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

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First published 1983 (DOST Vol. V).
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Pete, Peit, n.1 Also: pet, peyt, peitt, piet; peat, peet; pait; pett(e, pit. [Cf. med. L. (Eng.) peta (1478, Durham), ME. petes pl. (1433, in L. document), e.m.E. peat (1607), pet (1610). Of doubtful ulterior origin, but perh. f. the Celtic base pett- portion, (pet (Book of Deer), OIr. pit; W. peth). Cf. L. petia, pecia (F. pièce) a piece, also Pete n.2] Peat, in the usual senses and collocations.For further examples, see Cast v. 13, Casting vbl. n. 1, Elding n.1, Fewale n., Hed(d)er n., Lair n.1 6, etc. 1159–60 Regesta I. 193.
[Et de mora de Edenham ad fodiendum petas
1189–95 Ib. II. 328.
c 1200 Reg. St. A. 381.
Concedo hominibus eorum qui predictam terram tenuerint petas et turbas quantum necesse habuerint ad domos suas
c 1260 Lindores Chart. 175.
Usque ad pethariam … pro pethys
1262 Peebles Chart. 5. 12.. Reg. Dunferm. 116. 1369 Reg. Episc. Morav. 168.]

1. A piece of peat, cut to a size and shape (as that of a brick or the like) convenient for use as fuel.Chiefly plur.plur. (1) 14.. Acts I. 27/2.
Na man aw to punde … thaim at bryngis wodd or petys [etc.]
1441 (1449–50) Reg. Great S. 69/2.
Wyth al … petis and colis als wele under yerde as above
1461 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 362.
The forsaide landys … wyth colhewys petis tvrfis mylnys
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 166.
The abbay sal prouyde for met to the seruandis and to thar hors a bayt in tyme of ledyn of petis
1477 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 408. 1479–80 Acta Conc. I. 47/1. 1482 Acta Aud. 109/1. 1497 Treas. Acc. I. 344.
For petis and colis to the schip
1505 Blackfriars Perth 14.
Of the quhilk pets thai gat payment of certane yeiris bygane
1519 Reg. Panmure II. 291. 1535 Reg. Episc. Brechin. II. 186. a1538 Abell 85 a. 1539 Treas. Acc. VII. 343.
For … petis pannis and uthir necessaris apoun the making of vj gun muldis
1546 Reg. Privy S. III. 329/1.
Lie stak of petis
1550 Reg. Cupar Abbey. II. 84.
Payand ȝeirlie … xiij fydder of petis
1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 175.
In peciabill possessioun of casting and wynning of thair petis, leiding and awaytaking of the same … furth of the moss of Corntoun
1678 Brodie Diary 400.
My pets at the Bankhead wer brunt
(b) 1498–9 Dunferm. B. Rec. I. 93.
1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 182.
Leife … to cast … peytis in the myre … of the maretoune
c 1536 Rec. Earld. Orkney 222.
Togedder with all … meadows grasseings cuninggars peits pettmosses [etc.]
1542 Lanark B. Rec. 19. 1563 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 188.
Quhatsumevir person haiffand na peitts cassin of thair awin land fundin beirand peitts that the claytht with the peitts be maid escheit & the person apprehendit
1572 Sat. P. xxxii. 19. 1594 Paisley B. Rec. 154. 1594 Breadalbane Ct. Bk. 70 b. 1614 Misc. Spald. C. V. 218 (see Infamous a.). 1623 Reg. Episc. Morav. App. 427.
And with power to take peittes and uther feuall in the Laverock moss
1638 Aboyne Rec. 281. 1653 Banff Ann. I. 137.
Unnecessar personis not haveing peittis nor kell to leave on
1664 Peebles B. Rec. II. 62.
[The] scoolmaister … to have … the old stipend … with his chalmer maille, his peittes and quarter payment
1670 Urie Baron Ct. 91.
No tennant … sall presume to sell any peittes … without leaw askit and gewen
1683 Coll. Aberd. & B. 103.
In the very best of moss grounds which are ever on the tops of hills whose peits when dry are exceeding hard
1684 Symson Descr. Galloway 72.
