Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THING, n.1, v. Also ¶thyng (Inv. 1911 Buchan Observer (10 April 1962) 7. Cf. P.L.D. § 147); and I.Sc. form ting (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 40). See T, letter, 9, (1) (v). The pl. form thing (O.E. þing) survives in certain locutions. See I. 5. Sc. forms and usages. [θɪŋ; I.Sc. tɪŋ]

I. n. 1. Reason, cause. Obs. in Eng. Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
He has done that, they say, for less thing.

2. Kind, sort, stuff (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), with reference to a previous noun specifying the material or object and used to avoid repeating the noun (Per., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1972). Thing is here unstressed and almost equivalent to a suff. as in Eng. something, nothing. Slk. 1832 Hogg Altrive Tales cxiv.:
The lang sheep hae the short woo, and the short sheep hae the lang thing.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 68:
It's a real pleesure gettin' a toothfu' o sic guid thing.
s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 198:
I've some mair paper, but it's no sic guid thing as that. Wad ye like some black ink, or some blue thing?
Edb. 1886 R. F. Hardy Within a Mile xii.:
Here's a' yer healths in guid spring watter. It'll maybe dae ye as muckle gude as if I had drank i' the ither thing.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 78:
I dinna like saut butter; hae ye nae sweet thing?
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 22:
Mask iz a pickl new thing.
Ayr. 1960:
At table: “Will ye hae white breid or the broun thing (i.e. brown bread)?”

3. Amount, quantity, number, extent, cost, gen. preceded by some defining adj. as unco, gey, awfu (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 192). Gen.Sc. Formerly occas. without the indef. art., and sometimes without o(f) following. See O, prep., 1.(5). Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 151:
It does not run over it when there is a moderate thing of water in the river.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) v.:
We can get plenty o' that for little thing.
Rxb. 1825 R. Wilson Hist. Hawick 75:
I understand little thing can be brought against you o' this day's mischief.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 131:
What an awfu' thing o' port the doctor drank.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
My uncle made jist an ondeemas thing o' Siller.
Per. 1881 D. Macara Crieff 89:
Great show he made, wi' a wee thing o' wark.
Per.4 1972:
Will ye hae a wee thing soup? I could dae wi a wee thing sleep.

Hence phr. a wee or sma' thing(ie), used adv. modifying an adj., somewhat, rather, a little (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 13:
Tho' she may gang a wee thing high kilted at times.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales 97:
The lad wis a sma' thing affrontit.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 116:
Ye'll jist haud a wee thingie better again.
Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (26 Oct.) 3:
Ye micht hae come hame a wee thing earlier.
Kcb. 1912 W. Burnie Poems 99:
Had she been a wee thing mair humble Or maybe a wee thing less blind.
Sc. 1948 Scots Mag. (August) 344:
Some folks thought he was getting a wee thing big for his boots.

4. As in Eng., an animate or inanimate object, used, esp. in Sh., of persons as a term of self-depreciation, endearment or pity. Phrs. the thing that's awa, used of a dead person, phs. with taboo significance; ting o' lass, — bairn, etc., affectionately of a girl, child, etc. (I.Sc., Cai. 1972). Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44:
That things o' buns hae nae farrach at a' i' the noo.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 50:
Bit tings o lasses flinks aboot Wi aa dis cüreis bits o cloot.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 5, 9:
I thocht hit a sin Ta brukkle da sweet ting o flooer. . . . Du lauchs at da thing at leks dee weel.
Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 1:
Every livan' t'ing o' folk kind 'at was eeble tae pit ae fit afore anither.
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. 121:
Blissins poored ipo da ting o bairn.
Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Oct.–Nov.) 22:
Juist whit can keep da wan ting a coo, an a dizen lambs.
Sh. 1959 New Shetlander No. 52. 30:
Taking a child “to view da Dust” — and asking the child to lay its hand on the dead. It was understood that the touching was “so that the Thing-at's-awa shouldna staand afore you.”

5. Used as a pl. in special usages: (1) as in A'thing, q.v., aa ither thing, everything else (ne.Sc. 1972), a'thing, everything —, ‡monie thing, many things, the thing that, those that. See article heading above; (2) and thing, and so on, et cetera (s.Sc. 1972). (1) Abd. 1825 Jam.:
Send me mair bukes; I've read the thing that I hae.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 27:
Bare eneuch, an' fou o' a' ull thing.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A've other thing adae.
Abd. 1960:
There's monie thing ye dinna ken, laddie.
(2) Rxb. 1914 Hawick News (31 July) 4:
Watchin' them catchin the sawmon an' thing.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 19:
She'd a graund set-oot for oo — aa her guid cheenie an thing.

II. v. Used as a substitute for the correct content-word which has been forgotten or avoided, “to what d'ye call it.” Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 60:
A young man who purposed marriage said, “I want to be thing'd as my brither Georthie was fernar.”

[O.Sc. thing, amount, c.1500. For the form thyng cf. O.Sc. theyng, 1488. ]

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"Thing n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jan 2021 <>



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