kelly.

Lay up like a laird, and seek like a lad.

Lay your wame to your winning.

That is, let your housekeeping expenses be in unison with your income.

Laziness is muckle worth, when it's weel guided.

Lazy youth maks lousy age.

Leal folk ne'er wanted gear.

Leal heart leed never.

"A' was toom, a' heartless-like, an' bare; Her dowie pain she culdna mair conceal— The heart, they'll say, will never lie that's leal." —Ross's Helenore.

Lean on the brose ye got in the morning.

Spoken facetiously to a person who leans heavily on another.

Leap year was never a gude sheep year.

Learn the cat the road to the kirn, and she'll aye be lickin'.

Learn young, learn fair; learn auld, learn mair.

Learn your gudewife to mak milk kail.

That is, "Teach your grandmother to suck eggs."

Learn you an ill habit and ye'll ca't a custom.

Least said soonest mended.

Leave aff while the play's gude.

Leave a jest when it pleases you best.

Leave the court ere the court leave you.

Leave welcome aye behint you.

Prolong your stay only so long as you find your company approved of, so that you may not be considered tedious.

Lee for him and he'll swear for you.

Leein' rides on debt's back.

Lend your money and lose your friend.

"It is not the lending of our money that loses our friend; but the demanding of it again, and that will lose a friend to my certain knowledge. They have a proverbial rhyme to this purpose:—

"'I had a } {and a } {as many of this land, I lent my } {to my } {when he did it demand, I sought my } penny {from my} friend {when he had kept it long, I lost my } {and my } {and was not that a wrong? Had I a } {and a } {as I have had before, I wo'd keep my} {and my } {and play the fool no more.'" —Kelly.

Let-a-be for let-a-be.

"Mutual forbearance."—Jamieson.

Let ae deil dang anither.

An expression of indifference at two bad persons quarrelling.

Let a horse drink what he will, but no when he will.

Let alane maks mony a loon.

"Let a' trades live," quo' the wife when she burnt her besom.

Let aye the bell'd wether break the snaw.

A "bell'd wether" is a ram with a bell round its neck; and the proverb means that a difficult or dangerous undertaking should be led by a person of experience.

Let folk bode weel, and do their best.

Let him cool in the skin he het in.

Let him drink as he has brewen.

Let by-ganes be by-ganes.

"'Hout, ay,' said Elliot, 'just let by-ganes be by-ganes, and a' friends again; deil ane I bear malice at but Westburnflat, and I hae gi'en him baith a het skin and a cauld ane.'"—The Black Dwarf.

Let him haud the bairn that's aught the bairn.

Let him ride his ain horse wi' his ain hauding.

Let him tak a spring on his ain fiddle.

Let him tak his fling, and he'll find oot his ain weight.

Let him that's cauld blaw the ingle.

Let him that pays the lawin' choose the lodging.

"'I dinna ken, sir,' she replied in a dry reveche tone, which carried me back twenty years, 'I am nane of thae heartsome landleddies that can tell country cracks, and make themsells agreeable; and I was ganging to pit on a fire for you in the red room; but if it is your will to stay here, he that pays the lawing maun choose the lodging.'"—The Highland Widow.

Let his ain wand ding him.

Let ilka ane roose the ford as they find it.

That is, let every one speak of a thing as he finds it.

Let ilka ane soop before their ain door.

Let ilka cock fight his ain battle.

Let ilka herring hing by its ain head.

Let ilka man soop the ice wi' his ain besom.

Let ilka sheep hang by its ain shank.

Let ilka tub stand on its ain bottom.

Let na the plough stand to kill a mouse.

Do not quit or neglect an important matter to look after trifles.

Let ne'er your gear owergang ye.

Never let your wealth make you give way to pride, or forget your old friends.

Let never sorrow come sae near your heart.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Let that flee stick to the wa'.

"'Hout tout, man! let that flee stick in the wa',' answered his kinsman; 'when the dirt's dry it will rub out.'"—Rob Roy.

Let the eird bear the dike.

"Eird and dike" are earth and stone wall. The proverb means that heavy or important undertakings should have a solid basis.

