Wednesday, 2 November 2011


I have just come across an old cutting from the Irish Times.  In his column Words We Use, Diarmaid O Muirithe explains the word shend, which is still used by some Ulster-Scots speakers in the Ards peninsula.

According to the Scots dictionaries it means 'to chide, reprove; to confound; to disgrace.'  The word also has the meansing of 'mar, destroy, ruin' and from it we get the noun shendship, meaning 'ruin, confusion'.

A correspondent to Diarmaid recalled her mother saying, 'Don't dare go to church in that gaudy dress, you'll have us all shent.'

The word is from the Old English scendan, 'to put to shame, to injure.'


  1. Not exactly a leap from "shamed" to "shend". Another case of a dialectal pronunciation being over-analysed...

  2. Hello Mr. McCausland, I posted a comment some time ago on your blog regarding Colonel Kelley. I would appreciate if you might read those comments and respond when you have time.

    Jeremy Childs
    Nashville, TN

  3. Scots and Ulster-Scots are sister languages to English and all of them come from a common Anglo-Saxon origin. They are all Germanic languages.

  4. Jeremy - I must apologise for not responding to your post. I will be away on departmental business next week but will get back to you when I return.