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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GIFT, n., v. Sc. usages:

I. n. †1. “A disrespectful and contemptuous term for a person” (Jam.2).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 179:
Thus Children oft with carefu' Hands, In Summer dam up little Strands . . . Till by comes some ill-deedy Gift, Wha in the Bulwark makes a Rift.

2. Sc. Law: “Applied in particular to royal gifts — e.g. gifts of non-entry, escheat, bastardy, forfeiture, ultimus haeres, all of which are royal grants proceeding on signatures, and passing the Privy Seal, Quarter Seal, or Great Seal, according as they convey rights of greater or less consequence” (Sc. 1890 Bell Dict. Law Scot. 488); “a grant by the Crown, as, e.g., in a gift of tutory, where the Exchequer appointed tutors” (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 38).

3. With def. art.: second sight. Ellipt. for “the gift of — ”.Sc. 1953 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 350:
Second Sight — Taibhsearachd — or sometimes just the Gift, is a phenomenon long associated with the Scottish Highlands. . . . Those possessed of the Gift were, not infrequently, embarrassed by it — as is proved by the known instances of people who have sought to have it exorcised by, for instance, having themselves sprinkled with water from a baptismal font.

4. Dim. giftie, in sense of power, ability, talent.Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Louse viii.:
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us!
Rnf. 1791 A. Wilson Poems 239:
An' shews, at twenty-twa, as great a giftie For painting just, as Allan did at fifty.

II. v. 1. To bestow as a gift, to present. Gen.Sc. Also in Cum. dial.Kcd. 1708 in J. A. Henderson Banchory-Devenick (1890) 272:
A Table Cloath of fine cotton, gifted by the Ministers wife for covering the Table at the Holy Communion.
Bwk. 1794 A. Lowe Agric. Bwk. 67:
To consume the whole upon the farm yearly, for manure, and not to sell, gift, or burn any.
Ayr. 1796 Burns The Trogger xi.:
Here is Murray's fragments O' the Ten Commands, Gifted by Black Jock.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 110:
W' a parton there I ance was giftit, It took three porters strang to lift it.
Sc. 1929 St Andrews Cit. (12 Jan.) 5:
Christmas found it [the shop] well supplied with pretty things for gifting.
Sc. 1936 Ib. (3 Oct.) 12:
Sir John Simon, as the new Captain of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, gifted and presented the prizes.

2. To reward.Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 229: 
'Wha winna work, shanna eat.' I'd never gift laziness.

[O.Sc. gift, v. from 1602.]

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"Gift n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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