Let the horns gang wi' the hide.

The horns bearing but insignificant value in comparison with the hide, they should be thrown into the purchase of the latter free of charge.

Let the kirk stand i' the kirkyaird.

That is, let everything be in its proper place.

Let them care that come behint.

Let the morn come and the meat wi't.

Let the muckle horse get the muckle windlin.

Let the tail follow the skin.

Let the tow gang wi' the bucket.

Let your meat dit your mouth.

Liars should hae gude memories.

Lick and lay down.

A proverbial form of expression of a man's being able to pay his way.

"And what for suld I no have a corpus delicti, or a habeas corpus, or ony other corpus that I like, sae lang as I am willing to lick and lay down the ready siller?"—St Ronan's Well.

Lick your loof and lay't in mine, dry leather jigs aye.

"This signifies no more but kiss your hand and give it. Spoken facetiously upon some good fortune unexpected."—Kelly.

Lie in your bed and lippen to that.

Life's life ony gate.

"'And now we're settled ance mair,' said Cuddie to his mother, 'and if we're no sae bein and comfortable as we were up yonder, yet life's life ony gate, and we're wi' decent kirk-ganging folk o' your ain persuasion, mither; there will be nae quarrelling about that.'"—Old Mortality.

Light burdens break nae banes.

Light lades mak willing horses.

Lightly come, lightly gang.

Light maidens mak langing lads.

"Light's heartsome," quo' the thief to the Lammas mune.

Lightsome sangs mak merry gate.

"Ratcliffe, speaking apart to Madge, asked her 'whether she did not remember ony o' her auld sangs?' 'Mony a dainty ane,' said Madge; 'and blithely can I sing them, for lightsome sangs make merry gate.'"—Heart of Midlothian.

Light suppers mak lang days.

Like a sow playing on a trump.

"Trump," a Jew's harp. Typical of extreme awkwardness.

Like Bauldy's wedding, there's nae meat but muckle mirth.

Like blood, like gude, like age, mak the happy marriage.

Like butter in the black dog's hause.

That is, a dangerous position, as butter in the embrace of a dog certainly is.

Like Cranshaws kirk—there's as mony dogs as folk, and neither room for reel nor rock.

"In a remote pastoral region, like that of Cranshaws, lying in the midst of the Lammermoor hills, it is or was usual for shepherds' dogs to accompany their masters to the church; and in times of severe stormy weather, few people except the shepherds, who are accustomed to be out in all weathers, could attend divine service; and in such circumstances, it may have occurred that the dogs may have equalled in number the rational hearers of the Word. We have heard the saying applied by bustling servant girls to a scene where three or four dogs were lounging about a kitchen hearth, and impeding the work."—G. Henderson.

Liked gear is half-bought.

"When wares please, a bargain is soon made."—English.

Like draws aye to like, like an auld horse to a fell dike.

Persons of similar tastes draw towards and sympathize with each other. "Like will to like—a scabbed horse and a sandy dike."—Danish. "Like will to like, as the devil said to the coal-burner."—German.

Like hens, ye rin aye to the heap.

Spoken jocularly to those who help themselves to what there is most of on the table.

Like Hilton kirk, baith narrow and mirk, and can only haud its ain parish folk.

"Hilton kirk was a very small edifice in Berwickshire, and it would seem from the saying not very well lighted. When any number of strangers came as hearers, the accommodation was deficient; the saying is used when many persons assemble in a small house, and there is little room to stir about."—G. Henderson.

Like Lamington's mare, ye break brawly aff, but sune set up.

Likely lies i' the mire, and unlikely gets ower.

Meaning that many undertakings which promise favourably at first often fail; while those of which no great hopes are entertained are successfully carried through.

Like maister, like man; like priest, like offering.

Like Moses' breeks, neither shape, form, nor fashion.

Like Orkney butter, neither gude to eat nor creesh woo.

"A minister having in these words compared the covenant, made it a proverb. Applied to a thing that is useful no way."—Kelly.

Like paddy's ghost, twa steps ahint.