Baked peits which they take out of a stiff black marish ground in the summer time
(c) 1486 Prestwick B. Rec. 31.
He come in his rowm of the mos & hakkit his pettis
1495 Liber Aberbr. II. 289.
The south syd … occupeit be pettis castin be Symon Banerman
1532 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 123.
That na man nor voman led nor beir uther mennes pettis bot thair awn
1532 Wigtown B. Ct. 265 a.
A fens mayd … one sertane pettis that was cassyt in Thome Gybsone mors
1549 Elgin Rec. I. 100. 1556–7 Inverness Rec. I. 5.
The bot frachtyn of pettis
1563 Prot. Bk. J. Robeson MS. 14.
Twa tuskars for pettis
1595 Douglas Bequest 7 July.
The said Mr. Gilbert … to bruik and haiff fevall pettis turves and haddir in the barouny of Ogilvy
1604 Urie Baron Ct. 4.
1638 Hawick Ann. 41. 1683 Alyth Par. Ch. 131.
(d) 1605 Stirling B. Rec. II. 112.
1608 Dunferm. B. Rec. II. 48.
The abusing of the comone mure … and taking thairof greater quantities of … turffis and paittis nor thair stent bears
1637 Monimail Reg. Ct. 20 April.(e) 1596 Dalr. I. 35/23.
For the penuritie of wodis out of the ȝeard we cutt peates and turfes quhilkes quhen we haue cuttit we dry at the sone and of this is æstemet lyght fyr
1602 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 38.
The said wmquhill Ingagar … disponit the samin [land] to hir said oy and placeit hir in possessioun thairof be casting of peatis [etc.]
1603 Aberd. Eccl. Rec. 28. 1613 Orkney Rentals App. 98.
Exonerationis of peattis
1628 Goudie Shetl. Antiq. 179.
The rentall of the peattis yeirlie to be casten won and led to the castell of Scalloway
1637 Baillie I. 21.
Inraged women … are about him with neaves and staves and peats [but] no stones
1656 Edinb. Justices Peace 406.
[The wives] assisting with their husbands in winning their masters hay and peats [etc.]
1681 Colvil Whig's Suppl. (1751) 18.
Some had guns with rusty ratches Some had fiery peats for matches
(f) 1609 Acts IV. 434/2.
1633 Sibbald's Orkn. & Shetl. 8.
Rousay … is better for pasturage than corns abounding with peets for fewell
1651 Banff Ann. II. 33.
The parishioners wald not … lead his peets
1659 A. Hay Diary 41.
Therafter I went into the mosse and putt our folks to cast peets
1680 Echt-Forbes Chart. 148.
(g) 1709 Household Bk. Gr. Baillie 73.
20 stacks piets
(2) 1496 Acta Conc. II. 34.
As to … distrinȝeing of the saidis landis owthir for maile … pettis castin or cuttin of thame [etc.]
1511 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 104.
In recompens for thar petis castin
1544 Prestwick B. Rec. 59.
As for pettis sellen [etc.]
1573 Black Bk. Taymouth 220.
Yeirly ane dawark of plowing … ane of pettis leding [etc.]
1627 Rep. Parishes 144.
With auchtine hundrethe laid of peitis casting and wooneing and daylie seruice
1669 Strathendrick ii.
Fyre flaughts … burne … all they haue that wer the occasione of her father's peits cuting
1671 Forbes Baron Ct. 288.
In tym of peittes leding
1675 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 51.
Ane nagge and ane seck to the peits leiding, two workers to the peits casting [etc.]
(b) 1542 Reg. Cupar A. II. 24.
Thay payand thairfor ȝeirlie … for thair teind … ane turs of ait fodder … xiij fidder of paitis leding fra our est myre to our said abbay
sing. 1587 Carmichael Etym. 9.
Gleba, a peit, a lump, a morsel
15.. Sc. Hist. Rev. IX. 450.
Set the puder diche apon ane byrnand peit or gleid
1661 Wodrow Hist. (1828) I. 146.
And when they had put the least peat or poultry in money, the height of all the rent … is but about fifty thousand merks Scots
1662 Trip & Go in 1662 Forbes Cantus (ed. 1666).
And ye can dance on a peat [etc.]
1684 Sibbald Scot. Illustr. iii. 44.
Terra bituminosa, nostratibus a peat

