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Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)

Joe Offer 25 Jul 19 - 12:28 AM
GUEST,Observer 25 Jul 19 - 01:45 AM
GUEST 25 Jul 19 - 02:00 AM
Megan L 25 Jul 19 - 02:01 AM
GUEST,akenaton 25 Jul 19 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Ake 25 Jul 19 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Observer 25 Jul 19 - 05:45 AM
leeneia 25 Jul 19 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,sol 25 Jul 19 - 10:31 AM
keberoxu 25 Jul 19 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Starship 25 Jul 19 - 12:30 PM
keberoxu 25 Jul 19 - 12:37 PM
GUEST,ottery 25 Jul 19 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Ake 25 Jul 19 - 02:46 PM
leeneia 25 Jul 19 - 02:46 PM
ketchdana 25 Jul 19 - 02:50 PM
ketchdana 25 Jul 19 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,akenaton 26 Jul 19 - 06:54 AM
Jim McLean 27 Jul 19 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Ake 27 Jul 19 - 07:38 AM
Jim McLean 27 Jul 19 - 07:50 AM
GUEST,akenaton 27 Jul 19 - 08:29 AM
Jim McLean 27 Jul 19 - 09:24 AM
Helen 28 Jul 19 - 04:41 PM
Jim McLean 28 Jul 19 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,akenaton 28 Jul 19 - 05:57 PM
Helen 29 Jul 19 - 02:28 AM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 19 - 03:58 AM
Helen 29 Jul 19 - 07:49 AM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 19 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Starship 29 Jul 19 - 10:11 AM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 19 - 03:23 PM
GUEST,Starship 29 Jul 19 - 03:32 PM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 19 - 05:00 PM
Helen 29 Jul 19 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Starship 29 Jul 19 - 05:23 PM
Jim McLean 29 Jul 19 - 06:24 PM
Jim McLean 30 Jul 19 - 04:00 AM
FreddyHeadey 30 Jul 19 - 05:23 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Jul 19 - 05:31 AM
Lighter 30 Jul 19 - 09:33 AM
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Subject: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 12:28 AM

from email:

Dear Joe,

I am trying to find the word “sproose”; I have checked the directory of Scottish terms but I cannot locate it on that site.

The CORRIES, a singing team, use the word in their song, ‘THE HEILAND HOUSE HUNTER.

IT APPARENTLY MEANS TO TRICK OR DECEIVE.

I will appreciate any help you can provide!

Thanks and best wishes,

Mary Ann

Anyone have words to "The Hieland House Hunter"? It was on the Corries album titled The Bonnie Blue (1988), song written by J. McKinnon and Roy Williamson


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 01:45 AM

Is "Sproose" the correct spelling, or is that what it sounds like?

Taking the title of the song "The Heiland House Hunter" it is more likely that the word is "spruce" which means to "tidy". Someone selling their house would "spruce" it up before anyone came to see it.

Only a suggestion as I do not know the song or the context in which the word appears.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:00 AM

Ah found the song the word in print IS "Spruce" and here's the context:

So here's tae the Lawyer I ne'er will forgive him
For sending me up with the spruce in the trees
And I hope that his briefs and his trusts will annul him
His missive and scrolls dangled doon to his knees


Spruce trees?


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Megan L
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:01 AM

found this

Roaming for a homing, the bonnie countryside
Roaming in the gloaming, just a place for me to bide
When the sun has gone to rest, I'll be either east or west
It's bloody lonely roaming in the gloaming

Cold winter was howling o'er me on this mountain
Thick was the mud, caked up to my knees
I was there in response tae an Aunt in the paper
A fine country house shaded gently by trees

Well at length with a haul and some hard work behind me
The remains of a house with a view I could see
It appeared at an angle, its featureless forum
Was leaning towards me at sixty degrees

So here's tae the lawyer I ne'er will forgive him
For sending me up with spruce in the trees
And I hoped that his briefs and his trusts will annul him
His missive and scrolls dangled doon to his knees

Roaming for a homing, the bonnie countryside
Roaming in the gloaming, just a place for me to bide
When the sun has gone to rest, I'll be either east or west.
It's bloody lonely roaming in the gloaming

