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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Knit, Knyt, v. Also: knitt, knite, knytt; knet(t; (knitting, knyttyng). P.t. knit(t, knyt, knet, knat. P.p. knit(t, knyt(t, knyte, (kynt); knet(t, knete; knut(t; knittin. [ME. knytte, knitte, also knette(n and (West. and south.) knutte(n, p.t. knyt(te, knit, knette, knutte, p.p. knyt, knit, also knet and i-knyt, -knut, also icnut(t)e(n, (later knytted, knitted), OE. cnyttan.In mod. dial. the p.t. form knat, found rarely in Older Sc. (in two instances below, one of these from the 1711 print of Sir Eger), is appar. recorded only as north. Eng., as is the strong p.p. knitten; the recorded mod. Sc. forms are p.t. knit, knet. p.p. knit. knittit, -ed.]

A. In concrete senses.

1. tr. To tie, attach or secure by means of a knot. a. To join with a knot, to knot together; to bind up or together; to tie up, bind or make fast, with string, ropes and the like. Also absol.(a) c1420 Wynt. viii. 3151.
Fra he lychtyd, he suld knyt His brydyll fast
1513 Doug. vii. vi. 27.
Sum tyme hir hed lays forto knyt hir hair
1537 Treas. Acc. VI. 335.
Tua dosane cordis of silk … to knyt the harnessingis of the Kingis sadill
1544 Ayr Common Good Acc.
For skeneȝe threid to knyt the speris iiij d.
1583 Treas. Acc. MS. 124.
For ribbennis to knit the kneis of the breickis
absol. a1598 Ferg. Prov. 7 b.
Girne when ye knit, and lauch when ye louse
(b) 1558 Treas. Acc. X. 435.
For ane stane of merling to knet the saidis trasis
1595 Misc. Bann. C. I. 354.
He spake with suche ane vehemencie that the enymies caused knett his toung
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xlvii. 183.
Thai bestis … thare talis knet, & as a cheare thair-on hir gert set
?1438 Alex. i. 887.
Thai … Gaderit thare hors and knyt thair renȝes
Ib. 1887.
He knyt his [broken] renȝe in great hy
1628 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. II. 429.
[They] knitt him in his dogges leische and … carried him to his plaice of Castlemilk
(c) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2926.
This lytill mous, heir knit thus be the schyn
c1475 Wall. vii. 201.
A bauk was knyt all full of rapys kene
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 228.
Covatus in his chene has ws knyt
1583 Prot. Bk. J. Borthuik MS. 16.
The soum of iiijxx ix merkis knyt in ane naipkyn
15.. Black Bk. Taymouth 157.
War the gray meir in the fettir lox At Johne Vpalandis dur. knit fast aneuch
c 1630 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II. 148.
The lyne whereon the hook did hang was knitt all with feathers … to the length of twall inches or thereby
(b) a1500 Henr. Fab. 312/207.
The moir he flang the fastir wes he knet
c1590 J. Stewart 119/7.
The faster knet, the harder throw
(c) 1654 Nicoll Diary 128.
[They] escapit furth of the Castell of Edinburgh being lat doun he thair awin bedscheittis … hardlie knut

b. To tie one thing or person to (til, about, in(to), on) another or two together.(a) a1400 Leg. S. xxxiii. 275.
Ta thi belt, & hyme lede, & about his hals knyt it sone
14.. Acts I. 337/2.
Of sadillaris … , thai knyt to ther sadillis evil harnassyng
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4489.
Ane key ȝe sall into the buirdclaith knit, Quhilk at ȝour belt dois hing
1597 James VI Dæmonol. 12.
By knitting roun-trees … to the haire or tailes
1607 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 44.
To James Quhyt for ganging up to knit the tow to the bel
1630 Reg. Privy C. 2 Ser. III. 478.
He suld knitt him in ane tow to the balke of the hous
1660 S. Ronaldshay 30.
Kathareen … did knite the same [thread] about his middle, beneath his schirte
(b) 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 136.
Thow takis ane reid threid and knetis the same about thy kyis taill
(b) 1375 Barb. xvi. 396.
Byrkis on athir syde the way … He knyt to-giddir
1560 Rolland Seven S. 4498.
Na man knawing quhair that ȝe knit ȝour kie
Ib. 6667.
He lichtit doun, knit his hors to ane tre
a1578 Pitsc. I. 301.
Ane heid lace, the quhilk Dawid Home of Wadderburne knitt on his saidill bow
1584 Gowrie P. 43.
[He] bade the pepill fairwell and … knit with his own hande the handkurscher about his eyes
(b) a1500 Sir Eger (1711) 1649.
The shields he knat together fast
(c) 1513 Doug. xi. xi. 69.
Owr this fers ryver … Camylla Flaw knyt onto this quhirrand schaft of tre
c1650 Spalding I. 371.
With this paper, kynt [sic] togidder in ane volum, follouit ane vther printed peice
(b) a1500 Henr. Fab. 1520.
The rapis … wes sa about him knet … that succour saw he nane
a1578 Pitsc. I. 117/19.
The said Bischope pullit out ane gret scheiff of arrowis knet together in ane quhange of leathir
1624 Misc. Abbotsf. C. 142.
The pannell … to be knet to ane staik, … and brunt in asses
(c) 1596 Dalr. I. 128/16.
As thay [a succession of kings] had beine with a string knutt togithir
Ib. II. 46/17.
Knut til a horstail, … [he] is castne in a carte
1638 Banff Ann. I. 81.
The said Dauid to be … knut and bund to the trie at the kirk styill