Like's an ill mark amang ither folk's sheep.

Like the bairns o' Falkirk, they'll end ere they mend.

"This is a proverbial saying of ill-doing persons, as expressive of there being no hope of them. How the children of Falkirk came to be so characterized, it would be difficult now to ascertain. The adage has had the effect of causing the men of Falkirk jocularly to style themselves 'the bairns;' and when one of them speaks of another as 'a bairn,' he only means that that other person is a native of Falkirk."—Robert Chambers.

Like the cat, fain fish wad ye eat, but ye are laith to weet your feet.

"The cat is fain the fish to eat, but hath no will to wet her feet."—English.

"Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,' like the poor cat i' the adage."—Macbeth.

Like the cowts o' Bearbughty, ye're cowts till ye're best's by.

Like the cur in the crub, he'll neither do nor let do.

A Scottish version of the dog in the manger.

Like the dam o' Devon, lang gathered and soon gane.

Like the fiddler o' Chirnside's breakfast, it's a' pennyworth's thegither.

"This is said of people who buy very small quantities of any article. Fiddlers are proverbially poor, and the one of Chirnside was no exception to the rule. One morning he sent his boy for materials for breakfast, and the order was delivered to the shopkeeper in the following measured terms:—

"'A pennyworth o' tea, A pennyworth o' sugar, Three penny loaves, And a pennyworth o' butter; And a pennyworth o' he herring, For my faither likes melts!'"—G. Henderson.

Like the gudeman o' Kilpalet, ye're ower simple for this warld, and hae nae broo o' the next.

Like the laird o' Castlemilk's foals—born beauties.

Like the lassies o' Bayordie, ye learn by the lug.

Like the man o' Amperly's coo, she's come hame routin', but no very fu', wi' the tow about her horns.

"The cow came home unsold; and the rhyme is applied to a young woman who comes home from a fair or market without a 'jo' or sweetheart."—G. Henderson.

Like the man wi' the sair guts—nae getting quat o't.

Like the smith's dog, sleep at the sound o' the hammer, and wauk at the crunching o' teeth.

Like the tod's whalps, aye the aulder the waur.

Like the wabster, stealing through the warld.

Another insult to the weaving profession. The reply of a person who is asked how he is getting on.

Like the wife that ne'er cries for the ladle till the pat rins o'er.

That is, never asks for an article until it is too late.

Like the wife wi' the mony dochters, the best's aye hindmost.

Or, at least, she would have the lover of the last believe so.

Like the wife's tongue, aften better meant than timed.

Like the witches o' Auchencrow, ye get mair for your ill than your gude.

"That is, people sometimes grant an individual a favour through fear of malevolence, or to get rid of his importunity."—G. Henderson.

Like to like.

"I'll tell ye, Ratton, blithe will Nicol Muschat be to see ye, for he says he kens weel there isna sic a villain out o' hell as ye are, and he wad be ravished to hae a crack wi' ye—like to like, ye ken—it's a proverb never fails; and ye are baith a pair o' the deevil's peats, I trow—hard to ken whilk deserves the hettest corner o' his ingleside."—Heart of Midlothian.

Like water to leather—the langer the tougher.

"Although my mither has been, past the memory o' man, in a complaining condition, I ken nae odds o' her this many a year; her ail's like water to leather, it makes her life the tougher."—The Entail.

Lippen to me, but look to yoursel.

Lips gae, laps gae, drink and pay.

"If you put your lips to the cup to drink, put your hand to your lap to take out your purse."—Kelly.

Listen at a hole, and ye'll hear news o' yoursel.

List to meat's gude kitchen.

Little and aften fills the purse.

Little can a lang tongue layne.

Little does the puir gude, and as little get they.

Little dogs hae lang tails.

Little folk are soon angry.

A frequent addition gives the reason—for their heart gets soon to their mouth.

Little gear, little care.

Little Jock gets the little dish, and that hauds him lang little.

"Poor people are poorly served, which prolongs their poverty."—Kelly.

Little kens the auld wife, as she sits by the fire, what the wind is doing on Hurley-Burley-Swire.