By yon bonnie banks where they say the money stays
And I heard they took an interest in accounting
But when I asked for an advance, they said no f-ing chance
So I left a wee deposit in their fountain

Then I took the high road, and I took the low road
But I couldnae get them baith in my lorry
So I took this forest track, but they made me put it back
Cause they said it didnae belong to an English Tory

Roaming for a homing, the bonnie countryside
Roaming in the gloaming, just a place for me to bide
When the sun has gone to rest, I'll be either east or west
It's bloody lonely roaming in the gloaming


;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Its Spruce trees


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 03:22 AM

Spruce trees are the correct meaning in this context.
BUT! there is an old scots word "sproose" used by the industrial working classes, which meant smartly dressed.
"Aye Wullie, yer lookin' gey sproose the day".


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Ake
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 03:32 AM

Sorry, I did not notice observer's comment, which is also correct in relation to tidying up   "Sproosing the place up", "Smart looking"
Hope you are well Observer.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 05:45 AM

Very well Ake, trust the same applies at your end.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 10:05 AM

My unabridged dictionary didn't have sproose, but with regards to spruce, it had some interesting definitions.

1. spruce = ME for Prussia. Prussia used to be Pruce.
2. spruce = neat and dapper
3. spruce = overly fussy
4. spruce = spruce beer
5. spruce as a verb, = to get nicely dressed up
6. spruce = a kind of evergreen tree

(Not that any of these explains the line "For sending me up with spruce in the trees".)


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,sol
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 10:31 AM

In our neck of the woods, 'spruce' means ...
1) a tree, and 2) nicely dressed up/dapper


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 12:04 PM

It's grand to hear from akenaton again.
I mean that most sincerely.

And that's an entertaining song lyric. Well done.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 12:30 PM

From the Dictionary of the Scots Language (Dictionar o the Scots Leid)

https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sprush_n1_adj_v


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 12:37 PM

oops! where's the rest of it?


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,ottery
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:45 PM

There wasn't a household cleaning product around at the time called Spruce, was there? Though obviously I'd have expected a capital letter if such were the case.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Ake
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:46 PM

Thanks keberoxu, I do miss a good discussion, best wishes.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:46 PM

Thanks, Starship. Your entry also has Prussia and the many forms of neat, tidy, dressed up.

I have my doubts about "lemonade." Apparently it was only used once in 1966. Perhaps it was a joke.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: ketchdana
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:50 PM

Another definition of spruce (in addition to a fir tree and tidying up) seems to deal with deceit, pretence, and bragging, according to my Oxford Concise Dictionary and the Scots Language dictionary site referenced by GUEST,Starship at www.dsl.ac.uk/

That would tie the two lines of the song together:

the advert for "A fine country house shaded gently by trees" and
the lawyer ... "sending me up with spruce in the trees"

Bob


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: ketchdana
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 03:08 PM

Duh!
I just (re-)read the original post.
Bob


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 26 Jul 19 - 06:54 AM

The whole song appears to be a play on words, it happens in every verse.
The verse in question refers to "sending up" Spruce trees then referring to the lawyers "Briefs" and "Trusts" as items of apparel hanging down to his knees. I think the real meaning of many of the words used can be safely ignored.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Jul 19 - 05:59 AM

I asked Ronnie Browne of the Corries what his take on the word was and this is his reply: "All 'a spruce' means to me is 'a tree'. Can't think of any hidden meaning. Sorry.

Ronnie.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Ake
Date: 27 Jul 19 - 07:38 AM

Hmmm...Jim, the song seems to represent the ire of a potential house buyer at his lawyer who has fooled him into inspecting a house which is up a mountain, in a forest and has been subject to serious subsidence.
The buyer is also expected to pay a large deposit presumably on a mortgage. The author uses humorous "double meaning"(as you have often done) to achieve the desired effect. One example was the leaving of the house buyers "deposit" in the lawyers fountain.
If we accept Ronnie's view, the line and verse become slightly pedantic?


