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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Ocht, n. (pron.) and adv. Also: oucht, outht, owcht, owicht; oycht; oght, ought; ȝt. [ME. ocht, oght, oȝt, also ouȝt, late ME. and e.m.E. ought, OE. ówiht, also áwiht, áht, Aucht n.2]Normally (in senses 1 and 2) only in hypothetical, interrogative, conditional and negative contexts, and in comparisons: cf. Ony a. and the synonym Ony-thing.

1. n. Anything whatever, anything. Variously const.For ocht (that one can do, that may be, that a judge has seen, etc.), = notwithstanding anything, for all (that etc.).Oucht or nocht, ‘anything or nothing’, anything you (he etc.) please(s), anything at all, something or other. Also in the mod. dial.(1) a1400 Leg. S. iii. 188.
I dar nocht answer ocht thar-till
Ib. xxxi. 491. ?1438 Alex. ii. 1283.
Mysfall vs ocht, we are bot tane
Ib. i. 434; etc. 1401 Aberd. B. Rec. (S.H.S.) 210.
Gif ȝhe ocht aw hym
c1460 Wisd. Sol. (S.T.S.) 248.
And bydis man kep weill gif he ocht wowis
c1475 Wall. iv. 754.
Der hart, quha has mysdoyn ocht, I?
Ib. ix. 1677.
A scurrour he set, to warn quhen he saw ocht
a1500 Rauf C. 253. Ib. 302. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 61.
Skorne cryis out, sayis, ‘Wald ȝe ocht?’
1513 Doug. ix. Prol. 69.
Gyf ocht be weill, thank Virgil and nocht me
Ib. xi. viii. 161.
Ne byd I not that Drances deir aby Ocht with hys deth
Ib. Comment. i. iii. 69.
Or euer he did or said ocht
1529 Lynd. Complaynt 188.
Quhen ocht sall vaik amangs our handis
1533 Boece x. x. 371.
Quhare ocht was sparit be the lowe, be furoure of inemyis was subiectit
1535 Stewart 1688. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 3099. a1568 Scott xiii. 6. 1567 Sat. P. v. 57. 1567 G. Ball. 103.
Loste sall thay be, that ocht to Thé prefar
(b) 1375 Barb. i. 251.
Gyff man bad his thryll owcht do
c1420 Ratis R. 361. c1420 Wynt. v. 877.
For tyll hym tynt that day thoucht he, That na man come til ask hym oucht
Ib. 5265.
Sa, quhare wes God, wat thow oucht Befor that hewyn and erd wes wroucht?
1456 Hay I. 83/16.
Ȝit than it is better to do oucht na nocht
Ib. 166/27.
Gif he aucht him oucht he has tane rycht gude assythement tharfore
1524 Carnwath Baron Ct. MS. 17 b.
(c) 1611-57 Mure Sonn. iii. 3.
Can oght … Mak me to hir quho holds my lyfe wnkynd
(2) ?1438 Alex. ii. 2757.
Ane riche man that worth is ocht
Ib. 4253.
Gif I dow ocht
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 224/12.
All vther graith that thai had that was oucht worth
1533 Boece ii. v. 67 b. a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv. 100.
Gif that avaleth ocht
(3) a1400 Leg. S. i. 450.
I have schawit quhat he thocht, In werk or word, or ellis ocht
a1500 Quare Jel. 277.
Be sche glad or wele besene in oucht
Ib. 502.
Quhat vaillith it of ocht?
a1605 Montg. Flyt. 328 (H).
Als hard be ther handsell that helps thé to ought!
(4) 1375 Barb. vi. 62 (E).
Giff Ik her oucht off thar cummyng
a1400 Leg. S. xlvii. 202. Ib. xxx. 296. c1420 Wynt. vi. 936.
Bot the schypemen trowyd noucht Off that twng that he cowth owcht
?14.. Ship Laws 173 b (B).
Gyf the mayster may fynde ocht of hys
14.. Acts I. 90*/2.
Gif … of his gudis to the samyn gyld he oȝt leyff
1456 Hay II. 8/32. c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 336 (Ch. & M.).
Quhill I outht [M. ocht] wantit of my will
1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 92.
Lat neuer thy freind se oucht of thé bot schame
1622-6 Bisset I. 295/9.
Considder … gif the breve … wanttis ocht of the commoun forme
(5) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 434.
Impossible thing is That ocht be done but genesis
a1500 Bk. Chess 2007.
The turser is a fule amang the laif To wesye ocht bot he in conand it haf
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiv. 67. a1586 Maitland Ho. Seytoun 46.