"Hurle-Burle-Swire is a passage through a ridge of mountains that separate Nithsdale from Twadale and Clydsdale: where the mountains are so indented one with another that there is a perpetual blowing. The meaning is that they who are at ease know little of the trouble that others are exposed to."—Kelly.

Little kent, the less cared for.

Little may an auld horse do if he maunna nicher.

Little meddling maks fair pairting.

Little mense o' the cheeks to bite aff the nose.

It is bad policy for a person to injure another with whom he is intimately connected, or upon whom he is depending.

Little odds between a feast and a fu' wame.

Little said is soon mended, little gear is soon spended.

Little's the light will be seen far in a mirk night.

"'But the flame!' demanded Ravenswood; 'the broad blaze which might have been seen ten miles off—what occasioned that?' 'Hout, awa! it's an auld saying and a true, "Little's the light will be seen far in a mirk night"—a wheen fern and horse litter that I fired in the courtyard, after sending back the loon of a footman.'"—Bride of Lammermoor.

Little to fear when traitors are true.

Little troubles the ee, but less the soul.

Little wats the ill-willy wife what a dinner may haud in.

Although a wife be very angry and "ill-willy" with her husband in private, still in public she should be cautious for obvious reasons, one of which is, Kelly says, "That a handsome treat may secure good friends and great interest."

Little winning maks a light purse.

Little wit in the head maks muckle travel to the feet.

People of few resources, or poor imagination, are apt to be put about by trifles.

Little wit in the pow that lights the candle at the lowe.

Live in measure, and laugh at the mediciners.

Live upon love, as laverocks do on leeks.

Living at heck and manger.

To live at "heck and manger" is to fare sumptuously every day, even beyond our income.

Lock your door, that you may keep your neighbours honest.

Lo'e me little an' lo'e me lang.

Look before ye loup, ye'll ken better how to light.

"Luke quhair thou licht befoir thou lowp, And slip na certainty for howp, Quha gyds thee but begess."—Cherrie and the Slae.

Loud coos the doo when the hawk's no whistling; loud cheeps the mouse when the cat's no rustling.

That is, subordinates take advantage when superiors are out of the way. "When the cat's away, the mice will play."—English.

Loud i' the loan was ne'er a gude milk cow.

Noisy people, or those who are always boasting of what they can do, are seldom so clever even as their neighbours. Kelly says this is "a reprimand to noisy girls."

Love and jealousy are sindle sindry.

Love and lairdship's like nae marrows.

"Marrow," that is, an equal, match, or antagonist.

Love and light winna hide.

Love has nae lack, be the dame e'er sae black.

Love has nae law.

Love is as warm amang cottars as courtiers.

"The rose blooms gay on shairney brae, As weel's in birken shaw; And love will lowe in cottage low, As weel's in lofty ha'."—Tannahill.

Love ower het soon cools.

Love your friend and look to yoursel.



Maidens should be mild and meek, quick to hear, and slow to speak.

Maidens should be mim till they're married, and then they may burn kirks.

"Spoken often, by way of reflection, when we say that such a one is a good-humoured girl, as if you would say, 'Observe how she'll prove when she is married.'"—Kelly.

Maidens' tochers and ministers' stipends are aye less than ca'd.

Maidens want naething but a man, and then they want a'thing.

Mair by luck than gude guiding.

That is, a person has been successful by mere force of circumstances, and by no particular merit of his own.

Mair hamely than welcome.

"Mair haste the waur speed," quo' the tailor to the lang thread.

Mair nice than wise.

Mair pride than pith.

Mair than enough is ower muckle.

Mair than the deil wear a black manteel.

"Mair whistle than woo," quo' the souter when he sheared the sow.

The saying, "Great cry and little wool," is common to all nations; the Scottish version, however, is the most expressive and humorous we have met with.

Maister's will is gude wark.

For the master himself is sure to be pleased with it.

Maistry maws the meadows doun.

"The captain's a queer hand ... he keeps a high hand ower the country, and we couldna deal with the Hielandmen without his protection, sin' a' the keys o' the kintray hings at his belt; and he's no an ill body in the main; and maistry, ye ken, maws the meadows doun."—Heart of Midlothian.

