reid

RR_McIan_-_'Mac_Aulay'_-_(Eyre-Todd)red, adj.
comparative mair reid; superlative maist reid

As early as the 15th century, criminals in Scotland were being “apprehendit¬† with the redhand”. It is not until the 19th century that Walter Scott used the form “red-handed” . The redness of the legs caused by exposure to the elements gave rise to the name redshanks. In The Bannatyne Miscellany, a highlander tells us “We … goynge alwaies bair leggide and bair footide … tendir delicatt gentillmen of Scotland call ws Reddshankes” (1542).