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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BAT,2 BATT, n. and v.

1. n.

(1) A blow, a stroke; in pl., a beating.Sc. 1904 Dick o the Cow in Ballads (ed. Child) No. 185 xx.:
But up bespake another young man, We'le nit him in a four-nooked sheet, Give him his burden of batts, and lett him gae.
Lth. 1825 Jam.2; Lnl.1 1933:
Bat. A blow on the side of the head.
Arg.2 1933:
Bat. Familiar to me = “blow,” not necessarily violent.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 49:
A bat i' the mooth.
Uls. 1929 (per Uls.2):
He gave me a bat of a stick.

(2) “A gust of wind” (Cai.4 c.1920). “In Fetlar and n.Sh. not so strong as a ‘flan'” (Sh.4 1933).Ork. 1929 Marw.:
The boat got a b[att] o' wind that capsized her.

(3) A fight.Edb. 1898 J. Baillie Walter Crighton 91:
One of the boys asked if they had ever heard the story of the “bat” with the Colinton folks.

(4) Position or situation.Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 9:
A guid bat = a canty way of living, even applicable to one's business position, where a guid bat would mean a comfortable situation.

(5) Phrases: (a) Aboot a bat, equal in respect of ability. w.Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw; s.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slk. 1825 Jam.2

(b) Aboot the auld bat. (See quot.)Rxb.(D) 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 9:
Aboot the auld bat (= in the ordinary state).

(c) Keep at the batt, keep working.Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales (1821) I. 377:
Though he's nae bad hand when he's on the loom, it is nae easy matter to keep him at the batt.

(d) On the bat. (See quot.)e.Lth. c.1925 (per Lnk.5):
Am just on the bat = I am pretty well.

(6) in dim. form battie, the best one can accomplish. Cf. (5) (a). Arg.11934: 
He had heard the word in connection with the raising of a 56 lb. weight to the height of the uplifted right arm. A man in his presence managed this after a tremendous effort, whereupon one of the bystanders exclaimed "That's your battie, Jimmy."

(7) in dim. form batties, what has been beaten or pounded, mashed potatoes. Cf. v. (1). Gall. 1884 D. McWhirter Ploughboy's Musings 76: 
The beetle danced, the spurtle flew, Sae palped them intae Batties.

2. v.

(1) To beat; press or beat down.Ags. 1815 W. Gardiner Poems and Songs chiefly in Sc. Dial. 22:
Sae, Nick, if ye've gat him, hard gouff him an' bat him.

ppl.adj.Abd. 1844 W. Thom Rhymes 38:
Like beildless birdies when they ca' Frae wet, wee wing the batted snaw.

(2) To give an indication, to “split” or “let on.”Rxb.(D) 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes and Knowes 21:
An A never luit bat [let on].
[Cf. Eng. dial. bat the eye, to blink or move the eye. Also American dial. See Century Mag. (1833) May, 146.]

(3) To fight.Edb. 1898 J. Baillie Walter Crighton 14:
Say “bat” when ye speak about fechting, Wattie. [Given as v. in Gloss.]

[O.Sc. bat, n. = a stroke or blow; v. = to beat or strike. Fr. battre, to beat, Lat. battuere. Prob. Bat1 and Bat2 have a common origin, but for some of the meanings of Bat2 cf. Norw. bad, strife, and bada, to press down.]

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"Bat n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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