Mak ae wrang step and down ye gae.

Mak ae pair o' legs worth twa pair o' hands.

"He freed Rashleigh from my hold, and securing me, notwithstanding my struggles, in his own Herculean gripe, he called out, 'Take the bent, Mr Rashleigh—make ae pair o' legs worth twa pair o' hands; ye hae done that before now.'"—Rob Roy.

Mak a kiln o't, and creep in at the logie.

We surmise that this is intended as an advice to a person who has become possessed of an article, and does not know what to do with it, like the old lady who won the principal prize in the lottery, said prize consisting of a live elephant! A "killogie" is, says Jamieson, "a vacuity before the fireplace in a kiln for drawing air."

Mak a kirk or a mill o't.

Similar to the preceding proverb. Equivalent to saying such a thing is entirely in your own control; you may do what you please with it.

Mak friends o' fremit folk.

Mak hay while the sun shines.

Mak nae bauks in gude bear-land.

To "bauk" is to leave small strips of land unturned in ploughing. Kelly says of this proverb that it is "spoken when it is proposed to marry the youngest daughter before the eldest."

Mak nae orts o' gude hay.

Literally, do not throw aside good hay.

Mak nae toom ruse.

"Toom ruse" means empty praise, and the proverb signifies that we should not praise indiscriminately, or without knowledge of the subject.

Mak the best o' a bad bargain.

Mak your wife a gowdspink, and she'll turn a water-wagtail.

That is, if you indulge a person freely to a certain extent, the probability is he will exceed the limits.

Malice is aye mindfu'.

Man proposes, God disposes.

Man's twal is no sae gude as the deil's dizzen.

No, because "man's twal" is twelve, while the "deil's dizzen" is thirteen.

March comes like a lion and gangs like a lamb.

March comes wi' adders' heads and gangs wi' peacocks' tails.

March dust and March win', bleaches as weel as simmer's sun.

March dust and May sun mak corn white and maidens dun.

March water and May sun makes claes clear and maidens dun.

The explanation of this saying, which belongs to the Mearns, is, that water in the month of March is supposed to be of a more cleansing quality than in any other month. The same idea is also expressed in the following saying:

March water's worth May soap.

March whisquer was ne'er a gude fisher.

Marriage and hanging gae by destiny.

Married folk are like rats in a trap—fain to get ithers in, but fain to be out themsels.

Marriage wad tame the sea, if a match could be got for her.

"Of all comforts I miscarried, When I played the sot and married: 'Tis a trap, there's none need doubt on't; Those that are in would fain get out on't."—Tea-Table Miscellany.

Marry abune your match, and get a maister.

Marry for love, and work for siller.

Marry in haste, and repent at leisure.

Marry your son when you will, but your dochter when you can.

Maun-do is a fell fallow.

"Necessity is a hard master."—German.

May-be's are no aye honey bees.

"An answer to them that say, 'Maybe it will fall out so or so.'"—Kelly.

May-be's flee na at this time o' the year.

Maybe's a big book.

Maybe your pat may need my clips.

Perhaps some day you will be glad of my assistance, although you despise it just now.

May birds are aye cheeping.

This refers to the popular superstition against marrying in the month of May, the children of which marriages are said to "die of decay."

May he that turns the clod ne'er want a bannock.

Mealy mou'd maidens stand lang at the mill.

Measure twice, cut but ance.

Meat and mass ne'er hindered wark.

"'Happy will I be to serve you, my gude auld acquaintance,' said the clerk; 'but sit you down—sit you down—sit you down, Mrs Dods,—meat and mass never hindered wark. Ye are something overcome wi' your travel—the spirit canna aye bear through the flesh, Mrs Dods.'"—St Ronan's Well.

Meat and measure mak a' men wise.

Meat feeds, claith cleeds, but breeding maks the man.

Meat is gude, but mense is better.

Men are no to be mete by inches.

Men speak o' the fair as things went there.

Mettle's kittle in a blind mare.

