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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FECHT, v., n. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. fight.

I. v. A. Sc. forms: pr.t. fecht, faicht, f(e)icht, †fe(i)gh(t).  Also vbl. n. [fɛt Sc., ne.Sc. fe:çt, Bwk. fɑeçt]; pa.t. focht, foucht, faucht, †f(a)ught; feu(w)cht, feuch (s.Sc.) [foxt Sc., fxt m.Sc., fjux(ʍ)t s.Sc.]; pa.p. foch(t)en, fouchen, †foughten, fauchten, †faughten; fechen, -in; feuchen, -an, †feughin, -en, -an; feucht, †feught, †feuched (em.Sc.(b), s.Sc.), fo(u)cht [fox(ə)n, foxt, Sc., + fjux(ʍ)n, fjuxts. Sc.]; also facht (Kcd. 1900 “W. Gairdner” Glengoyne II. iii); the wk. form fechtit is occas. found in the pa.t., and regularly in the pa.p. in Sh. and Bwk.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 190:
And tald how mony Whigs were slain Before they faught.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 161–2:
Or by Madrid he takes the rout, To thrum guittars an' fecht wi' nowt.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 28:
They fught awa wi' floatin' gale.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
The truth is, that Rob is for his ain hand, as Henry Wynd feught — he'll take the side that suits him best.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 262:
We've . . . met wi' freends, an feughan faes, An' jokit muckle glee.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 21:
One will say to his companion, “Jock, will ye faicht Tam?”
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) vii.:
The great battle o' Waterloo was fochen in echteen fifteen atween the English an' the Frinch.
Lnl. 1908 J. White Pen Sk. 5:
Tae crack o' battles focht and won, an' fecht them ower again.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 58:
Loos and the Lammerlaw, The battle was feucht in baith.
Uls. c.1920 J. Logan Ulster in X-rays vi.:
“Fight” is rendered in three ways, as “fecht,” or in some other remote parts of the country this is again reproduced as “focht,” or “foight,” where there is a brogue.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 23:
Dinna you blether o freedom,
ye dinna ken whit it means. I focht for it,
ay, and whit's mair, wrocht for it tae.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 51:
I'm tellt the auncient Celts focht in bare scud...
Man, yon's a mark o unco determination.
Ye've shairly got tae ken whit ye're fechting fur
tae tak the haill Roman Empire on in yer buff.
Slk. 1991 Harvey Holton in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 133:
Aiblins abune still; fer-bye fechtan,
fer-bye fleean, he gaes gaitward
fuitless fuitsteids giean girth
tae Bran's back:
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 213:
'When we focht - had a fight - ootside the hotel? D'ye mind?'
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 117:
'I wasna at Rullion Green itsel. I was sent back tae Edinburgh in the mornin, afore the fechtin started.'

B. Sc. usages: 1. As in Eng., to struggle, but specif. in the battle of life, against misfortune, poverty, etc. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1790 Burns Gane is the Day ii.:
There's wealth and ease for gentlemen. And semple folk maun fecht and fen.
Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 66:
Honest worth has fech'en lang To keep its feet amang the thrang.
e.Lth. 1885 “S. Mucklebackit” Rural Rhymes 176:
Mr Clods stated that he had feuchan simmer and winter, year an' year on end for abune therty twalmonths noo against the wrack.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums xii.:
“I mauna complain,” he always said; “na, we maun juist fecht awa.”
s.Sc. 1930 “O. Douglas” Day of Small Things 225:
She was a brave body, ma mither, an' feucht awa' a' her days wi' a big family an' little means.

2. To harass, wear out. Gen. in pa.p. fochten (ne.Sc. 1945), feuched (Ags. 1916 T.S.D.C. II). Cf. forfochten, s.v. Forfecht.Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 173–4:
Are we sae foughten an' harass'd For gear to gang that gate at last!
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 333:
And [I] ha'e been foughten sae of late That I ha'e maistly tint the gate.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems 69:
Maist fouk were fouchen wi' their crap.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Ingleside 144:
They'd better fyle their wylie coats, An' fecht me wi' their prankets.
Bnff. 1918 J. Mitchell Bydand 7:
“Sae Jean,” says I, “fat needs ye tchauve an' trachle here yer leen? Ye're fairly fochen aff yer feet.”

3. To struggle, wrestle, kick or fling about the limbs (Abd.27, Ags.18 1951).Abd. 1890 Bon-Accord (26 July) 20:
I focht an' pecht, an' pecht an' focht, till the sweat wis sittin' on beads a' ower my face.
Per. 1910 W. Blair Kildermoch 106:
I saw an unco, queer, funny thing ae day when I was sittin' at the end o' the road, it was a man ridin' on the tap o' a roond ring an' fechtin' wi' his feet.

4. Of the heart: to flutter, palpitate. Vbl.n. feichtin, a fluttering.Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 121:
It makes my flesh creep, and sets a feichtin' ta my hert.
Sh. 1892 Ib. 257:
Whin I saw her comin' troo da gait my hert began ta faicht.

5. Phrs.: †(1) fochtin milk, buttermilk (Bch. 1825 Jam.); ‡(2) to fecht doug, fecht bane, to wrangle fiercely and interminably; (3) to fecht wi' one's ain taes (Cai.1 1920; Sh.10, Cai.7 1950), wi' the win', to be excessively disputatious or quarrelsome.(2) Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xxix.:
If I was you . . . I wad put every thing richt at Auchterbardie, and let Sir Robert Peel and the Kirk o' Scotland fecht doug fecht bane.
(3) Rnf. 1873 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 17:
He was quite an Ishmaelite in tongue fence, and, it was said, “wud hae foucht wi' the win'” had it been possible.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 276:
He'll een fecht wi' the wind, When nae birkies he meets.

II. n. A fight, struggle, battle (Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 23, ficht); exertion; pugnacity. Gen.Sc.Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) ix.:
He had had a sore fecht with the wind and the sleet.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of the Glens 66:
There was auld Mains o' Dunnideer, owre i' the Gerry, had a fecht wi'm nae mows nor ordinar'.
Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems 53:
Wi' unco fecht, I drew my breath at last.
Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 64:
I kinno hoo lang the feight lested.
Dmf. 1915 W. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 7:
Goaded on to victory by a crood o' delighted youngsters till the fecht was brocht to an abrupt en'.
Knr. 1917 J. L. Robertson Petition 90:
But the Cock o' John Tamson had wecht and had fecht, An' his colours were sulfur-an'-broun.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 39:
My ain dear lass an' I hae warselled sair In life's dour fecht.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 24:
Leave them, Dorine, tae their fechts and fankles ...
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 22:
We had a fecht wi the gaugers.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Sometimes ye hae a wee keek furst.
An somethin catches yer eye, ken,
A guid fecht or a wean gettin battered,
An ye want tae hae a better gowk.

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"Fecht v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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