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scance (plural scances)

  1. A crescent-shaped structure of stones built to afford cover in battle.
    • 1584, ‎Joseph Stevenson, Calendar of State Papers: Foreign Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth, page 406:
      As for the state of Antwerp, the enemy has fortified so strongly that their ships cannot possibly remove him; for he bends half his force to defend the scance of Calloo, upon the Fladers' side of the bridge, and the other half on the brabant side, which is full of scances, so that one hundred men can defend it from five hundred.
    • 1898, The American Magazine - Volume 45, page 596:
      We are making up fast -- almost within shot now. The scance, too, is a good hundred yards off.
    • 1901, Sessional Papers - Volume 35, Issue 12, page 50:
      It was by that time dark but proceeded to build scances and prepare to hold the position on a front of about half a mile.
    • 1902, British Journal of Dental Science and Prosthetics:
      While engaged in building a “scance” (an erection of stones in crescent formation to afford cover), amid the constant sniping of the enemy, and while in a stooping position a Mauser bullet struck him under the left eye at the infra-orbital foramen, passing through the antrum and making its exit drove before it the the second bicuspid tooth, splitting the first bicuspid.
  2. (Scotland, obsolete) A gleam or glow.
    • 1813, Ebenezer Picken, Miscellaneous Poems, Songs, Etc, page 128:
      In silk an' sattin ilk ane scances, An gauze beside, They've loupit o'er a' sort o'fences Wi perfect pride.
    • 1897, George Stirling's Heritage: A Story of Chequered Love, page 34:
      And look at the scance that comes frae his bonny een.
    • 1910, Dominion Medical Monthly and Ontario Medical Journal:
      If you are still hovering on the outskirts of our charmed brotherhood, I wish I could describe for you the smoothness— the mildncss—the benevolent after-glow on your skin—the incomparable luxury of a scance with Mennen's.
  3. (medicine, obsolete) A dose of radiation.
    • 1901, Dental Hints - Volume 3, page 8:
      The succeeding scances may even be prolonged to twenty or twenty-five minutes, but it will then be necessary to use light massage to the part exposed to the electric rays.
    • 1910, International Journal of Medicine and Surgery, Volume 23, page 280:
      Ordinarily a temperature from 200 to 350 degrees is sufficient, with scances from thirty to sixty minutes, followed, when there is stasis or a weak circulation, by the “Morton wave current.”
    • 1921, Iowa Medical Society, Journal of the Iowa Medical Society - Volume 11, page 327:
      Guillermin believes it better to bring about a temporary suspension of ovarian function by radiotherapy and cites two cases; in one by four treatments in four days; in the other seventeen treatments in the period of o'ne year. The scances were of five minutes for each ovary.
  4. (obsolete) A social discussion.
    • 2012, Ebbe Almqvist, History of Industrial Gases, →ISBN:
      The members of the club were all eager to debate such matters as poetry, art, religion, music, and natural science with open minds. From these creative scances were born many of the ideas that contributed to the Industiral Revolution, as well as its financial sponsoring.


scance (third-person singular simple present scances, present participle scancing, simple past and past participle scanced)

  1. (Scotland) To give a cursory examination.
    • 1718, G. C. (a Lover of Peace and Truth.), Scotland's Present Circumstances:
      And ye must also allow these Circumstances to be scanced upon, as my scant Information and shallow Capacity will admit of; This only ye are to expect, and this according to the measure of Light and Assistance, which GOD shall be pleased to give me, I shall presume and endeavour to shew you.
    • 1876, The Poems and Literary Prose of Alexander Wilson:
      His agents a', wi' sullen gloom Mute, measure, as he dances With horrid rage, damning the loom And weavers; soon he scances Their claith this day.
    • 1944 September 23, “Reviews - DuMont”, in Billboard, volume 56, number 39, page 19:
      Final blow to the reviewer's smarting eyes and ears were the parting shots in which (1) a whole group was scanced with its back to the audience while doing what must have been intended to be a satire on a community sing, and (2) Peter Donald did a closing announcement in which the choral group completely drowned out his words.
    • 2011, Wulf Kurtoglu & ‎Caroline Macafee, Braken Fences, →ISBN, page 91:
      He scanced towart the beerial shaft an crossed hissel. “Sorry,” he sayed immediately. “My grannie was a closet Christian.”
  2. (Scotland, obsolete) To reflect on; to consider.
    • 1638, Henry Adamson, The Muses Threnodie:
      I marvell our records nothing at all Do mention Wallace going into France; How that can be forgote I greatlie scance;
    • 1869, William Lindsay, Auld yule, and other poems, page 33:
      But, as I said, she scanced the time o' nicht, Gaed for a dip, and held it to the licht.
  3. (Scotland) To shine.
    • 1818, The Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany:
      Glad cam the dawn in rosy robe, Whilk day our Saviour rase, An' flang her scancing dewy veil Out ower the hills and braes.
    • 1966, Allen B. Hovey, The hidden Thoreau, page 137:
      Sounds a-sounding, colors bright, Sadness lacking, brilliant light; Future scancing, Forward sight, Singing day, painted night.
    • 2010, Christopher Maclachlan, Before Burns, →ISBN, page 214:
      The cheeks observe, where now could shine The scancing glories o' carmine?
  4. To take cover in a scance.
    • 1916, ‎Joseph Stevenson, Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth:
      Zutphen is victualled, and the States' men lie over the river, entrenched and "scanced" to hinder the enemy's coming further into the Velewe.


scance (comparative more scance, superlative most scance)

  1. Reproachful
    • 1805, Samuel-Egerton Brydges, Censura Literaria:
      The wild confusion, which the shout of mobs, The din of company, the jest, the sneer, Envy's scance look, and Hatred's savage frown Upraise
    • 2013 September 4, Stewart Fisher, “'He was more than a Championship player. It was time'”, in The Herald Scotland:
      Plenty other football managers have been damned by early snap judgments on players but there were scance looks all around from the Hamilton contingent when they were informed by Archie Knox that their 15-year-old first team player wasn't being considered for Scotland's under-17s, allegedly on the proviso that he wasn't able to get around the park.
    • 2014, Harry Swiers, Tall Storeys, →ISBN:
      The latest acquisition of the club, annoyed by the scance glances which he began to receive and Vernon Ivey giving him looks of pure poison, called out above the hubbub: "Gentlemen. Please.