Michaelmas mune rises nine nights alike sune.

Mills and wives are aye wanting.

Mind me to a' that ask for me, but blad me in naebody's teeth.

Mind thysel, the warld will mind the lave.

Mint before you strike.

Minting gets nae bairns.

Mischief's mother's but like midge's wing.

Mister makes a man o' craft.

Misterfu' folk maunna be mensefu'.

"Beggars should not be choosers."—English.

Mist in May and heat in June mak the harvest right soon.

Mistress before folk, gudewife behint backs; whaur lies the dishclout?

A jocular manner of addressing those who are very particular in their manner of speaking.

Mocking's catching.

Money's aye welcome, were it even in a dirty clout.

Money's better than my lord's letter.

Money's like the muck midden, it does nae gude till it be spread.

Money makes and money mars.

"He who hath gold hath fear, and he who hath none has sorrow."

Money maks a man free ilka where.

Money maks the mare to go whether she has legs or no.

Mony a dog has dee'd sin' ye were whelped.

Mony a dog will dee ere you fa' heir.

Mony a frost and mony a thowe, sune makes mony a rotten yowe.

Mony a gude tale is spoilt in the telling.

"Applied often when a good sermon is ill delivered, to my certain knowledge."—Kelly.

Mony ane for land taks a fool by the hand.

That is, many marry only for the sake of money and possessions.

Mony ane kens the gude fellow that disna ken the gude fellow's wife.

The reason being that he is a "gude fellow" only when abroad or in the taproom, and not when he is at home.

Mony ane kisses the bairn for love o' the nurse.

"That is, show their kindness to the companions, friends, or relations of those upon whom they have a design, which they hope by their influence to effect."—Kelly.

Mony ane lacks what they would fain hae in their pack.

Mony ane maks an errand to the ha' to bid my leddy good day.

Or, many occupy themselves with trifles.

Mony ane opens his pack and sells nae wares.

Mony ane's coat saves their doublet.

"Spoken when clergymen use you saucily, whom, in deference to their profession, you will not beat."—Kelly.

Mony ane ser's a thankless maister.

Mony ane's gear is mony ane's death.

Mony ane speaks o' Robin Hood that ne'er shot wi' his bow.

"Doctor Luther's shoes do not fit every parish priest."—German.

Mony ane tines the half-merk whinger for the ha'-penny whang.

This nearly obsolete saying means, literally, loses a sixpenny dagger for the sake of a halfpenny thong. "Spoken," says Kelly, "when people lose a considerable thing for not being at an inconsiderable expense."

Mony ane wad blush to hear what he wadna blush to dae.

Mony ane wad hae been waur had their estates been better.

Mony an honest man needs help that hasna the face to seek it.

"Mony a thing's made for the penny," as the wifie said when she saw the black man.

Mony a true tale's tauld in jest.

Mony aunts, mony emes, mony kin, but few friends.

The word "eme" signifies uncle, and the saying—its claims as a proverb are small enough—means that a person may have many relations but very few friends among them.

Mony care for meal that hae baked bread enough.

"Spoken against whining, complaining people, who have enough, and yet are always making a moan."—Kelly.

Mony cooks ne'er made gude kail.

Mony fair promises at the marriage-making, but few at the tocher-paying.

A man may "promise like a merchant and pay like a man-of-war's-man;" that is, promise anything that may be asked, for the sake of concluding a bargain, but which, once made, he is in no haste to perform.

Mony gude-nights is laith away.

"He shakes hands often who is loath to go."—French.

Mony hands maks light work.

Mony hawes, mony snawes.

"When there is a great exhibition of blossoms on the hedgerows, the ensuing winter will be a remarkable one for snow storms."—Robert Chambers.

Mony hounds may soon worry ae hare.

Mony kinsfolk but few friends.

Mony 'll sup wi' little din, that wadna gree at moolin in.

Mony littles mak a muckle.

Mony purses haud friends lang thegither.

Mony rains, mony rowans; mony rowans, mony yewns.

