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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DOITER, v. Also †doitter, dighter, †dytter, doither; ditter. [′dɔɪtər, ′dɪtər Sc., Abd. and Ayr. + ′dəitər]

1. To walk or move unsteadily, to totter, stumble; to flit about; to potter, hang about (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 223, dytter; Bnff.2, Abd.9 (doiter, dighter), Fif.10 1940; Slk. 1947 (per Abd.27), ditter; Uls.2 1929, doit(h)er). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. xi.:
I wan up wi' a warsle an' fan' I could doiter o'er the stenners.
Sc. 1934 Scotsman (25 Aug.) 10:
Through Jùly gloamin ditterin, A silly baukiebird alang The deid-quate ruifs is chitterin.
Abd. 1929 P. Baxter in Scots Mag. (March) 451:
Noo, I gaed ditterin' roon the biggin', and I cam' on a lean-to shed far the boiler was.
Fif.14 c.1942:
“Is that no him A hear doiteran alang the road?” said a St Andrews Home Guard contemptuously of his platoon commander, who walks with a very slight limp.
Fif. 1947 (per Fif.14):
He was kept back or delayed or something of the kind “ditterin for ma mate.”
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 262:
Auld care gangs doiterin' by my door.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 263:
We totter through the birkie bank, an doiter owre the brae.

2. (1) intr. “To dote, to become superannuated” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2). Now only in ppl.adj. = stupid, confused, witless, gen. from old age (Fif.10 1940; Ayr.4 1928, m.Lth. 1990s; Edb., Dmf. 2000s) dightered; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn., doithered). Also in Nhb. dial.Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi.:
I gaed aboot the hoose like ane daivert an' doitert.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet viii.:
Auld, doitered, donner't, daidlin' creature.
Lnk. 1927 G. Rae Where Falcons Fly xiii.:
Whaur water gangs, shairly twae men, though yin is an auld doitered fule, can lippen on twae-three strong boards weel bund wi' rapes o' straw.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 2:
He had half-feared, half-hoped, that someone would ride after him. But who was fit to do that - his doitert brother, his father, that shambling sodden old man?

(2) tr. To bemuse, make witless.Dmf. 1844 E. Sloan in Sc. Songs (ed. Whitelaw) 463:
The pawkie wee quean has doiter'd me clean.

[Freq. of Doit, v. Ditter may be merely imit. Cf. Didder, Dotter.]

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"Doiter v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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