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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WEET, adj., n., v.1 Also weit (Sc. 1776 Sir Patrick Spens in Child Ballads No. 58 B. ix.), wiet (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 90). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wet (Edb. 1711 W. Mitchel 1st Part Testament 6; Abd. c.1780 A. Watson Wee Wifeikie (1921) 8; Rnf. 1982 Geordie in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 132; Sc. 1896 Stevenson W. of Hermiston vi.; Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 53; Ags. 1918 J. Ingles The Laird 12; Cai. 1928 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 Feb.); Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. See also Wat, adj. [wit]

I. adj. As in Eng. ne.Sc. 1991 Lilianne Grant Rich in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 23:
Skirlin and lauchin, ilk wi spindrift weet,
At the waves' edge the bairns their taes try in
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 19:
"Snoovin, scomfishin snakes that ye are,
The hiss o yer music gars me grue;
Yer dooble tung's praise is ill tae thole
Wi its tip aw weit wi pushionous dew. ... "
Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 5:
It's a reishlin wind
through a stand o birks
at the weet back end o the year.

Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) weet bird, the chaffinch, Fringilla caelebs, so called from its call “weet-weet,” supposed to prognosticate rain (Slg. 1885 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. 62); (2) weetie, -y, weitie, wet, damp, rainy (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., ne., em.Sc. 1973); (3) weetness, (i) rain, wet weather (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (ii) any drinkable liquid (Peb. Ib.); (4) wet-shoe, in phr. by wet-shoe ford, by wading; (5) weet thow, a thaw accompanied by rain.(2) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 123:
In sun-shine, and in weety weather.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 42:
To clear his bogs o' weitie rainin'.
Ags. 1830 Perthshire Adv. (29 July):
A windy winter, and a weety spring, — A new king, and a bloody ring.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 241:
The spring time was weety and cauld.
Abd. 1958 Abd. Ev. Express (2 Aug.):
There is the classic story, too, of the man clinging to the wreckage of a shed being swept down the Dee who called out to a farmer as he whirled past, “Aye, min, it's a gey weetie day!”
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 65:
At best short sun-blinks
atween the weety louer o cloods
ne.Sc. 1991 Alastair Mackie in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 69:
Aathing conters ye. Weety weather,
the oot lichts, the auld rickle o a hoose
yarkit by a blouter o wind
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 19:
The cheengefu lift bleeds blae,
Colours mell and mirl,
A mixter-maxter cumulus o pearl,
A weety, sulky haar.
(3) (ii) Rxb. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 8:
Yet where we hae nae milk, ye see, We hae nae other weetness.
(4) Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 94:
You've gane waur gaits than o'er by wet-shoe ford.
(5) Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (19 June) 7:
A “weet thow” was followed by a night of intense frost.

II. n. 1. Rain, drizzle (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis): dew. Gen.Sc.Ork. 1705 H. Marwick Merchant Lairds (1936) I. 21:
The wind is just now come up westardly with rug weet.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 83:
Thof to the weet my ripen'd aits had fawn.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To a Daisy ii.:
The bonie Lark, companion meet! Bending thee 'many the dewy weet!
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 211:
The first o' them is wun and weet, The second it is snaw and sleet.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (22 May):
A shug o' sma' weet.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 50:
The berry busses hing wi' weet.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 75:
Weet in May an' heat in June, fesses the hairst soon.
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 97:
"I dinno ken whit thoo're yappin' aboot," snapped Audrey, "an I dinno ken whit thoo're skulkin' aboot here for in the weet, ... "
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 110:
This is the laund that bigs the winds; winds big the cloods;
the cloods, the weit, the weit, the grun; an antrin steer
o syle an rain.
Edb. 2004:
Dinnae stand there in the weet, come in!

2. A drink of liquor or other beverage. Also in colloq. Eng.Sc. 1748 Smollett Roderick Random xiv.:
You shall give me leave to treat you with a wet this cold raw morning.
Ayr. 1817 D. McKillop Poems 70:
Johnny ran for barley weet.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 184:
To gang ower wi' them to Jenny Brockie's an' hae a weet afore takin the road.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Feb.):
A' da trackle we hed ta get a weet o' mylk o' wir ain.

3. A wetting, soaking.Fif. 1901 G. Setoun Skipper Barncraig xv.:
People who live by the seaside distinguish between a ‘saut weet' and a ‘fresh weet'. To be soaked with rain might bring on an attack of rheumatism, but after falling into the harbour, one might let his clothes dry on him without the risk of a chill.

III. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. weet (Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 88; Ork. 1757 Session Papers, Galloway v. Morton (12 Nov.) 212; Abd. 1766 Session Papers, Fordyce v. Menzies (23 Dec.) 10; Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 86; Ayr. 1873 A. Aitken Poems 54; Fif. 1897 G. Setoun George Malcolm viii.; Abd. 1944 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 370). Gen.Sc. Pa.t. weak wat (Sc. 1776 Sir Patrick Spens in Child Ballads No. 58 B. xii., 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xiii.; Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 82; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o Buchan 35; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai); later, by new formation, weetit (Gen.Sc.), weeteet (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 209; Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 7). Pa.p. weak wat, coalescing with Wat, adj. (Ayr. 1785 Burns 3rd Ep. to J. Lapraik iii., vi.; Abd. 1857 J. Davidson Poems (1861) 40; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Wettstein; Zai), later weetit, -ed (Gen.Sc.), weeteet (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S.; Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 7). Wat was later thought of as a strong form and hence the strong pa.p. form wutten (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 275; Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.; Abd. 1973) [wʌtn]. Deriv. weeten (Edb. 1925), also in Yks. dial.

B. Usages. 1. As in Eng., lit. and fig. Derivs. (1) wetters, a wetting (see quot.); (2) weetin, a quantity of liquor, a carousal (Slg., Fif., Lth. 1973). Also in colloq. Eng.(1) Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Ti get yin's wetters, to get one's trousers wet (as when wading a stream).
(2) Abd. c.1803 D. Anderson Sawney and John Bull 31:
Such are th' effects o' clubs an' meetings. Whan they come to excessive weetings.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 112:
We ate and drank, and sic a weetin, As we twa had at our first meetin'.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 41:
Let me see my drink [of water] as it is, if ye'll no pit a weetin' in't.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (26 June) 546:
I'll juist hae a weetin an' gi'e ye a verse or twa.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Miners 48:
We'll maybe manage tae draw a weetin' oot o' him.

Combs. and phrs.: (1) weet-my-fit, -foot, -feet, the landrail or corncrake, Crex crex, so called in imitation of its cry (Kcd. 1810 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 396; Per., Fif., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; e.Lth. 1867 W. P. Turnbull Birds 22; Ayr. 1869 Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Gsw. 300; Wgt. 1878 Zoologist II. 427; Uls. 1907 Northern Whig (30 Nov.)). For Willie we(e)t feet, see Willie; (2) to weet one's coat sleeve, to wet another's sleeve with saliva as a challenge to fight; (3) to wet one's eye, to make one weep.(2) Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 37:
Nane wad gie him the coochers, or weet his coat sleeve.
(3) Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 95:
But the sleeky auld priest he wat an eye In sackcloth gowns.

2. In allusion to drinking: (1) in phrs. to weet one's or the craig, -crystal, -gab, -hause, -leather, -mou, -neb, -thrapple, -throttle, -wizzen, etc. See under the nouns.Sc. 1725 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) ii. 161:
Ye're ay sae good-humour'd when weeting your mou.
Rnf. 1799 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 123:
Whether a frien'ly, social meetin, . . . Or benders blest your wizzens weetin.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 117:
The usqueba, our gabs shall weet.
Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Auld Clay Biggin' 154:
Til wet crystal i' Davy's wishin' them a prosperous voyage.

(2) to celebrate with a drink, to drink to the success of (see quots.). Also in colloq. Eng. To weet the bairn's heid, to toast the health of a new-born baby. Gen.Sc.Slg. 1896 W. Harvey Kennethcrook 51:
‘Weeting the Wab' was one of the customs of Kennethcrook. This was a dram given by the weaver to the driver of the coach, for which the driver was expected to be as gentle with the cloth as possible during its journey to Glasgow, and over which he pledged the weaver's health and wished him a speedy sale.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-net 21:
Come ower to the inn an' we'll weet the bargain.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters 102:
C'way into the Red Lion then, and we'll wet the bargain with a drink to make it hold the tighter.
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 398:
The ceremony of drinking the child's health at birth (“wettin' the bairn's heid”).

3. To rain (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis).Sc. 1825 Jam.:
It's ga'in to weet. It's weetin'.

[O.Sc. wete, weyt, to wet, bedew, 1375, weit, wet, sodden, 1438, rain, wet weather, 1480, weittie, wettish, 1614, O.E. wǣt, wet, wetness, wǣtan, to wet, Sc. having kept the orig. long vowel as opposed to the shortening in Eng. wet. See also note to Wat, adj.]

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"Weet adj., n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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