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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FORPET, n. Also forpit, furpet (Sc. 1801 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (16 Sept.) 95), †fortpet, †fourpitt, †fourpeth, †four-part. The fourth part of a peck, a Lippie, in dry measure, now used mostly for the sale of root vegetables and oatmeal (Abd., Ags., Slg., Lth., Bwk., Lnk., Rxb. 1953), esp. freq. in Lth. A boll of potatoes is calculated at twice the weight of a boll of meal and as = 16 stones.

Hence a forpit is, for potatoes, 3½ lbs. (a quarter stone) and, for meal, 1¾ lbs. Also a dish holding this measure. Hence comb. forpit-, four-part dish (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 35). [′forpət]Rnf. 1708 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) 86:
A fourpitt of corn to Blairs horse . 2s 0d.
Sc. 1729 W. Macintosh On Inclosing 123:
A Fourpeth or Lippie of Meal per Day, which commonly is these Peoples Allowance.
Sc. 1790 Sc. Musical Museum III. 253:
I hae brew'd a forpet o' ma't, And I canna come ilka day to woo.
Dmb. 1794 D. Ure Agric. Dmb. 101:
The miller's servant has besides . . . a fortpet out of every boll.
Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 8:
A forpit-dish, a tatie-peck, A firlot, an' a row.
Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 445:
From some unaccountable singularity in Berwickshire, its customary firlot is only divided into three pecks. Hence the Berwickshire forpet is only the 12th part of the firlot, instead of the 16th part.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v.:
They that do not mind cornpickles never come to forpits.
m.Lth. 1842 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 304:
Retailing it [salt] at sixpence a caup — a wooden measure, the one end of which was a forpit, the other half a forpit.
Sc. 1883 Stevenson Letters (1899) I. 263:
Wogg has eaten a forpet of rice and milk.
Edb. 1917 Edb. Evening News (22 Sept.):
In the Grassmarket on the first day of the week you can get anything from a kipper to a loaf of bread or a forpit of potatoes.
Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 277:
A forpit o' treckle an' a groat's-w'th o' brumstin for the Droggist?
Edb. 1984:
A forpet of potatoes.
Sc. 1993 Herald 12 Oct 8:
Once upon a time Scots shopped in butchers and bakers and dry-salters that smelled of paraffin. The chemist dispensed a dose of common-sense along with the cascara, the greengrocer sold tatties in forpits and in the grocer's you could buy biscuits from metal tins.
Edb. 1995 Daily Record 2 Oct 9:
If it had happened a generation ago, I might have been able to get my head around maths. When I was sent to buy tatties in Fife, I asked for 'half-a-leapie' until I went to Edinburgh, and found it was a 'forpit'.
Sc. 1998 Herald 4 Jul 14:
Rugby was never the same to me after they abolished the 22 yard line. I still swim in yards, not in metres. I even hanker after a forpit of earth-spattered tatties, rather than hygienic pre-packed spuds in kilos.
Sc. 2003 Sunday Herald 28 Dec 26:
After a fierce bidding war - a forpet o' tatties against a pigswill o' neeps - the serial rights have gone to the Daily Record despite the fact that The Mail offered heaps more.

[O.Sc. forpett, id., 1646, a reduced form of fourt pairt.]

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"Forpet n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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