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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FAUT, n., v. Also faute, fawt, fa(a)t. Gen.Sc. forms and usages of Eng. fault. Hence adj. fautie (-y), (Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 103), fawty (Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 26). See P.L.D. § 78.

I. n.

Sc. form of Eng. fault.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
Aye, hark at auld Narra-Mind and, afore lang,
We'd think ilka hermless thing we did was wrang
Them that wants to can aye funn faut.
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Calder in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 139:
Weel kennt it is Eck bous for nane:
folk wee as he is nane. The faut
is Eck's that aye in snaw, wund, rain,
he bou'd til nobs: the price gey saut
wes that his back set stiff frae end til end
straucht as a pincil, canna bend!
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
Cam ye fae some idder warl,
Mysteerious, oonchancy cat,
A speerit-craiter withoot faut,
To me, a feel, roch human carl?

Sc. usages:

1. Want, lack, need, often of food (Abd.9, Fif.10 1945; Uls.4 1951). Obs. in Eng. Hence at faut, deficient (Sh.10 1951); faut o', for want of, failing (Fif.17 1950); †to die for faut, to die of hunger (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis).Lth. 1706 Mare of Collingtoun in J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 43:
She was tint for fau't of Food.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 153:
He has Fault of a Wife that marries Mam's Pet.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 38:
An' mair attour the lad for faut was gane, An' naething left almost but skin an' bane.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Gane is the day i.:
Gane is the day, and mirk's the night, But we'll ne'er stray for faut o' light.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxv.:
“Are you the parties?” . . . “Even so, for fault of better.”
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 37:
My mealpock's near toom, a' my larder's at faut And for kitchen I've nocht but a wee pickle saut.

2. Transferred sense: the cause (of some wrong) (Sh.10 1951).Edb. 1812 W. Glass Caled. Parnassus 12:
Gude whisky has been sair misca't, And aften said to be the fau't O' doin' ill.

3. Harm, injury (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., faat; Sh.10 1951). Also in Yks. dial. Nae faut implies positive good (Sh.11 1951).Sh. 1898 Shetland News (22 Oct.):
What faut tinks doo wis a moos gaun ta dü?
Sh. 1928 Manson's Shet. Almanac 185:
Heth, yon pamphlets 'ill do him nae faa't.
Abd.27 1950:
See at ye dinna come tae faut, noo.

4. Phrs.: (1) in (a) faut, i(n) the faut, in the wrong, at fault: Gen.Sc.; †(2) (it war) na(e) faut, a contemptuous expression used parenthetically when someone “assumes undue importance, or affects a niceness or delicacy which one is supposed to have no claim to” (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (3) to hae a (nae) faut til, to have a (no) fault to find with (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms 43; Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Rxb. 1951).(1) Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 13:
An' when you see them in a faut Reprove them mildly aye for that.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xviii.:
It would hae been an unco thing an she had been in a faut.
(2) Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig lxxxi.:
Mair scouthry like it still does look, At length comes on in mochy rook, The Embrugh wives rin to a stook, It were nae faut; But Highlanders ne'er mind a douk.
Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 62:
Yet they, nae fau't, maun cast a dash. Ne're minds how dear it's bought.
Sc. 1825 Proverb in Jam.2:
It warna fau't but dirt were dear, spoken of those who, although meanly born, or in a low station, assume airs of rank.
(3) Sc. a.1800 Merry Muses (1911) 86:
But a' the faut I had to him, He couldna labour lea.
Sc. 1800 A. Carlyle Autobiog. (1860) 208:
An opposition was rising against so young a man, to whom they had many faults.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Hunt of Eildon i.:
I hae four great fauts to that chiel.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 103:
I had nae faut to him mysel, puir beast.

II. v. 1. To find fault with, to blame (n., m.Lth., Arg., sm., s.Sc. 1950; Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Fif., Edb., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Mostly dial. in Eng.Mry. 1810 J. Cock Simple Strains 91:
Now he wha ance was muckle dautet, By dint o' yon is now sair fautet.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 118:
Yet, for my pains ye dae but faut me.
Ags. 1893 “F. Mackenzie” Cruisie Sk. iv.:
I thocht to hae it ca'ed aifter mysel', but I was fauted.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
A've wroacht here threi-an-toonty eer, an A've never been fauteet yet.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 71:
It [Scots tongue]'s fautit, fleer'd at, an' declass'd By auld an' young.
Uls. 1993:
I would fault her for that.
Edb. 1999:
Och, ye cannae fault her for that!

2. To sin, esp. so as to incur Church censure. Cf. Fauter.Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 49:
Against the church he had sae fau'ted, That he'd be excommunicated.

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"Faut n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2023 <>



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