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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FITCH, v., n.1 [fɪtʃ]

I. v. 1. tr. To shift, move slightly to one side or another (Sc. 1818 Sawers; Cai.3 1951). Also in Eng. dial.Lnk. 1825 Jam.:
To fitch a march-stane, to make a slight change in the situation of a landmark.

2. intr. and refl. To move (oneself) slightly or restlessly, to edge along, to budge (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh.10, Ork.5, Cai.3 1950). With awa, to be off, depart (Cai.9 1951).Sc. 1724 Ramsay Evergreen I. 226:
He hitches and fitches Betwein the Hic and Hoc.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 63:
A speakin' Pack's owre learnt for me, Or ane that steers an' fitches.
Cai. 1829 J. Hay Poems 114:
To see her [a louse] brawly move and fitch Upon an auld wife's flannan mutch.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 318:
Da puir bodies sittan annunder her hid tae fitch tae save their harnpans for sheu lundered dem sair.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 168:
Shü fitch'd her in a bit, as muckle as ta say, come doo here ta me.

3. To move, in the game of draughts (Upper Cld. 1825 Jam.).

II. n. 1. A shift, a slight change of place (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.).

2. A move, at draughts (Upper Cld. 1825 Jam.). Also fig.Dmf. 1835 Carlyle Letters (ed. Norton) II. 324:
People have many fitches . . . before they get to the crown-head.

III. Combs.: †(1) fitch-cape, a nickname for someone who keeps fidgetting with his cap; (2) fitch(i)-fettle, “an additional shoulder-band, temporarily fitted to a kishie on the opposite side from the normal one, to facilitate relay-carrying. The carrier who takes over backs up to the first carrier and puts his head and shoulders through the fitchi-fettle or shift-band, so as to make the exchange without laying the load down” (Sh.11 1951). Also used adv. to geng fitch(i)-fettle, to carry in relays as above (Id.); (3) fitch-fur, v., to plough a steeply sloping field diagonally and in the downward direction only during winter-ploughing (Ayr. 1947).(1) Sc. 1694 Sc. Presb. Eloquence 67:
This John was ordinarily called Fitch-cape and Claw-Poll, because in the Time of Preaching or Praying, he us'd to claw his Head, and rub his Callet.
(2)Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 247:
We wir gaen fetch-fettles, an' Girzie Langlegs wis neist me.

[O.Sc. has fitch, tr., a.1500, intr., 1602, id. Prob. related to the later Fidge, q.v.]

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"Fitch v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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