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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DOONSET, Down-, n. Also vbl.n. doonsettin, doun-.

1. A settlement, establishment, esp. that obtained on marriage (Fif.10, Arg.1 1940, -settin; Ayr. 1949 (per Ayr.9)); “a house with a small plot of ground attached” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Also in Nhb. dial.Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage I. xi.:
By my faith, but you have a bein downset.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood 297:
A bien dounsettin', and a sufficiency o' gear.
w.Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 126:
I wad judge she's past the cooin', cushiedoo stage, an' will sensibly consider this chance o' a guid doon-settin'.
Uls. 1992:
I tell you Martha has got a fine downsetting there! [after visiting his sister and her husband]

2. That which is set before one: a feast (Ork.2, Abd.27 1949).w.Dmf. 1910 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' Robbie Doo xi.:
This is a very dandy doon-settin, Robert. [Referring to a Burns supper.]

3. A scolding; a crushing rebuke (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 39; Bnff.2 1940). Also downsetter, idem.Sc. 1824 S. E. Ferrier Inheritance I. viii.:
Nowise disconcerted at the downset she had received.
Sc. 1842 Tait's Mag. (Oct.) 638:
She'll hae maybe seen the doonsettin' I gied Bark-at-a' about the Seat rents.
Sc. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan I. vii.:
She would hae been nane the waur o' a down-settin' frae auld Inchfernie.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. I. x.:
Was not yon an awfu' speech? . . . Ay, it was a downsetter.

4. A laying-low, lit. and fig., e.g. from a heavy blow, overwork or misfortune (Bnff.2, Slg.3 1940).Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
A downset of work, such work as overpowers with fatigue. It is also applied to calamitous events, which humble pride, or injure the worldly circumstances, as, He has gotten a dreadful downset.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 46:
To bring his wappen down wi' beir And cleeve their heads fram ear to ear, Wi' terrible down-sett.

5. A waste (of time) (Sh.11 1949, rare).Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Hit's just a doonset a time.

6. Mining: “a minor road to the dip in coal” (Sc. 1944 (per Edb.6)).

[From Doon, adv.1, + set. O.Sc. has dounsetting, the action of setting down, from 1557.]

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"Doonset n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



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