b. In partitive constructions, after various nouns of quantity, with or without of.For numerous further instances, see Cartill n., Crele n. 1 b, Darg n. 2 a, Dawerk n. 2, Fadom(e n. 2, Fidder n. 1, Fudder n.1, Futher n. 1, Lade n.1 2, Leit n.1 1, etc.(a) 1397 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 32.
Alswa thai sal hafe the sovme of petis & vthir fuel
1570–1 Elgin Rec. I. 124.
xvi cowpfullis of dry peitis
1579 Crail B. Ct. MS. 17 Sept.
Tua kairtefull paittis
1603 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 44.
And ane pleuchis pairt of peittis yeirlie
1604 Shetland Sheriff Ct. (ed.) 112 (see Cassiefull n.). 1613 Orkney Rentals App. 93.
With sevin fadoume peattis
1628 Dundonald Par. Rec. 239.
Saying she had taken tuo burthens of her peets
1631 Buccleuch Household Bk. 25 Sept.
For 8 tunne of pets at 6 st. the tunne
1637 Banff Ann. I. 76.
The bountay draucht of peitis giuin be the maisteris to thair servandis yeirlie
1638–9 Misc. Spald. C. V. 152.
Four lead and ane burding of peatts … 10 s. 2 d.
1696 Davidson Rowan Tree 260.
The full of an back-creel of peets
(b) 1561 Reg. Dunferm. 457.
xc lead of pittis of Carberry

c. As the second element of a compound.Coill-peitis, see Cole n.1 4. Kane-peittis, see also Kane n.1 2. Custom-peatts, cf. Custom(e n. 4. 1540 Spottiswoode Misc. I. 357.
Capitane and kepar of the … Palace of Linlithgow, park … petis, caird petis and gardings thairof
1681 Inverness Rec. II. 297.
Obleidgit to furnish the guard with coal and candle each night for the custom peatts
1595 Crawford Mun. Invent. I. 118.
[The] haill kene peittes [owing to the Earl]
1597 Misc. Spald. C. I. 159.
And thairefter thow … tuik ane fyre peitt … and cariet the same to thy awin hous
1616 Dalyell Darker Superst. 52.
[A woman threw] a wall peit at his face and bled him thairwith
d. proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS. No. 200.
Ane peit and nyne horse shoone for a breakfast and your luk be good
Ib. No. 814.
It is a pet quhilk wil not cling
Ib. No. 1333.
That quhilk is good for the caill is ill for the petts
1614 Denmylne MSS. in Highland. P. III. 160.
Yit ar they loathe according to our Scottishe proverbe to give him kaile of his owne peittis

2. Peat, the substance. 1400 Charter (Honess Doc. No. 1, Reg. H.) MS.
Wyth al profitis … in boscis … in moris … with pet and turf
1428 Wemyss Chart. 55.
To wyn and ger laboure … turfe pete and hathir [etc.]
1478 14th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. iii. 20. 1499 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 625.
Fyschin … wyth coyll peit and turf
1530 Carnwath Baron Ct. (S.H.S.) 128.
Chargin nane to cast elding twrf nor peit but laufull leif … optenit
1586 Prestwick B. Rec. 81.
That na vnfreman … cast pet nor dyvyt
1596 Dalr. I. 27/18.
Mosse mairouer quhilke peit and turfe may minister to the fyre
Ib. 28 marg.
Ȝerde stane or trie wod, that is peit or kole
1600 Conv. Burghs II. 85.
Reserwand awayis to the commoun vse of brugh licence of querrell faill dewat peitt truffe and hedder