"Yewns being light grain. The rowans are the fruit of the mountain ash, which never are ripe till harvest. It is a common observation, that an abundance of them generally follows a wet season."—Robert Chambers.

Mony sae "weel" when it ne'er was waur.

"Spoken to them that say 'well' by way of resentment."—Kelly.

Mony time I hae got a wipe wi' a towel, but ne'er a daub wi' a dishclout before.

Or reprimanded by a person who had authority to do so, but never roughly handled by one who had no right to interfere. Kelly says this is "spoken by saucy girls when one jeers them with an unworthy sweetheart."

Mony ways to kill a dog though ye dinna hang him.

Mony words dinna fill the firlot.

A "firlot" is a fourth part of a boll, dry measure. Equivalent to the proverb, "Many words go to a sackful."—Dutch.

Mony words, muckle drouth.

Mony wyte their wife for their ain thriftless life.

That is, many persons blame others for what are the consequences of their own faults. Kelly says, "I never saw a Scottish woman who had not this at her finger's end."

Mouths are nae measure.

The Irish are not of this opinion, for it is recorded that one of them said his mouth held exactly a glass of whisky—that is, if he could have retained it; but there was a hole in the bottom of it which continually prevented him from proving the fact.

Mows may come to earnest.

"To 'mow,' to speak in mockery."—Jamieson.

Moyen does muckle, but money does mair.

Influence or interest does much, but money will do more.

Muck and money gae thegither.

Muckle corn, muckle care.

"Muckle din about ane," as the deil said when he stole the collier.

Muckledom is nae virtue.

Muckle fails that fools think.

Muckle gifts mak beggars bauld.

Muckle gude may it do you, and merry go doun, every lump as big as my thoom.

A bad wish—that every bite may choke you.

Muckle head, little wit.

Muckle maun a gude heart thole.

Muckle meat, mony maladies.

Muckle mou'd folk are happy at their meat.

Muckle musing mars the memory.

Muckleness has nae mair, or else a cow could catch a hare.

Muckleness is no manliness.

Muckle pleasure, some pain.

Muckle power maks mony faes.

Muckle skaith comes to the shae before the heat comes to the tae.

Muckle spoken, part spilt.

So much was said on a subject that a great deal was lost.

Muckle wad aye hae mair.

The more a person has the more he would have.

Muckle water rins by that the miller watsna o'.

Muckle wi' thrift may aye be mair.

"Must" is for the King to say.

My market's made, ye may lick a whup-shaft.

The saucy reply of a maid already betrothed, to a would-be wooer.

My neighbour's skaith's my ain peril.

My son's my son till he's got him a wife; my dochter's my dochter a' the days o' her life.

My tongue's no under your belt.



Naebody daur say Straa to him.

Naebody is riving your claes to get you.

Or going out of their wits for your sake.

Nae butter will stick to my bread.

That is, good fortune follows nothing I do.

Nae carrion will kill a craw.

Nae cows, nae care.

Nae curb will tame love.

Nae equal to you but our dog Sorkie, and he's dead, so ye're marrowless.

Applied to boasters, meaning sarcastically that in their own peculiar faculty they are unequalled.

Nae faut; but she sets her bannet ower weel.

The only fault is, she is too good-looking.

Nae fleeing frae fate.

Nae fleeing without wings.

Nae fools like auld anes.

Nae faut that the cat has a clean band, she sets a bannet sae weel.

"Ironically spoken to them who pretend to do, have, or wear what does not become them."—Kelly.

Nae friend like the penny.

Nae gain without pain.

Nae great loss but there's some sma' 'vantage.

Nae man can baith sup and blaw at ance.

That is, sup his soup and cool it together; or, plainly, do two things at once.

Nae man can live langer in peace than his neighbours like.

"For an ill neighbour, with his scolding noise, complaints, lawsuits, and indictments, may be very troublesome."—Kelly.

Nae man can mak his ain hap.

Or plan his own destiny.

Nae man can seek his marrow i' the kirn sae weel as him that has been in't himsel.

"Spoken to those who suspect us guilty of a thing in which they take measure of us by their practices and inclinations."—Kelly.

