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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

DOOT, v. and n. Also doobt, †dout.

I. v. Sc. usages, with the implication of probability as opposed to uncertainty or improbability in Eng.

1. To fear, to be afraid (of), to anticipate (something undesired). Arch. or dial. in Eng. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vii.:
I doubt I'll hae to tak the hills wi' the wild whigs, as they ca' them.
Abd. publ. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife at Home liv.:
Oh! nae that gate, Mem, gen ye please; The stank's o'er braid I doot.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 47:
But ach, I doot
I'm no cut oot
for sic mense
(that's dowit leid for "common sense")
em.Sc. (a) 1894 “I. Maclaren” Bonnie Brier Bush ii. 64:
He wes bent twa fad; a' doot it's a titch o' rheumatism.
Cld. 1818 Edb. Mag. (Aug.) 156:
She . . . in great anxiety exclaimed, “I doubt, Sirs, ye binnae cannie!”
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 33:
Her mither doubted she was young, An' aiblins whiles might act amiss.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) i.:
I'm juist haudin' my ain, but I'm dootin' sair I'm on the brink o' Jordan.
Dmf. 1912 A. Anderson “Surfaceman's” Later Poems 217:
Fareweel — an' maun we say fareweel? I doot it.
Uls. 1886 W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod ix.:
“A doot ye hae killed him,” said one of them, roughly.

2. Without any connotation of fear or dread: (1) To expect, rather to think.Sc. 1855 Lord Dalhousie Private Letters (1910) 342:
I doubt the Commander-in-Chief and I are going to have a dust.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 95:
“Ay, we're gyan tae get dyow,” said Macwhirter. . . . “Ah'm dootin't.”
Bnff. 1887 W. M. Philip Covedale 8:
I doot the boats haena won oot the day, owin' to this roch win'.
Hdg. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes and Sk. 72:
But mirth aside, I doot this dream As jimp fit metal for my whim.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Brigs of Ayr ll. 93–94:
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me — Tho' faith, that date, I doubt, ye'll never see.

(2) To suspect.Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb iv.:
Aw doot Gushetneuk cam' in for a bit scaad yon'er.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 165:
Ay, sirs, Aw doot ye're in a ferrich aboot the mear.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann, etc. 18:
Dod, she tells o' muckle lairnin' — but I doot the bizzar's leein'.
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 23:
I dout the wee folk are against us, Mary. They hae stolen awa the bowl.
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 143:
A doubt ma brother Friday's not comin back.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 35:
'Is he deid?' the boy asked.
'Aye,' said the minister. 'I doot the faw has killt him.'
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 129:
The miller ne'er doubted his neebour of evil.
s.Sc. 1835–40 J. M. Wilson (ed.) Tales of the Borders (1857–59) VIII. 104:
I'm dootin ye hae saft-saped the master to some purpose.

II. n. As in Eng. = uncertainty; often in phr. to hae one's doots, to be doubtful.Sc. 1983 John MacDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
Let the glaikit follow
thir gainterin gowks,
bokin frae brunstane
bealin wi douts.
Bnff. 1887 W. M. Philip Covedale v.:
I hae my doots if he's a soun' Calvinist. There was nae word o' election yonner.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 6:
Oh, face to face it's kiss-me-luif and palsy-walsy
But ahint your back you should hear whit they all say!
It's: "That will be right" and "I kennt it!"
And "Yon yin's even blacker than he's pentit!"
Plenty reputations ruint, have nae doot!
Muck'll stick, when there's sae muckle fleein aboot.
m.Sc. 1994 William J. Rae in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 117:
Syne, as they doctor lads niver like tae lat you ken they're in ony doobt, he said quick-like: "Of course, after a day or so, it may clear up and he'll forget all this nonsense."
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 81:
If you're in doot, then look aboot
an see wir votes increase,
ti 50+ per cent.
Rxb. 1912 Kelso Chron. (25 Nov.):
We hae oor doots aboot th' fruits that'll be reaped frae their spiritual ministrations.

III. Derivs. corr. Eng.: dooter, dootfu', dootless; Sc.: †1. dootius, apprehensive; †2. dou(b)tish, (1) = 1; (2) doubtful (Twd. 1825 Jam.2, doutish); 3. dootsome, doutsum, (1) = 1; (2) doubtful, hesitant; 4. dooty, = 2 (2).1. Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xxiv.:
I'm some dootious ye may loss your place as his secretary.
2. (1) Rxb. 1912–19 Rymour Club Misc. II. 47:
I'm bevering and growzing wi' terror and cauld — And am doubtish I sune will be hetter.
3. (1) Kcb. 1893 S. R. Crockett Stickit Minister, Lammas Preaching 87:
I'm some dootsome that'll be the Skyreburn coming doon off o' Cairnsmuir.
(2) Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Songs 42:
Glowert at the skipper the doutsum king, Jalousin' aneth his croon.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 144:
She stood a wee, doutsum, and then she said, “Where's Baggie.”
4. Mry. 1923 in Bnffsh. Jnl. (13 Feb.) 2:
I was seventy twa last week, an' I'm fliet anither year ower ma frosty pow will mak' it still mair dooty if I can mak' it possible.

[O.Sc. has dout, etc., to be doubtful; to fear, to suspect; also the n., all from 1375; Mid.Eng. doute(n), dute(n), O.Fr. doute(r), (to) fear (which remains the most prominent meaning in Sc.), Lat. dubitare, to doubt.]

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"Doot v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <>



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