3. attrib. and comb.See also Pete-pot(t n., -stak.(1) 1536 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XVII. 211.
The kee … to be reidhett … and laid apone the saidis peit-beiraris cheikis
1612 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bk. (ed.) 27.
For … aill to his peat casteris
1656 Dumfries Council Min. 19 May.
The ordinar peit casteris
1616 Shetland Sheriff Ct. MS. 35.
[She] wes making the peitmenes meat reddie
1600 Paisley B. Rec. 232.
The act … anent peit steillars
1673 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 57.
[They] wes found to be comone peitt steillers
(2) 1550–1 Glasgow Prot. I. 26.
Ly peit bog
1574 Glasgow Cordiners 58.
Fund in the wrang … in brekyng of the statutes maid anentis the pete bog of auld in holyng wp of the samyn
1576 Glasgow Prot. VIII. 12. a1633 Hope Major Pract. II. 113.
For the proffitts of ane peit comontie
1386 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 10.
In muris … in feildis in peteerde in colehuch in mylnis [etc.]
1578 Ayr & Gall. Coll. VI. 150.
[The common peat ground of … Prestwick]
c 1272 Inchaffray Chart. 93.
A petario de Rossy qui scotice dicitur pethath
1629 Urie Baron Ct. 66.
The haill tennents … to cast and leid thair leitt peitts … in the ordinar moss of Wrie and leid the samen to the peithill
1682 Ib. 96. 1684 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 128.
For leying of the said John Burnsyds lint in his peitt holl
1559–60 Ayr B. Acc. 32.
The pete landis of Gawblair
c 1420 Liber Calchou 162.]
[Monachis communam petamore
1431 Binns P. (S.R.S.) 2.
[The] petemyre [of Dontarvy]
1552 Prot. Bk. R. Lumsdane MS. 20.
The peit myiris of Brayrmall
1636 Misc. Spald. C. V. 225.
Thair corne rigs or proper peit myr banks
1505 Prestwick B. Rec. 38.
viij s. of the petmos siluir
1537 Liber Dryburgh 283.
Peitt mosses
1578 Aberd. Chart. 338.
The peit moss of Dikynschaw
1639 Sc. Hist. Rev. XXI. 130.
Withe … mossis mueris peattis peatmosses [etc.]
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 87.
In … [Haray] all is peitmosland at the sea coist
1604 Paisley B. Rec. 262.
It sall be lesum to the awners of the peit roumes in the Mos … to put thair peitts in the spred field usit and wont
? 1569 Berw. Nat. C. XXIV. 425.
Thence … up the peat syke in a line northwest
(3) 1538 Aberd. B. Rec. (J).
Casting of petmow & dub in hir hall dur
1696 Davidson Rowan Tree 267.
And throwing peet-mud in the faces of all in the house
1684 Descr. Zetland 79.
Here are many sterile pools in regard they are filled with peet water
(4) 1492–3 Acta Conc. I. 288/1.
A pet spaid price x s.
1573 Edinb. Test. III. 30 b. 1586 St. A. Test. II. 65.
Pait spaid
1621 Black Bk. Taymouth 353.
That no maner of personne … cast peitis … bot only with lawland peit spaudis
1631 Brechin Test. V. 35. 1672 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 136 (11 June).
Andro McClearie … deponed that … Johne his sone came out with ane peit spaid
(5) 1554 Prot. Bk. J. Mason 209.
And maid ane fence and arreistment upone ane pitkert
1579 Reg. Privy C. III. 192.
Thair peit creillis and sleddis
1657 Cramond Cullen Ann. 46.
All … havand horses peatcreills and carts sall meit … to convoy the said bailȝies to the saids mosses and ilk persone to lead home … the peats castin by the saids people of Raphan and parishe
1619 Ritchie Ch. S. Baldred 185.
Carying peitt laids … befor the preiching
(6) 1607 Ellon Presb. 64.
Buchan … had violentlie impedit him of peitget and refuseit to give him cohill leive to transport the said fewell ower the wattir
1609 Inverurie 194.
Peit gett
1684 Lauder Observes 130.
In depriving him of a peit gate to force him to give him a licence in his mosse
1516 Exch. R. XIV. 582.
Le pethous
1580 Reg. Privy C. III. 320.
Within the peithous of the neddir bailye
1609 Retours Inq. Spec. Peebles (40).
1663 Dumfries Council Min. 2 July.
To mak voyd & red that peithous quhich is vpon the gleiblands
1696 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds II. 752.
1582 Edinb. Test. X. 324.
Half ane merkland … callit the peitȝarde
1583–4 Perth B. Ct. 8 March.
Pete ȝearde
1633 Orkney Bp. Ct. MS. 87.
The said James was leading the peatis from the peatt ȝaird to the town
(7) 1594 (1598) Reg. Great S. 245/2.
Lie peit-leiding
1639 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 487.
[40/-] for thrie dayis of his horss in peitleiding
1660 Cramond Speymouth Ch. 27.
Before the tyme of peat leading
1600 Paisley B. Rec. 232.
That … persouns convictit of peit steilling salbe put in the jogs
(8) 1593 Reg. Great S. 1/2.
Pro lie peit-silver
(9) 1639 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II. 487.
For inlack of tua servands ane day in harvest and tua in peittyme

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"Pete n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Jan 2023 <>



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