That the said lord sall nocht … gif me … occasioun to wryt ocht of him bot honorable
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 16.
And the said William [denied] that he knew ocht bot selling of his aill be him
?14.. Ship Laws 173 (B).
Gyf he dois vthir gatys & oucht cum to the schip bot gude
a1578 Pitsc. II. 50/22. 1603 Philotus cxxv.
Quhat meine ȝe ocht bot gude?
(6) 1375 Barb. iii. 282 (E).
Ay quhill to do him levyt ocht
a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 337.
Na ocht quhare-in men suld affy
1398 Acts I. 211/1.
Gife ocht be done in the contrar
1405 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 58.
Gife thar be ocht that may plece yw that I may do of resoun
?1438 Alex. ii. 4592.
Mare … Than siluer or land or ocht that is
a1500 K. Hart 618.
Gif thair be ocht amys
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc. 24.
And thair be oucht concelit, It avalis nocht [etc.]
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 152, viii. vii. 78. 1514 Acta Conc. Publ. Aff. 20.
To excers and do ocht ellis that langis to the premissis
c 1522 Doug. in Doug. (Sm.) I. p. cix.
All sik … that wald be contrarious to ocht him plesit doo
a1540 Freiris Berw. 331 (M).
Be thair ocht within ane hundreth myle It salbe heir
15.. Clar. iii. 717.
Quhen scho hard ocht steiring hir besyde
1561 St. A. Kirk S. 135. 1562-3 Winȝet I. 106/2. 1567 Sat. P. vi. 106. c 1650 Red Bk. Grandtully II. 144.
They will pey ȝow with suspensions … iff ȝow haue ocht to demand from them
(b) 1571 Inverness Rec. I. 208.
Gif he had oycht to say
(c) 1390 Acts I. 217/1.
It suld nocht be his wil … oucht to do … that suld ryn ony man in preiudice of thair heritage
c1420 Wynt. i. 64. 1456 Hay I. 104/25. a1500 Henr. Fab. 40 (Makc.). 1535 Stewart 35811.(d) a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xxxiv. 22.
1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. xi. 6.(e) a1658 Durham Comm. Rev. 42.
Lippening to His strength and power rather than to ought in themselves
(7) a1400 Leg. S. xxiii. 86.
Thai wald bow na way Til hyme, fore ocht he do may
Ib. xlii. 31.
To God of hewine ay serwe I, & euire sal do, for ocht ma be
Ib. xi. 77. a1500 Rauf C. 490. a1500 Bk. Chess 1623.
Defer it nocht for ocht thow has a do
1535 Stewart 27137.
For ocht Occa culd outher do or sa Tha left the feild
1549–50 Corr. M. Lorraine 321.
Bot I se na provision mayd for ocht I can do
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 369.
For oght the kirk culd him forbid, He sped him sone
1602 Dundonald Par. Rec. 10. 1603 Philotus lxxvi.
For ocht my keipars can
(b) 1375 Barb. xvii. 420 (E).
For oucht thai mycht, gud or ill
c1400 Troy-bk. ii. 1010 (C).
For ought thar-to that they do mought
c1420 Wynt. ix. 2299. c1450-2 Howlat 977.
[Thou] bair ay will be For oucht that sedis of thi self in ony sessoun
1528 Lynd. Dreme 1076.
Be nocht ane wrache, for oucht that may befall
c1552 Id. Mon. 1059.(c) c1460 Alex. (Taym.) 3465.
For oycht ȝe had neuer vther seruice made Till Alexander ȝe seruit ȝoure warisoun
(8) 1460 Ayr Chart. 89.
That for ocht hethirtill schawin … the said burges has nocht [etc.]
1476 Acta Aud. 46/1.
That for oucht thai haue sene the said William … has done na wrang to the said Thomas
1498 Acta Conc. II. 260. 1499 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 429. 1554 Ib. IV. 779. 1588 Burntisland B. Ct. 1 Apr.
For owcht that thai seine the saidis prowest and bailleis ordanis the said Williamsone to proceid [etc.]
1596 Maxwell Mem. II. 185.
For ocht I watt of
1599 Rollock Wks. I. 415.
Schute it to the dore and, for ocht I can see, I trow it sall gang away
(9) ? 1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 302.
I sall seik nen [sc. wages] bot owicht or nocht be your auin discresciun
1592 Mining Rec. 77.
To get againe quhat evir the Kingis refyner plesis to gif oucht or nocht

