nounhistorical, rare Scottish
With the. A period of scarcity just before the spring, when winter stocks have run low.
Early 16th century; earliest use found in Richard Holland (d. c1483), ecclesiastic and poet. Probably from an unattested Norn compound (compare Old Icelandic langr and Old Icelandic hríð snowstorm, period of bad weather, Norwegian ri, (Nynorsk) rid period of bad weather, onset of bad weather, illness, etc., Swedish regional rid onset of illness (cognate with Old English hrīð storm; probably from the same Germanic base as Old English hriðian to shake, tremble, have a fever: see note)); compare Old Icelandic langafasta Lent, lit. ‘long fast’.