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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

TARGET, n. Also targat, -it; terget; tairget and dim. form tairglet (Rxb. 1923 Watson). [′tɑrgət; s.Sc. ′tergət] Sc. forms and usages of Eng. target.

Sc. forms:  Gsw. 1915 Ian Hay The First Hundred Thousand (1985) 50:
"Invisible objects half a mile away are not easily pointed out with the finger." But Corporal King, who earned his stripes by reason of physical rather than intellectual attributes, can only contribute a lame reference to "a bit hedge by yon dyke, where there's a kin' o' hole in the tairget". ... "Very good. Let the platoon practise describing targets to one another ... "

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., a light round shield with a spike in the boss, a buckler. The word survived in use in Scot. in the 18th c. as applied to the shield used by Highlanders. Hist.Per. 1715 A. G. M. MacGregor Hist. Clan Gregor (1901) II. 285:
A strong handsome target, with a sharp pointed steel of above half an ell in length screwed into the navel of it, on his left arm.
Sc. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 313:
Every man carry his own arms as well tergets as others.
Sc. 1773 Boswell Journal (15 Sept.):
There is hardly a target now to be found in the Highlands. After the disarming act, they made them serve as covers to their buttermilk barrels.
Sc. 1810 Scott Lady of Lake iii. xxvii.:
Their targets gleam, as by the boat A wild and warlike group they stand.
Sc. 1869 C. Boutell Arms and Armour (1874) 164:
The Scots auxiliary troops, who took a part with the French forces at the battle of Fontenoy, appeared with shields or targets.
Sc. 1962 J. T. Dunbar Hist. Highl. Dress 207:
In the Scottish National Museum of Antiquities there is a fine collection of targets.

2. A disc or medallion of precious metal, sometimes inlaid with jewels, and worn as a pendant ornament on the hat or cap, esp. in the 16th c. Hist.Sc. 1724 Johnie Armstrong in Child Ballads No. 169 C. xxvi.:
Ther hang nine targats at Johnys hat, And ilk ane worth three hundred pound.

3. A long narrow shred of cloth, a tatter (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh. 1972); transf. an oddly or untidily dressed person (Mry., Abd. 1972).Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 143:
Their duds in targets flaff upo' their back.
Sc. 1799 Scots Mag. (July) 470:
My claithes are a' to targets worn.
Ags. 1853 Brechin Advert. (15 March) 4:
A target o' claith on my back ca'd a coat.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 27:
A great target o' black braid hingin' frae the tail o' her goon.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 20:
Hei's stoory claes war aa tairgets an spatches an faizzent-ends.

4. A thin strip of flesh, esp. one hanging from a lacerated wound (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 467); a long thin shred or slice of dried skate (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Ib.; Sh. 1972).Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 125:
The weight of ilka codroch chiel, That does my skin to targits peel.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminiscences 56:
A train blawn up i' the air like peelins o' ingins and comin' doon in targets like raw skate.

5. A thin poor-conditioned animal (Bnff. 1972).Bnff. 1930:
Far did ye get that target o' a stirkie? Ye surely didna pey muckle for't.

6. In dim. form tairglet, n., an icicle (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

[O.Sc. has target, = 2., 1507.]

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"Target n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Oct 2022 <>



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