Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CUT, n.1 Also cutt. Used as in Eng. The following meanings are peculiar to Sc.

1. (1) A certain quantity of woollen or linen yarn; also in n.Eng. dial. (E.D.D.). A cut of woollen yarn was 91 inches. Obs. exc. hist. Sc. 1928 A. Stewart Highland Parish 172:
When engaging maids it was a common practice for farmers to enquire if they could complete the standard task of a dozen cuts of lint per day.
Bnff. 1761 W. Cramond Ann. of Cullen (1888) 104:
Margaret Murray imprisoned for selling yarn “very ill told and deficient in some of the cuts.”
Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 19:
After being twined, it was taken to the “yarnell.” When that machine gave a click, that meant a cut was accomplished.
Rxb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 308:
A stone of the finest of it [wool] . . . will yield 32 slips of yarn, each containing 12 cuts, and each cut being 120 rounds of the legal reel.

‡(2) A skein of wool, gen. of four ounces weight (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Lnk.11, Kcb.11941). Cf. Hank. Abd.29 1947:
My mother tells me that fifty years ago or so women used to get sixpence per cut for knitting socks.

(3) A term used in spinning to indicate the grist or thickness of woollen yarn (see quot. and cf. Galashiels cut s.v. Galashiels). Sc. 1947 A. Sharp (Patons and Baldwin Ltd.) in Letter (27 Jan.):
A one cut woollen yarn means one hank of yarn measuring 300 yards weighing 24 ounces. A two cut yarn would be two hanks each measuring 300 yards weighing together 24 ounces, and so on.

2. Temper (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.13, Kcb.10 1941). Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood 18:
She's terrible short i' the cut.
Ags. 1927 (per Ags.9):
The auld man's in an ill cut the day.

3. “A lot or piece of ground, as ‘a cut of turnips or potatoes'” (Uls.2 1929); “the pasture-ground which a sheep adopts” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. U.S.A. cut, a cultivated field or portion of one (D.A.E.).

4. “A pack or lot of sheep or lambs, especially as allocated to a particular pasture” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also found in Nhb. dial. (E.D.D.). Bnff.2 1941:
When a flock of sheep are being sold by auction, any given number separated from the rest at random is called a “cut.”
Rxb. 1914 Kelso Chron. (11 Dec.) 4/1:
A shepherd coming to a new place, of course, at first has to become acquainted with how the sheep go in cuts, and what ground each cut pastures over each day.

5. “A score (ranking less than a Hail) gained by cutting the handball in the river opposite the goal” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Lnk.111941 for Rxb. Rxb. 1909 Jedburgh Gazette (5 Feb.) 3/3:
Result of the day's play — Uppies, three hails; Doonies, one hail, one cut.

6. (See quot.) Phs. abbrev. of Eng. cutting. Mearns 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 278:
The plants or cuts [of potatoes] are dropt in at a distance of nine or ten inches in the rows.

7. “The open side. In longwall working, one face in advance of another gives it cut” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 22).

Comb.: cut shot, “a shot designed to bring down coal which has been sheared or opened up on one side” (Ib.).

8. In pl.: (1) “the iron mountings on a swingle-tree” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 156, cutts; Kcb.10 1941); (2) the clevis of a plough (Kcb.10 1943).

9. In phrs.: (1) a cut of a man, “a sturdy middle-sized man” (Cai.8 1934; Cai.7, Bnff.2 1941); (2) cut-an-dry, ellipt. for cut and dried tobacco (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1941); last quot. in N.E.D. a.1735. (2) Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1817) 220:
There'll be plenty of pipe, and a glorious supply Of the good sneesh-te-bacht, and the fine cut-an-dry.

[Cut, a quantity of yarn, containing 120 rounds of the reel, appears in O.Sc. from 1624 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cut n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2020 <>



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