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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ANENT, 'Nent, prep. and adv. [ə′nɛnt Sc.; ə′nænt s.Sc.]

1. prep.

(1) In a line with; on a level with; alongside of. (Also in Mid.Eng. and in Yks. dial.)ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays and Legends of the North (1908) 5:
[We] ran anent her doon the banks For half-a-mile or mair.ŏ
Abd. 1813 D. Anderson Poems 71:
Twa wee boaties . . . . . . trail'd by horses at a slow jog trot, Scarce fit to haud anent an auld wife on her foot.
Bch.(D) 1930 P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 104:
He wiz ower sax fit an' hid a terrible lang back, an' I wizna muckle bookit an' gey active, an' wi' ma less hicht mair anent the corn nor he wiz.

(2) Of persons: before the face of, in the presence of. (Also in Mid.Eng. — e.g. Wyclif.)Bnff.2 1931:
Droggie'll hae t'appear anent his betters the morn.
Abd.(D) 1924 J. C. Mathieson in Swatches o' Hamespun 60:
I niver thocht a mairret man Wad spyke sic styte anent his bairn.

(3) Of position (of persons or things): fronting, opposite, over against. (Also in Mid.Eng. and dial. Eng.) cf. Fornent.Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict. Eng. Lang. s.v.:
Anent, prep. A word used in the Scotch dialect. . . . 2. Over against, opposite to; as, he lives anent the market-house.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) xvii:
This I will say, the new city offices have made the tormented face of Marischal College anent them seem a much more human ornament.
Nai. 1927 G. Bain Dauvid Main 15:
I couls have whipped the clock aff the wall, and put it anent yer very eyes.
Abd.(D) 1931 P. Murcar Dauvit's Digressions in Abd. Ev. Express (May 30):
Jist aiven anent far we had come intae the market . . . there was a billie blawin' awa at the pipes.
n., nw.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 42:
Anent, opposite. [Marked obsol. in this sense.]

(4) Concerning, about, in view of. Gen.Sc. (Freq. in legal and quasi-legal phraseology. A Sc. use imitated by Mod.Eng. writers.)Sc. 1701 Records of a Sc. Cloth Manuf. [Hdg.] (S.H.S. 1905) 250:
Orders William Blackuood to wryt to Mr Drumond and partner anent tuo samples of wyre.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxii.:
Glossin sent for Deacon Bearcliff, to speak “anent the villain that had shot Mr Charles Hazlewood.”
Sc. 1993 Herald 3 May 10:
I write anent Duncan Campbell's article (Black magic circle, May 21) ...
Sc. 1995 John Sibbald Gibson in Conrad Wilson ed. Books in Scotland 55 12:
Anent the decision to turn back at Derby, with the state of mind of Lochiel and his fellow chiefs as revealed in his recently recovered memoir of the Rising, it was simply not possible for the Highland Army to continue its march on London...
Dundee 1986 David A. MacMurchie I Remember Another Princes Street! 34:
'Punch's' joke anent the 'growler' depicted a cabby accosting a bowler-hatted gent with 'Cab sir?' and being answered, 'No! I'm in a hurry!'
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 123:
'No, sir,' said Mitchel, grateful that the last question enabled him to answer truthfully. 'He said naethin anent thon.'
'Anent whit?' Nevay demanded sharply.
Slg. 1787 Records Shoemakers Incorp., Trans. Stirl. Arch. Soc. (1924) 47:
Anent the stands or flakes in the market, agreed that the King's freemen should stand uppermost [etc.].
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller of Deanhaugh 68:
Lawsuits anent unlawful stoppages.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds xxv.:
They'll be comin to consult you anent takin the law o' me.
s.Sc. 1873 Murray Book of Ruth, D.S.C.S. 247:
Nuw, the way thay uist-tui dui î the days aald ynna Yzrel, anænt byein', an' anænt cowpin', for tui meake aa-thung syccar, was thys. The aphetic form is occasionally found.
Abd. 18.. W. Carnie in Northern Muse (1924) 235:
'Nent horse and nowt he'd never tire, His skill confoonit Farrier Harrow.

2. adv. In front; opposite.Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross The Scot at Hame 62:
And his heid was in the cl'uds When the maister cam' anent.

[From O.E. phr. on efen (efn, emn) = on even (ground with), on a level (with); cogn. O.Sax. an eben, Ger. neben (for eneben); E.M.E. already shows an excrescent -t in onefent; anent appears in 14th cent., also anente, anentes (and anende, anendes), with dat. and genit. adv. suffixes; and as in other such adverbs — -e.g. agains(t) — a -t appears after the -s, anentist, anenst. Of the two forms which survived, anenst and anent, anent remained in Sc. and north. Eng. and anenst chiefly in midl. and south. Eng. While anenst survives in dial.Eng. and also in s.Sc. dial., it is obs. (since 17th cent.) in St.Eng. — O.Sc. has anent, over against; in the eyes of; in respect of, concerning; also anentis, anence, etc.]

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"Anent prep., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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