Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPLIT, v., n. Also splett (Sc. 1709 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 93); splut. Dim. form splittie. See also Spleet. Sc. forms and usages:

I. v. A. Forms. Inf. and pr.t., as above; pa.t. strong: splat (Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 127), splet (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 207; Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Ags., Lth. 1971); splut (Abd. 1961 P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 4); pa.p. mixed: splet (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 207; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.), splut (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268), splitten (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 207), spletten (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein.)

B. Usages: 1. In Curling: to separate two stones lying close together by striking them with a third. Gen.Sc. Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie II. 114:
If ye would split these two stones ye might drawn in, and lie. . . . He has split the guards and carried away Robert Simpson's stone.

2. To part the hair (Uls. 1930; Slg., w.Lth., wm., sm.Sc. 1971). Bnff. c.1927:
“Split ma heid, Mither” = “part (or shed) my hair”.

3. Combs. and phr.: (1) splitbelly, a herring which has been torn in being removed from the net (Fif. 1971); (2) split-birse, a cobbler. See Birse; (3) split-fingery, a throw in the game of knifie (see quot.); (4) to split an oath, to curse and swear (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). (1) Sc. 1865 J. G. Bertram Harvest of Sea 247:
There are comparisons and calculations about “crans” and barrels, and “broke” and “splitbellies” and “full fish” and “lanks”.
(2) Kcd. a.1826 J. Burness The Recruit (1846) 32:
Old Split Birse, you must go with me.
(3) Bnff. 1966 Banffshire Advert. (17 March) 8:
Split-fingery was a dicey shot, the blade being slid between the fingers and the handle struck sharply with the free hand. If you were not an adept . . . you would finish the shot with a nasty gash.

II. n. 1. As in Eng., a splitting or cleaving. Comb. split-new, as new as split wood, brand new, completely new (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 38, 1808 Jam.: m.Sc. 1971). See Spleet, II. 1. Splint, Splinter. Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 11:
Twa site of clais, ane double blew, And ane of tartan, maist split new.
Fif. 1872 G. Cupples Tappy's Chicks 121:
I've carried five hunner pounds in split-new bank notes.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 224:
Hes she a new plyde? Splut new: peyd for or no'!
Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 445:
A split new board intimating that John Simpson, general grocer, was his own boss.

2. (1) In weaving: a small piece of split reed or cane, later replaced by thin metal, forming one of the divisions through which the warp thread passes in a loom (em.Sc.(a), wm. and s.Sc. 1971); hence the space between the reeds. Hence splitful, the two warp threads, alternately upper and lower, which pass between each pair of splits. Sc. 1748 Rec. Elgin (S.C.) I. 188:
The web of 1200 wrought two's in a reed containing 1200 splits upon 40½ in.
Per. 1773 in Fergusson Poems (Grossart 1879) 76:
Whan first I sey'd the riddle makin', The splits they aften took a brakin'.
Sc. 1807 J. Duncan Art of Weaving I. 15, 22:
The third rod divides the warp into what is usually called splitfuls; for two threads, alternately, pass over and under it, and these two threads also pass through the same interval betwixt the splits of the reed. . . . The splits of the reed generally consist of thin pieces of split reed or cane, from whence both the names reed and split are derived.
Sc. 1839 A. Ure Dict. Arts 1056:
In Scotland, the splits of cane which pass between the longitudinal pieces or ribs of the reed, are expressed by hundreds, porters, and splits. The porter is 20 splits.

(2) A single thread in plain linen work (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

3. A quarrel, rift, rupture in friendly relations or co-operation. Now St. Eng. but appar. of Sc. orig. Dim. splittie, id. (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Sc. 1729 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) III. 439:
What was to be done to guard against a split among ourselves.
Sc. 1826 Scott Diary (21 Jan.):
The split between Constable and Cadell.

[O.Sc. splite new, 1689.]

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"Split v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <>



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