c. To string up, to hang (a person). a1568 Bann. MS. 94 a/24.
Thir lordis & barronis grit Vpoun ane gallowis suld I knit

d. To tie (a knot). 1597 James VI Dæmonol. 12.
By knitting so manie knottes vpon a poynt

2. a. To form (a net) by knotting thread. b. To knit (stockings). 1513 Doug. xii. Prol. 171.
In corneris … Aragne wevand was, To knyt hir nettis and hir wobbys sle
1661 Acts VII. 256/1.
That ther be in each paroche one or moe persons … for instructing of the poore children … to fine and mix wooll, spin worstead & knit stockings

3. To unite, join up securely, fix together or in place (parts of a structure); also, to secure by a builder's joint, to bond.See also Knit ppl. a. b. c1409-1436 Kingis Q. 194.]
[Go litill tretise … And pray the reder … Of his gudnese thy brukilnese to knytt
1576 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 19 b.
Faileȝeing that thai haif nocht thair heid dyikis sufficientlie knit that thai sall paye ten pundis to the laird
1624 Cramond Moray Synod 6.
The roof of the kirk … is alreadie knitt and bound
1658 Ellon Par. Rec. 144.
Robert Tempill … to go to Aberdeen to … agrie with a sklater … to knit the cupiles
1672 Soc. Ant. XIV. 329.
Ane … scale staire … each steppe being of one peece and lopped knitt and hung in the other

b. P.p. knittin, securely or compactly joined together in body, (well-) knit. a1568 Scott ii. 31.
William wichttar wes of cors Nor Sym, and bettir knittin

B. transf. or fig.

4. a. To tie or conjoin a band or knot of something abstract. 1513 Doug. viii. iii. heading.
Quhou Eneas with kyng Evander met, And bandis of kyndnes has betwix thame knet
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 433.
This band of mariage, quhilk God hes knit
1596 Dalr. II. 7/15.
So strate vses the knot of vertue to be knutt betueine gud men

b. To tie, attach, bind, unite (one thing in, to or with another, two or more things or persons together, etc.).(1) a1400 Leg. S. vi. 496.
Goddis word … In his harte bot he it knyt
c1420 Wynt. iv. 1438.
The towne … To Rome wes in to frendschepe knyt
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus ii. 35.
[Q]uhidder I sall absent me or persew To Venus court, sen I thairto am knit
1570 Sat. P. x. 78.
Trew faith … With hoip and cherite knit to the same
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Annexation.
As when ane thing is bundor knitwith ane vther
(b) 1558-66 Knox II. 49.
That the realme of Scotland shalbe conquered, or utherwyse knett to the croun of France
(c) 1682 Nimmo Narr. 26.
The bouels of my afectiones, as it wer going out after & knutt to them
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i. 404.
Twa substance, that is to wyt, Of devel and man, togyddir knete
Ib. l. 794.
For thi gret beute & thi wit, & thi gret gentrice sammyn knyt
1558-66 Knox II. 316.
Be this lynk hes God knytt togitther the prince and the people
1682 Nimmo Narr. 29.
[That] our affectiones might be singlie knutt togither in the love of God in Christ
(3) a1500 Henr. III. 160/64.
The hie fadir … The sone alswa, the holy gaist condigne, Thre knit in ane be perfyte vnite
1513 Doug. x. Prol. 71.
Like as … Vnderstandyng, rayson, and memor … beyn in a substans knyt all thre, Thre personys ryngnys in a deite
1596 Dalr. II. 377/23.
Our peple … and ȝour peple … throuch this mutual coniunctione … sal be knut straitlie in ane
(4) 1567 G. Ball. 148.
With my faith I mak ane wow, And knittis it with ane knot
c1590 Fowler I. 109/159.
I manye thingis of great reporte dois in ane boundell knitt

c. ? intr. To become firmly united. 1570 Leslie 68.
The guid will … quhilk he had to intertayne perpetuall frindschip with K. Henry, and wald wische the same to knitt, that it mycht in na wayis be dissolvit againe

5. tr. To join together or couple in marriage. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 215.
My weckit kyn … To sic a craudoune but curage that knyt my cler bewte
1513 Doug. xii. i. 68.
Onlesum is I suld in wedlok knyt My douchter till ald wowaris of this land
1567 Acts II. 559/2.
Beirand gud mynd and fauour … to hir speciall seruitoris … to knytt thame togidder in lauchfull mariage
1600 Hamilton Facile Tr. 432.
It is God wha conionis and knettis mariet persones in the band of matrimonie

6. reflex. a. To bind or unite oneself in marriage. 1513 Doug. iv. i. 35.
To no wyght in wedlok me list I Cuppil nor knyt

b. To bind oneself by an oath or a promise (to do something, etc.). 1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Sacreborgh.
It behuiffes the persewar to knit & oblish him, in the handes of ane officiar, … that he sal persew in forme of law
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I. 29.
He hes allreadie knitt and bound himself to prejudge … the estait of his benefice

7. reflex., passive, and intr. Said of persons: To join oneself or combine in association or alliance.Also const. togiddir and to and with the other(s).(1) c1420 Wynt. iv. 149.
He knyt hym to the Tuskanys, And warrayd wytht thame the Romanys
Ib. v. 3176.
Qwhyll at the last the hale barne Off Brettayne knyt thame in sawchtnyng
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcviii. 79.
Thairfore knit you togiddir To keip our liberte
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xi. 130.
Syne to-gyddire war thai knyt & in-to Perce thare way can ta
c1420 Wynt. iv. 2040.
The Duche-men and thai of Cymbry Togyddyr knyt in cumpany
1616 Misc. Hist. Soc. II. 178.
[He tried] to dissuade thame & vthers knit withe thame in that vnhappie knot
1638 Hamilton P. (Camden Soc.) 15.
I am confident thatt att ther meiting againe, they uill not be so knet and combyned togidder as nou they ar
(3) c1650 Spalding I. 200.
Quhairby thay micht joyne and knyt with the Kingis loyall subiectis in the north, for thair defenss

b. spec. To combine in military formation, to form up in close order, to ‘concentrate’, also to ‘bunch’. Chiefly in the passive.(1) c1420 Wynt. viii. 2600.
The Scottis in gud aray Togyddyr knyt thaim apertly
(2) 1375 Barb. ii. 292.
Or thai knit in batail be
Ib. xii. 469; Ib. xvi. 611.
Quhen we se thame scalit swa Prik we than on thame … , For than sall nane be knyt to ficht [etc.]
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5805.
Son sa mon tha brek array; On owre hors bakkis than sall we Schwte on thame, or thai togyddyr be Knyte agayne
?1438 Alex. i. 2740.
The furriours ar All knyt with him
1513 Doug. xii. x. 57.
Knyt in a sop, with gret pissans thai thrist The leddyrris to the wallys
1535 Stewart 8839.
Thir tua kingis togidder quhen thai met, And baith thair poweris intill ane wes knet
Ib. 31564.
Ane new fresche armit gard, With Fenedech … And four hundreth weill knyt in ane concord Off nobil men
(3) 1375 Barb. xv. 354*.
Than bath the forreouris and the scaill In-till a childrome knyt all haill, And wes a richt fair cumpany

C. In comb. with adverbs.

8. To tie on or tie to (a thing, till something else or absol.). 1499 Edinb. Hammermen in Mill Mediaev. Plays 227.
For pak threid to knyt on the flouris & to the candiheidis
c1650 Spalding II. 409.
Oure toune's people began … to knyt to till the knokis of oure yettis the like rip of oatis

9. To knit up. a. To tie up or bind up; also, to string up, to hang. b. To unite (kingdoms or the like). c. To bind up, to conclude or settle and make firm (friendship, peace or the like).a. c1590 Fowler I. 108/126.
With one tres of hir hair Knitt wpp when that the other hang evin sparpled to hir spair
1603 Treas. Acc. MS. 276.
The knap to knet vp ane of hir maiesteis hors taillis
1644 Soc. Ant. IV. 108.
The Parliament lordes have sitten twice five weekes, Yet will not leave their stooles, knit up their breekes
1678 Cleland 8.
Some knut up for wearing gunnes
Ib. 28.
Ye'll be knut up like doggs, and hang'd
b. 1570 Sat. P. xix. 27.
Thir realmes twa he knat vp baith in one

c. Common in Douglas. 1513 Doug. vii. v. 81.
Lat the eldfader and mawch knyt vp frendschip
Ib. viii. iii. 58.
To knyt vp band in armys and fallowschip
Ib. x. iii. 84.
Tarchon kyng … vp gan knyt thar fordward and cunnand Of amyte and perpetuall ally
Ib. xiii. vi. 184.
Forto knyttyng [R. knitting] vp … This haly peax
Ib. x. 46. 1589 Misc. Spald. C. II. 278.
And quhow meit … it is to ws twa to knet vp ane sower freindschip to continow betwix ws

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"Knit v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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