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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DISH, n. Sc. usages.

1. A certain quantity of butter.Sc. c.1830 Old Weights in Scotsman (31 May 1935) 15:
While some districts bought and sold butter by the pound or half or quarter pound, in others you purchased a pint, a dish or a roll of butter.

2. Phrs.: (1) a dish o' want, no food at all (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.2 1940); cf. dish o' whammlin s.v. Whammlin; (2) to see (someone) by the hens' dish (troch), to escort (someone) part of the way home (Abd.2, Abd.27 (-troch), Kcb.9 1940).(1) Mry. 1889 T. L. Mason Rafford 17:
If ye didna tak' fat ye got, ye had to tak' fat ye took in wi' ye, or chew a dish o' want for a chinge.
Mry. c.1920 D. M. Campbell W.-L.:
Should there be complaints about the dinner, the good lady of the house threatens to give the complainers a “dish o' want some day.”
Abd. 1904 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (20 Feb.):
Gin they widna tak' their pottich they sid get a dish o' want for a change.
(2) Abd. 1923 J. Wight in Swatches 59:
Wyte or Aw get ma feet in o' ma sheen, an Aw'se see ye by the hens' dish!

3. Combs.: (1) dish-board, a plate-rack. Cf. Veshell, 1. (2); †(2) dish-brow'd, flat-browed: (3) dish-cart, a crockery hawker's two-wheeled float (Kcb.10 1940); (4) dish-cloot. -clout, a dish-cloth. Gen.Sc. Now only arch. or dial. in Eng. Also fig. of something contemptible; (5) dish-faced, having a round flat face (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Kcb.10 1940); also in n.Eng. dial.; ‡(6) dishman, one who hawks crockery (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Cai.10 1930; Abd., Per., Gall. 1914 (per Abd.27)); (7) dish-nap, “the vessel dishes are washed in” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 173); (8) dish-washins, dish-water (Sh., Ork. 1975).(1) Rnf. 1748 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) X. 39:
A dishboard, dishes, plates, cogs.
(2) Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Helicon 78:
Red Hair'd, dish-Brow'd, Bladder Lipped, meikle Mow'd.
(4) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 256:
Many a time have I gotten a wipe with a Towel; but never a Daub with a Dish Clout before. Spoken by saucy Girls, when one jeers them with an unworthy Sweetheart.
Sc. 1821 Scott Kenilworth (1822) ix.:
Breakfast shall be on the board in the wringing of a dishclout [i.e. immediately].
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xiv.:
You are going . . . to the devil with a dishclout, for you are laughed at by them that lead you into these disordered bye-paths.
Ayr. 1990s:
A'm lik a washt oot dishcloot
Slk. 1824 Hogg Confessions 302:
Gin ever he observes a proud professor . . . that reards and prays till the very howlets learn his preambles, that's the man Auld Simmie fixes on to mak a dishclout o'.
(6) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 162:
This is no' fair to Micky Droozles, the dishman, ava' — . . . and I dung doon a dizzen or twa of her plaistered bowls and plates.
(7) Gall. 1901 Gallovidian III. 72:
She gat haud o' the dishnap an' startit tae wesh up the supper things.
(8) Sc. 1829 Scotch Haggis 179:
I wat naebody that e'er pree't the gude peat-reek would hae leuket at sic dish-washings.
Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 269:
Tibby wad clash a basen o' dish-washin's in my face.

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"Dish n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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