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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DRITE, v., n. Also dreit, dryte, drate, dreet, drit, †dret. Also in n.Cy. and Nhb. dial. [drəit Sc., but Cai., ne.Sc., Kcd. + dret; drɪt I.Sc., but Sh. + drəit]

1. v. To void excrement (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., dreit; 1914 Angus Gl., drit). Gen.Sc. Pa.t. drate, dret (obs. exc. Sh.), pa.p. dreitten, dritten, †drate; ppl.adjs. (1) dritten, drett, dirtied, defiled (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., drett); of persons: very contemptible; unpleasant in manner; of things: very obnoxious (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); (2) dreetin', used of one who prophesies “dirty” weather (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Phr. drite-i-da-slap, an epithet for the last person to bring in corn, etc. to the stack-yard after harvest (Sh. 1962), also dritie, id. (Ork. 1975). See Dirt, v., and Skitter, n., 2. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 375:
You dream'd that you dret under you, and when you rose it was true. An Answer to them that say, Guess what I dream'd.
Sc. 1737 Ramsay Sc. Proverbs (1776) 85:
Ye're a good Hald to the House, ye can drite in your Loof and mool't to the Birds.
Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Oct.–Nov.) 22:
He comes drevlin in, very kinda dritten laek.
Abd.4 1928:
“Ye dinna ken gin ye wud drate or spue.” Said to one who has no stability of mind. “Up or the drake drate.” Said when early out of bed.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 7:
Ere . . . the ducks had drate, Upo' the hallan-stane.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
“The deil's dritin' folk,” — said when many people arrive unexpectedly at a house etc.

2. n. Dirt, excrement (Sc. a.1873 F. Grose Gl., MS. Add., dret; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), drit; Bnff.2, Abd.2, Edb.1 1940; Mearns6 1949); “usually now as a word of abuse” (Marw.).Ork. 1929 Marw.:
You drit of a thing!
Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) D. 73:
I's warran it wad be a great drate whan it cums.

Comb. drite-sea, a cuttlefish, Sepia. See Sea, n., 27.

[O.Sc. has dryte, drite, to void excrement, a.1508, dryt, dirt, a.1400; O.E. drītan, v., drit, n.; Mid.Eng. drite, v., drit, n. The I.Sc. form prob. comes direct from Norw. dial. drita, O.N. dríta, v., drit, dirt of birds. Cf. Dirt.]

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"Drite v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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