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Jul 19 - 07:50 AM

Ake, as you say the whole song is based on humorous takes on well know songs, and surreal actions but I don't know who else except the writer himself could cast light on this.
I would therefore take Ronnie Browne's word on this.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 27 Jul 19 - 08:29 AM

Agreed Jim.....hope all is well with you and yours...A


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 27 Jul 19 - 09:24 AM

Thanks, Ake, all good here and hope same with you. I read all the posts above but couldn't make head nor tail of the meaning .... if there was one.
'Spruce' meaning tidy, irrespective of spelling, didn't make sense and none of my dictionaries cast any further light.
I thought, therefore, to go straight to the horse 's mouth and, as it transpires, Ronnie can't see any hidden meaning. As I said to Ronnie, using the word in the line still doesn't make any hidden or prosaic sense but then again the whole song is based on surreal imagery. I have never heard or read the word 'spruce' being used associated with a ruse or trick so I think Ronnie must have the last word. Regards.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Helen
Date: 28 Jul 19 - 04:41 PM

My thoughts are that "spruce" in this context is playing on the tree motif while referring to the lawyer as cunning and deceitful, as ketchdana said above: deceit, pretence, and bragging.

If someone in Oz describes you as looking "spruce" you need to look carefully at their facial expressions etc to see if they are being nice, nasty or just being wickedly funny.

It reminds me of the word cunning - adjective or noun which originally meant "skillful" or "knowledgeable":

cunning (adj.)

early 14c., conning, "learned, skillful, possessing knowledge," present participle of connen, cunnen "to know," from Old English cunnan (see can (v.1)), from PIE root *gno- "to know." Also compare cun (v.). Sense of "skillfully deceitful, characterized by crafty ingenuity" is probably by late 14c. Related: Cunningly.

cunning (n.)

c. 1300, conninge, "knowledge, understanding, information, learning," a sense now obsolete, verbal noun from connen, cunnen "to have ability or capacity," from Old English cunnan (see can v.1). By mid-14c. as "ability to understand, intelligence; wisdom, prudence;" sense of "cleverness, shrewdness, practical skill in a secret or crafty manner" is by late 14c.

It reminds me of an incident when I was serving an elderly library customer who had a strong Scottish accent. She wasn't happy with the policy I was explaining to her and thought that if she kept talking at me I would waive the policy just for her. She finally said, when she realised that she had lost the argument, that I was very "smart" which in the first nanosecond could be seen as a compliment until I quickly realised that she looked like she was about to jump the counter and bite my head off, literally. I think the word to her meant that I had "outsmarted" her and she was not happy about that at all.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 28 Jul 19 - 05:41 PM

Sorry Helen, but there's no way I can see the word "spruce" ever be used in a sense of other than being "smart" in a dress sense. "Smart arsed" of course I can understand but nothing to do with "spruce" no matter how one can try to convolute it.
I have read and been involved in Scottish poetry and literature for a very long, long time and have never come across an instant where spruce can be construed as smart arsed.
As I said I asked the only person alive who might know the answer to our question, Ronnie Browne, the other half of the Corries and you have read his reply.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,akenaton
Date: 28 Jul 19 - 05:57 PM

There is certainly an ironic phrase used amongst the older generation in Scotland "oh my yer very smert", meaning that one is not quite as well informed as one thinks.   It come in quite handy in "saving face".


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Helen
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 02:28 AM

That makes sense, ake. That kinda fits what she was saying to me and how she was saying it.

Jim, you seem to have misconstrued my meaning. I never intended it to equate to "smart arsed". If I meant "smart arsed" I would have said it, believe me. In fact, I'm having trouble seeing where you made that connection.

As I said in my post, I was thinking of the term in relation to "deceit, pretence, and bragging". The not-so nice-comments that a smartly dressed person in Oz might receive might imply that because they are spruced up, especially if this is out of character for them, then they might be "up to something", e.g. "So, where are you off to then? You are looking all spruced up."

