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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FORRIT, adv., adj., v. (Sh., Ork., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Dmf., Rxb.). Also forrat, †forat(e), for(r)et, forit; ¶fort (Per. 1818 J. Sinclair Simple Lays 41); furrit (Gsw., Ayr. 2000s); -et, ¶furrait (m.Sc.); firrit, firret, farrit; forrart; for(r)ad (Sh., Cai.), forrard, forred; and (corresp. to Eng. forwards) †forrits (Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 218; Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 107). [Sc. ′forɪt, ′fɔrət, m.Sc. ′fʌrɪt, Sh., Cai. ′fɔrəd]

I. adv. 1. