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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TICHT, adj., adv., v., n. Also †tycht-. Gen.Sc. form and usages of Eng. tight (Dmf. 1738 W. S. Crockett Scott Originals (1932) 416; Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 559; Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sketches 162; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Hence tichtish (Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 47). [tɪçt; Rxb. təi(ç)t]

I. adj.

Sc. form of Eng. tight (Sh., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Ayr., Dmf., Kcb., Rxb. 2000s).m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 39:
Closed abuin his heid, he'd got baith neives
Ticht on the stentit rope, and free'd his haus.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 16:
Efter a span o thocht it's doon on his hunkers,
Peerin at ilka blade
"Yon's growin, yon's deid,"
Nid-nodded he, richt eident at the darg
He might hae been the maister at the schule
Heid stecht wi lear
His twa feet ticht in God's grat muckle boots.

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng. Sc. phrs.: ticht i' the drag, hard-pressed with work, busy (Knr., Fif. 1930), fig. from taut traces in harness, as in strait theats s.v. Theat, n., 1. Cf. also Drag, 3.; ticht graith, “applied to one of doubtful or bad reputation” (ne.Sc. 1885 Folk-Lore Jnl. II. 108), from the same metaphor with a different application. See Graith, n., 3.

2. (1) Of things: stingy, scrimp, in short supply; of persons: illiberal, parsimonious, close-fisted. Gen.Sc., also in colloq. Eng. Phr. ticht o' the grip, id.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 26:
Though Jenny Whalbert and her man were middlin' ticht o' the grup, Stair fairly oot-Heroded them baith.
Mry. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (25 Sept.) 3:
Nae ticht-wecht noo, wifie.
Abd. 1955 Huntly Express (4 March):
She wid haud us ticht o' mait.

(2) hard-pressed for money, short of cash (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc.Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 184:
Keep yer father ticht, an' try tae wile 'im fae the drink.
Abd. 1940:
I wad like fine to mak a contribution but I'm a bittie ticht eennoo.

(3) well-provided with money, “flush”, fig. from one's purse being stuffed, the opposite of Slack, adj., 1.Fif. 1951:
Are ye ticht or slack?

(4) of a shot at curling: having too much bias, curving short of the tee, narrow (Kcb. 1972).

3. Compact in figure, well-formed, well-built, shapely. Arch. or dial. in Eng.Abd. 1767 Abd. Journal (30 March):
Alexander Grant is a tight well-shaped well complexioned Man.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
A clean-shankit, straught, tight, weel-far'd winch.
Bnff. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 139:
The black cattle here are generally small, but of a very tight Highland breed.
Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 153:
Sandy was a lad o' vigour, Clean an' tight o' lith an' lim'.
m.Lth. 1811 H. MacNeill Bygane Times 51:
Twa tight hizzies serve as weel As flunkies cock't ahint coach wheel.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 70:
Her gentle form baith tight and clean.
wm.Sc. 1934 J. Bridie Marriage is no Joke (1936) 3:
There's her, a ticht, weel-made bit quey wi' coots on her like a geerauffe.

4. (1) Of persons: neat, trim, smart, tidily or carefully dressed (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193; Abd. 1929).Per. 1713 R. S. Fittis Hist. Per. (1874) 14:
Keeping themselves neat and tight in their clothing.
Sc. 1750 Scots Mag. (March) 113:
Frae Allan's house there cam a lassie tight, And snod as e'er ye saw.
Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 39:
In order dress'd sae clean and tight.
Abd. 1879 A. F. Murison Memoirs 214:
A nice tight frank young girl.

(2) of things: neatly kept or arranged, tidily ordered, snug (Sh., ne.Sc., Slg., w.Lth., Ayr., Wgt. 1972). Now dial. in Eng. Adv. tichtly, neatly, tidily.Ayr. 1787 Burns Lament W. Creech ii.:
Auld Reekie ay he keepit tight, And trig an' braw.
Dmf. 1828 Carlyle Early Life (Froude 1882) II. 48:
Were it once dried it will be the bieldest, tightest mansion of its sort within some miles.
Abd. 1831 Aberdeen Mag. (Dec.) 638:
His wordy wife Hauds a' thing tight about the house.
Bnff. 1871 Banffshire Jnl. (26 Dec.) 7:
It's an unco convenience ti get it pitten behan sae seen an' sae tichtly.
Bnff. 1920 Banffshire Jnl. (14 Dec.):
Peys heed that a' thing's ticht aboot the toon.
Abd. 1959 Huntly Express (23 Jan.):
They grudgingly admitted that the work “wis middlin' ticht”.

5. Competent, capable, active, alert, vigorous. Also in Eng. dial. Hence ticht-handed, neat and deft at work, adept. Adv. tichtly, vigorously, energetically, smartly.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) V. 177:
Madge & Bauldy feight it tightly.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 128:
But well I kend she cud it tightly dyce.
Dmb. 1777 Weekly Mag. (3 July) 20:
I'm nae sae tight as anes I us'd to be.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To his Auld Mare ii.:
He should been tight that daur't to raize thee.
Peb. 1793 R. D. C. Brown Hist. Dramas (1832) V. 67:
Wi' cauler shankis, and kyltit coats, Here trampit Kate fu' tychtly.
s.Sc. 1809 T. Donaldson Poems 41:
Yet after she gat hale an' tight, She'd gie them battle.
Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (28 Feb.):
Came home late . . . but worked tightly in the evening.
n.Sc. 1840 D. Sage Memorabilia (1889) 177:
One of the tightest and most active of Highlanders.
Edb. 1869 J. Smith Poems 36:
When tichtly, an' sprichtly, We jumpit mony a stair.
Lnk. 1873 A. Murdoch Doric Lyre 47:
But tichtly he'd get up again, The better for the brunt.
Arg. 1896 N. Munro Lost Pibroch 121:
But troth it's yourself is the tight one, and I would have liked a bit of the old game.
Gall. 1912 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 292:
She was a trig, ticht-handed body.

6. Of ale: full of substance, strong, brisk.Sc. a.1758 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 302:
Besides a pint of Tipon-tight.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 19:
There weel play'd nappie tart an' tight.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 59:
My yill . . . was but sma', Though mony thought wha had nae skill, It tight an' bra'.

7. Strict, rigorous, severely critical, censorious (Cai. 1972). Adv. tichtly, in a hard severe manner.Ayr. 1786 Burns Inventory 41–2:
An' ay on Sundays duly nightly, I on the questions targe them tightly.
Sc. 1808 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) II. 54:
Jeffrey shewed me yesterday a very sharp review of it . . . as tight a one as he has written.
Sc. 1819 Scott Leg. Montrose ii.:
I learned the rules of service so tightly, that I will not forget them in a hurry.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 24:
When they the rogue had tichtly licket, And out his borrow't feathers picket.
Abd. 1880 G. Webster Crim. Officer 87:
Aidam hedna min'et sae vera muckle, Though he [the minister] was gey ticht wi' 'im.
Gall. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xiv.:
This pairish needs its releegion tightly threshed into it wi' a flail.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xi. 17:
He'se get his ain skin tichtlie het for him sune or syne.
Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (11 April):
Yir ticht lek on 'e “Grout” 'e nicht.

II. adv. Tightly, strictly; attentively, closely; neatly, tidily.Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 74:
It's wordit baith as right an' tight As Rob cou'd dune.
Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mountain Strains 40:
I soon was fill'd an' wip'd fu tight.
Edb. 1866 J. Smith Merry Bridal 38:
Ticht bund was I for seven lang years.
Dmf. 1929 Scotch Readings (Paterson) 15:
I'm no' sae far up [in music] as I micht hae been had I ta'en mamma's advice and watched the organist tichter.
Abd. 1970 Huntly Express (17 April) 2:
There's nae a tichter keepit toon than your's.

Hence: 1. to tak (somebody) ticht, to make things difficult for, to deal rigorously with (Kcb. 1972); 2. tight-bound, having a sturdy figure, well-made; 3. ticht hauden, -hadden, hard-pressed, harassed (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; sm.Sc., Rxb. 1972).2. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 439:
Strapping Hizzies, tight-bound girls, females of a strong well-knit frame.
3. Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 22:
He's a gey guid heed for bizniss, bit ei's verrih ticht-haaden for money.

III. v. 1. To tighten, brace, make close, secure, watertight, etc. (Sc. 1825 Jam.; I., n. and m.Sc. 1972); to stretch, tighten (Lnk. 1880 Jam.). Obs. or dial. in Eng.Sc. 1705 Acts Parl. Scot. XI. 296:
That the barrells be made of good timber well tichted.
Sc. 1751 Session Papers, Coopers of Perth v. Davidson (28 Jan.) 17:
The Coopers of Perth must infallibly have been called upon to tight the Girds, if any leakage had then been discovered.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 28:
Vagrant gentry, wha hae tichted Taxation's bans.
Sc. 1911 “Viking” Fishcuring 3:
On the following or second morning the herrings should be filled up level, the ends put in and “tighted”, and the barrels laid on their sides.

2. To put in order, make neat or tidy, also with up. Also in Eng. dial.Nai. 1828 W. Gordon Poems 31:
And Janet had a waefu' trade, Before she got him tightit.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193:
The tichtan ahin thim wiz nae aisy maitter.

IV. n. 1. A tightening (Sh., ne.Sc., Per., Ayr., Kcb. 1972).Abd. 1921:
Gie that screw anither ticht.

2. A setting in order, a tidying up. Also ticht-up.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193:
She ga' the hoose a kyne o' a ticht.

Ticht adj., adv., v., n.

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"Ticht adj., adv., v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Feb 2023 <>



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