Oz humour can sound very derogatory but is really just a very dry form of humour, therefore the speaker's intention can be difficult to interpret sometimes. A large percentage of Aussies like to laugh at themselves as much as at each other.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 03:58 AM

Helen, I took from the reference to being 'smart' said by the old lady to be the same as calling one 'smart arsed' which is a bit stronger in today's language.
I understand the dry humour you mentioned but it doesn't tie in with the assumption that 'spruce' could mean a 'ruse' or 'trick' in the sense of the song.
Personally as I said I have never, ever heard the word being used other that being smartly dressed or the name of a tree.
There is a derogatory comment made about inhabitants of a certain town here who only wear a suit when they go to court and you could construe that as being deceitful, to fool the judge into thinking they are of 'good character' so in this case you could say being 'spruce' was being deceitful. A bit of a long, long shot, however, to tie up this explanation with the song.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Helen
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 07:49 AM

I was referring to ketchdana's comment above.

From: ketchdana - PM
Date: 25 Jul 19 - 02:50 PM

"Another definition of spruce (in addition to a fir tree and tidying up) seems to deal with deceit, pretence, and bragging, according to my Oxford Concise Dictionary and the Scots Language dictionary site referenced by GUEST,Starship at www.dsl.ac.uk/"


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 09:41 AM

Helen, I can't find any other definition other than tree or tidy in the SLD but the COD does make a reference to "sending someone up".
Unfortunately the song writing half of the Corries responsible is no longer with us and the other half of the Corries, Ronnie Browne, thinks it just means a tree with no hidden meaning.
I reckon, therefore we can take his word for it or continue to speculate.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 10:11 AM

"So here's tae the lawyer I ne'er will forgive him
For sending me up with spruce in the trees:

Given that the song is humourous, I'm wondering if an older meaning of 'sending me up' equated to modern-day 'taking the piss'. I'd then expect 'with the spruce in the trees' means trees in the forest which doesn't set up the rhyme with knees worth a spit, so it stayed as spruce in the trees.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 03:23 PM

Starship, to "send someone up" is the same as taking the piss, old or modern but I don't get "knees worth a spit".


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 03:32 PM

Doesn't rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 05:00 PM

I'm sorry Starship, I'm being a bit dim but why should it rhyme with "knees worth a spit" and where does this come from?


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Helen
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 05:01 PM

Jim, I've been thinking. In Oz, the word "smart" , in the majority of cases, is used to mean clever in the positive sense, unless it is paired with the word "arse" or the polite variation "pants" as in "smarty pants" which can be negative but can also have a connotation of a reluctant and humourous recognition of someone who has done something clever.

Maybe that's why I didn't see how you could connect "smart" and "smart arsed" when that was not what I was intending. When someone uses the word "smart" I usually think it is a positive usage, unless there are indications otherwise, such as facial expressions, tone of voice or gestures.

The word "smart" can also be used here to mean "well dressed". "You're looking very smart in that business suit." In that sense it can be seen as similar to the word "spruce", which can be a compliment about a person's appearance unless the other clues in the speaker's behaviour and voice indicates otherwise, or the context of the phrase makes it clear.

The lyrics of the song are very clever (that's a compliment, BTW) and they play on words and concepts to create double meanings. Personally, I think the word "spruce" was not chosen randomly, partly because the trees mentioned elsewhere in the song are not named as spruce trees.

That's my opinion on the use of the word "sproose" aka "spruce". I think it was another double entendre in a song which revolves around that concept. But I might be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 05:23 PM

My apologies, Jim. I was arsing around. "I'd then expect 'with the spruce in the trees' means trees in the forest which doesn't set up the rhyme with knees worth a spit, so it stayed as spruce in the trees." What I should have said is that I think "with the spruce in the trees" was written after the knees line was written. Sorry for the confusion.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Jul 19 - 06:24 PM

No problems, Starship.

Jelen, as I said, we could speculate till the cows come home.


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim McLean
Date: 30 Jul 19 - 04:00 AM

Sorry "Helen" fat finger syndrome!


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 30 Jul 19 - 05:23 AM

YouTube
https://youtu.be/c6HBN96OkAE?t=1m16s


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Jul 19 - 05:31 AM

According to the Chambers Scots Dictionary, the Scots word for 'to smarten up' is "spruch"
On the other hand, "sprouse" means "to brag or boast" - a "sprouser" is a braggart (not a 'Scouser' - please note)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Scots Word: Sproose (from Corries)
From: Lighter
Date: 30 Jul 19 - 09:33 AM

To "spruce up" is pretty common in America. Usually you "spruce up" your appearance, but you could also spruce up a room or the like.


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