Nae man can thrive unless his wife will let him.

Nae man has a tack o' his life.

Nae man is wise at a' times, nor on a' things.

Nae mills, nae meal.

Nae penny, nae paternoster.

Nae plea is the best plea.

Nae rule sae gude as rule o' thoom—if it hit.

Nae service, nae siller.

Nae sooner up than her head's in the aumrie.

Applied to lazy or greedy servants; implying that the first thing they do in the morning is to go to the "aumrie" or cupboard for something to eat.

Nae swat, nae sweet.

Naething but fill and fetch mair.

A philosophic way of meeting troubles. If a thing be wrong done, do it over again; or if it be lost, procure another.

Naething comes fairer to light than what has been lang hidden.

Naething comes out o' a close hand.

Naething freer than a gift.

Naething is got without pains but an ill name and lang nails.

Naething is ill said if it's no ill ta'en.

Naething is ill to be done when will's at hame.

Naething like being stark dead.

Meaning there is nothing like doing a thing thoroughly. "A vile, malicious proverb," says Kelly, "first used by Captain James Stewart against the noble Earl of Morton, and afterwards applied to the Earl of Strafford and Archbishop Laud."

Naething's a bare man.

"A jocose answer to children when they say they have gotten nothing."—Kelly.

Naething's a man's truly but what he comes by duly.

Naething sae bauld as a blind mear.

"Who so bold as blind Bayard?"—English.

"Ignorance breeds confidence; consideration, slowness and wariness."—Ray.

Naething sae crouse as a new wash'd louse.

"Spoken of them who have been ragged and dirty, and are proud and fond of new or clean clothes."—Kelly.

Naething sooner maks a man auld-like than sitting ill to his meat.

"To sit ill to one's meat, to be ill fed."—Jamieson.

Naething to be done in haste but gripping fleas.

In his introduction to Henderson's Proverbs, Motherwell relates a humorous anecdote in connection with this proverb. An indefatigable collector of "rusty sayed saws," a friend of his, was in the habit of jotting down any saying new to him on the back of cards, letters, &c., and thrusting them into his pocket. On one occasion he had an altercation with a stranger at a friend's house. The quarrel becoming warm, ended by Motherwell's friend excitedly handing the other (as he thought) his card. On the gentleman's preparing to vindicate his honour next morning, it occurred to him to learn the name of his antagonist. On looking at the card he found no name, but, in place of it, traced in good legible characters, "Naething should be done in a hurry but catching fleas." The effect of this was irresistible, and the result an immediate reconciliation.

Naething to do but draw in your stool and sit down.

Everything is so far advanced that the finishing stroke only is wanting. Applied to a man who is courting a widow or spinster already in possession of a well-furnished house.

Naething venture, naething win.

Nae weather's ill an the wind be still.

Nae wonder ye're auld like, ilka thing fashes you.

That is, because you allow every little trifling occurrence to vex you.

Nane are sae weel but they hope to be better.

Nane but fools and knaves lay wagers.

Henderson, in his Proverbs, reads "poets" for "fools," possibly as a hit upon some of his friends, several of whom were poets of local celebrity.

Nane can mak a bore but ye'll find a pin for't.

Meaning that none can find fault with you but you will be able to give an excuse for it. "As soon find hare without a mense as you without excuse."—English.

Nane can play the fool sae weel as a wise man.

Nane can tell what's i' the shaup till it's shelt.

That is, in the husk until it is shelled.

Nane kens whaur a blister may light.

Narrow gathered, widely spent.

Nature passes nurture.

Nearer e'en the mair beggars.

Nearer God's blessing than Carlisle fair.

"You need but go to your closet for the one, but you must go out of the kingdom for the other."—Kelly.

Nearer the bane, sweeter the flesh.

"And for eating—what signifies telling a lee? there's just the hinder end of the mutton-ham that has been but three times on the table, and the nearer the bane the sweeter, as your honours weel ken; and—there's the heel of the ewe-milk kebbuck, wi' a bit o' nice butter, and—and—that's a' that's to trust to."—Bride of Lammermoor.

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