2. quasi-adv. and adv. Anything; to any extent, in any degree, in any respect, at all.a. Predicatively and with verbs.Only in verse.(1) ?1438 Alex. ii. 1370.
Gif that I lufe that maidin fre And courtasy be ocht in me, I aucht to lufe all hirris
c1420 Wynt. viii. 6182.
All the floure Off folk that owcht war off waloure
(2) a1400 Leg. S. xix. 676.
Til al thaim that … hyme worschipis ore honouris ocht
c1420 Ratis R. 474. c1475 Wall. xi. 664.
Gyff he couth wys thaim ocht Quhar thai mycht best off purviance for to wyn
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2319 (H).
I am laith to hurt my conscience ocht
a1500 Rauf C. 645.
Schir, can thow ocht say, Quhair is Wymond the day?
Ib. 900. a1500 Bk. Chess 1430. Ib. 2178. 1513 Doug. iv. vii. 16.
Quhiddir gif he steryt his eyn as ocht hym alyt
Ib. vii. xiii. 68. 15.. Clar. ii. 1608.
Know ȝe the greine knicht ocht?
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcix. 14.
To thair purpose giff that may help thame ocht
(b) 1375 Barb. ii. 123 (E).
Gyff his ȝhemar oucht gruchys
a1400 Leg. S. xx. 126.
The wolf the grys [has] brocht Vnhurt & vnskathit owcht
c1420 Ratis R. 1283. c1420 Wynt. vii. 1571 (W).
Sall thov oucht cum agane in haist?
(c) a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xx. 29.
Had I offendit oght
1611-57 Mure Early Misc. P. i. 156.
Quhose vertue … No crosse can oght impaire

b. With adjs. and advs.Appar. chiefly in certain verse texts.(1) 1375 Barb. vii. 252 (E).
I think to se or ocht [C. oucht] lang Him lord and king
?1438 Alex. i. 2273.
Gif ȝon king leifis ocht lang
Ib. ii. 2286; etc. 1535 Stewart 17449. Ib. 24481. 15.. Clar. iv. 562.(b) 1375 Barb. ix. 750 (E).
c1420 Ratis R. 437. c1475 Wall. vii. 562.
We wald lik ill to byd oucht lang away
(2) 1375 Barb. iii. 560 (E).
Quhen men oucht at liking ar
c1420 Ratis R. 461.
Quhen thow art stad ocht narowly With irous wyll and gluttony
c1420 Wynt. vii. 1553. 1444 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 12.
Give they war oght playntouse of ony nichbour
c1475 Wall. xi. 234.
Or on ȝour selff gyff ȝe ocht better be
a1500 Rauf C. 554.
To striue with him ocht mair
a1540 Freiris Berw. 359 (M).
Ay the freyr cuth lout Quhen that he come ocht neir the almerye
15.. Clar. v. 1403.
The Lord Constabill … speiritat him if he was hurt ought saire
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus iii. 169.
And gif it be by ressoun ocht distant

3. In some degree, to some extent, somewhat. a1400 Leg. S. iii. 605.
Thu dwellis in wikitnes And wenis nocht-the-les That I suld dowt thi manance ocht
Ib. xviii. 1254.
I pray thé … of this met … Thu wil deyngȝe to taste it ocht

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"Ocht n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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