Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WYTE, v., n. Also wyt(t), wite, wight. [wəit]

I. v. 1. (1) To blame, to impute blame or guilt to (a person or thing), to accuse (someone) of responsibility (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Ayr., Rxb. 1974). Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence witer, one who blames, an accuser (Lnk. 1825 Jam.), wytin, the blame or guilt. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 318:
They wite you, and they wite you no wrong.
Ayr. 1776  Session Papers, Fergusson v. Earl of Cassillis (16 Oct.) Proof 46:
Wyting said Goldie and Allan Macdougal as the persons who had stopped up that level.
Slk. 1807  Hogg Poems (1874) 63:
She wyted this an' she wyted that, But o' the real cause never dreamed.
Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
It wasna my faut; he canna wyte me.
Edb. 1845  T. C. Latto Minister's Kailyard 9:
I'll swear it was a startit cork, Or wyte the rusty lock.
Kcb. 1897  T. Murray Frae the Heather 40:
He kent she was kind, And faithless to wyte her ne'er entered his mind.
Abd. 1918  C. Murray Sough o' War 22:
But it blecks me to see fat it maitters to hiz, Gin Kaiser or Tsar hae the wytin' o't.
Abd. 1932  R. L. Cassie Sc. Sangs 10:
Oh, fat's come owre the Mitherlan'? I wyte the anti-Scots.
Sh. 1969  Sc. Poetry 4 57:
Neen cood wite 'ir ava.

Phrs.: (i) to wyte, to blame, at fault (ne.Sc. 1974); (ii) wyte me, used as an expletive, “blow me!” (i) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 145:
Naething to wyte but the spinning o't.
Rnf. 1815  W. Finlayson Rhymes 30:
I'll see that naething was to wyte But my ain failings.
Sh. 1914  Angus Gl.:
De'r a hantel ta wite whan onything misfares.
(ii) Sh. 1900  Shetland News (23 June):
Wyte me. Doo widna be right if doo didna dü dat.

(2) followed by for, o, wi of the charge brought (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ayr. 1785  Burns Sc. Drink xiv.:
Alake! that e'er my muse has reason To wyte her countrymen wi' treason!
Sc. 1816  Scott Black Dwarf viii.:
I wadna like to wyte an innocent neighbour wi' violence.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 120:
Joost wyte thysel' for fateing me the sphere O' rustic life.
Rnf. 1876  D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 101:
We hae forgotten God, an' we wyte him o' forgettin' us.
Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 209:
She wytes me for three barley scons And eats them a' hersel'.
Ags. 1883  J. Kennedy Poems (1920) 112:
Aft the fowk did wyte him For pawning that sad saul o' his.
Fif. 1895  S. Tytler Macdonald Lass x.:
How dare you wyte a man with the sins of his father and grandfather?
Abd. 1922  Weekly Free Press (14 Jan.) 1:
For mony times hairret frae pillar tae post, An' wytet for a'thing.

2. With (up)on: to impute (a fault) to, to put the blame for (a thing) on. Ayr. 1826  Galt Last of Lairds xxx.:
He wytted it a' on the liberty and equality speerit o' the times.
Lnk. a.1832  W. Watt Poems (1860) 194:
She wytes't upon the toothache.

II. n. 1. Blame, reproach, responsibility for some error or mischief, blameworthiness (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 132; Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 693; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Phr. in the wyte, to blame, at fault. Arg. 1714  Arg. Justiciary Rec. (Stair Soc.) II. 310:
You have the wyte of all this.
Sc. 1724  Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 77:
Laying a' the wyte On you, if she kepp ony skaith.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 57:
I'll get a' the wyte, An' me my lane be made to bear the syte.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 227:
Gie him the wyte o' a' de ill it's done in the kintry.
Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality viii.:
Haud yere tongue, ye cowardly loon, and layna the wyte on me.
Dmf. a.1834  in Burns Works (1847) II. 68:
I wat the kirk was in the wyte.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xix.:
They're sure to lay on ye the wyte of this day's accident.
Ork. 1927  Peace's Ork. Almanac 135:
Dat's mean o' du tae set da wyte api me.
Ags. 1959  Forfar Dispatch (28 May):
I cudna lay the wite at onybody's door but my nane.

Derivs.: (1) wyteless, blameless, innocent. Now only liter.; (2) wytesman, someone to bear the blame, a scapegoat; (3) witewordie, blameworthy (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). (1) Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 202:
If all be well, I's be wyteless.
Sc. 1913  H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. i.:
It's wyteless leevin whilk maks a man precious tae God.
(2) Bnff. 1929  :
Ay! ay! ye wad like me tae be your wytesman.
Mry. 1971  :
It's fine tae hae a witesman, i.e. someone to blame.

2. With possess. n. or pron.: fault, one's being to blame. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xxvii.:
It is treason for what I ken, and a' your wyte Steenie.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 200:
Aiblins it's the miller's wyte, I ken he loe's a gill.
Slk. 1835  Hogg Tales (1874) 593:
That wasna my wyte, far we had a commander, a chief o' our ain, an' when he began the fray, what could we do but follow?
Bwk. 1879  W. Chisholm Poems 95:
Gude kens hoo great their wyte!
Abd. 1920  C. Murray Country Places 1:
It wasna his wyte he was beddit sae late.
Lth. 1920  A. Dodds Songs of Fields 7:
Bit still an' on he wadna' hae 'er — Abody said 'twas her ain wyte.
Kcd. 1932  L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song (1937) 292:
Blawearie's his land, it's not his wight that others fight wars!

3. The person or thing to blame, the source of blame for some ill. Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 339:
Yet aft the fause lown sat wi' me an' grat, For that same ill o' whilk he was the wyte.
Lth. 1797  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 689:
Come tell me Jamie, what's the wyte ye mourn? Why ha'e your thoughts tain sic' a doolsom' turn?
Gall. 1843  J. Nicholson Tales 88:
Should she fa' into ane o' their Yankie log-fires — and me in a manner a' the wyte o't.

4. Harm, mischief, wrong. Per. 1887  R. Cleland Inchbracken 49:
Ye hae na come naar her this three month come Saubith, for a' the wite ye hae wrocht her.

5. Penalty, punishment. Arch. Obs. in Eng. Wgt. 1912  A.O.W.B. Fables 42:
Wisdom's wite.

[O.Sc. wyte, blame, 1450, to blame, 1500, source of blame, 1513, Mid.Eng. wite, blame, offence, O.E. wīte, penalty, wītan, to blame.]

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"Wyte v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Nov 2019 <>



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