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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GANT, GENT, v., n.1 Also g(a)unt; misprinted graunt (Per. 1774 Caled. Mercury (29 May)). [gɑ(:)nt, g:nt]

I. v. 1. To yawn, lit. and fig; to gape.  Also in Eng. dial. Gen.Sc. (exc. Cai.).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 119:
Gaunting bodes wanting, one of Three, Meat, Sleep or good Company.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 82:
They heed not tho' destruction come To gulp us in her gaunting womb.
Ayr. c.1789 Burns To a Gentleman 4–5:
This monie a day I've grain'd and gaunted, To ken what French mischief was brewin.
Sc. 1809 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
The waes o' duddie doublets sing, Whan gousty want gaunts o'er the hallan.
Bnff. 1823 in G. Greig Folk-Song (1914) xliii.:
All the long night Lesmore guntit, The never a wink slept he.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.
What are ye standin gentin' there for?
s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms cxxxi. 1:
Lord, my hairt isna puffet up an' pruud, nar do mine eyne, gentin', luik hie.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvi.:
Mr Monypenny, wha had been gauntin' for sometime previous . . . remarked that . . . it was wearin' towards bed-time.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo iii.:
I sat there, gantin' and sleepy . . . wi' heavy, blinkin' e'en, juist like a hoolet lookin' oot a whun buss.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl. 165:
De wer never ean at gantet bit sometin dey wantet.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 58:
Syne you'll gant and drowse, Ay, you need your bed.
Kcd. 1933 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 333:
And your man would go ganting wide as a gate . . . and still Rob Galt would sit there and habber.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 253:
... William Thom, the poor weaver, with his flute and his wheepling poesie: though dead they are more alive to me than some I could name who gant in the balcony seats today.
m.Sc. 1979 Walter Perrie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 83:
It's no the days,
sair tho they are,
but gantan nicht
I canna thole -
Lang, dreich tyauvan
wi a festert saul.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 9:
The richteous deid step oot yince mair;
Their sowels frae glory ramstam doun
Tae meet them at the gantin lair [Gael. beul na h-uaigh].

Hence †gaunt-at-the-door, n.phr., a loafer, work-shy.Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish xlii.:
Folk thought he would turn out a sort of gaunt-at-the-door, more mindful of meat than work.

2. To gasp, open the mouth wide (for breath). Also fig. (Edb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s). Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xxvi.:
When he gants his last on a rickle of cauld stanes, there will be nae friends near him.
Sc. 1932 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 364:
His speech was thick as that of a man who gants for breath.
Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 12:
We were all ganting for a cup of tea, having had none that morning.
Gsw. 1994:
Gant for - to be eager for something - especially sex.
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 70:
The thing is, her sister, she's gantin oan it ...
The Big Ride
Sc. 1998  The List (19 Nov-3 Dec) 70:
Like a Chippendale's show with a plot as skimpy as a lycra g-string, this show leaves the ganting-on-it masses sadly wanting. The action, such as it is, clunks along with no surprises ...

3. To stammer, stutter (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73, Cai.7 1954). This sense is confined to Cai.

4. To talk extravagantly, to make wild statements.Lnk. 1950 National Weekly (7 Oct.):
The people of Lesmahagow, where Mr Fraser was brought up, have a word for this. They call it “ganting.” Ordinary Glesca Scots might call it “blethering.” Yankees would dub it “shooting the bull.”

II. n. 1. A yawn (I.Sc., Inv., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., m.Lth., Ayr., Rxb. 1954). Also fig. Adj. gaunty in comb. gaunty-wise, adv., in a yawning or sleepy state (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 87).Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 19:
And a' his gaunts and gapes but prove Milk to his grief.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 91:
Twa pints o' weel-boilt solid sowins, . . . Wad scarce ha'e ser't the wretch to chew ance, Or choke a gant.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 90:
In short, we've thoughtless joys an' wants, They wealth, wi' nervous thraws an' gaunts.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 160:
So they just . . . haud doun their heads, and put up their hauns to their chafts, to conceal a suppressed gaunt.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 110:
I t'ink ye'll glaip me wi' your gant.
Sh. 1897 Shet. News (12 June):
Girzzie fetched a odious lang gant or twa.
Ags. 1904 Arbroath Guide (15 Oct.) 3:
“This life's a wearisome wey o' daein after a',” quo' I, as I gae a big gaunt.
m.Sc. 1920 “O. Douglas” Penny Plain xxii.:
That's why so many rich people have discontented faces . . . Mrs M'Cosh says, “There's mony a lang gant in a cairriage.”
Ags. 1937 Scotsman (29 May) 14:
The gant o' the gurlie tides.

2. A stammer, stutter (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73, Cai.7 1954).

[O.Sc. has gant, gaunt, yawn, gape, v. from 1456, n. from c.1470. A deriv., of uncertain formation, of O.E. gānian, to yawn. N.E.D. suggests a deriv. from an O.E. *gānettan, freq. from gānian. Cf., however, Gaan, to gaze with open mouth.]

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"Gant v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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