Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).

PETTICOAT, n. Also piticote, erron. nitocitt (Sc. 1747 V. Jacob Lairds of Dun (1931) 263), pity coat (Abd. c.1700 New Bk. Old Ballads (Maidment 1885) 11). Dim. petticoatie (Ayr. 1794 Burns Coming through the Rye i.). Sc. forms and usages:

1. In comb. petticoat tails, triangular short-cake biscuits cut out of a round, having the outer edge scalloped like a petticoat (Sc. 1806 Mrs. Frazer Cookery 210). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
Such making of car-cakes and sweet scones, Selkirk bannocks, cookies and petticoat-tails.
Sc. 1821 Scots Mag. (March) 196:
The glories of an ancient tea-equipage, where plates of whigs, cuckies, and petticoat-tails, contended with buttered bread and jellies for the preference of being eaten.
Sc. 1849 M. Dods Manual 540:
An English traveller in Scotland and one very well acquainted with France, states in his very pleasant book that our club have fallen into a mistake in the name of these cakes, and that petticoat tails is a corruption of the French Petites Gatelles. It may be so: in Scottish culinary terms there are many corruptions, though we rather think the name Petticoat tails has its origin in the shape of the cake, which is exactly that of the bell-hoop petticoat of our ancient Court ladies.
Sc. 1887 Pall Mall Gaz. (27 Dec.) 5:
Yorkshire Parkin, Simnel cake, and Scotch petticoat tails are to be found among a host of local delicacies.
Sc. 1957 Bk. Braemar Gathering xliii.:
The supreme Scotch Shortbread — Braemar (fingers) per tin 4/6 & 9/6, Lochnagar (fingers) 6/-, Petticoat Tails (pieces) 5/-.

2. In reduced form petty, a short woollen undervest or waistcoat worn by men (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.).

[The suggested Fr. etymology of petticoat tails is quite untenable. See 1849 quot.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Petticoat n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: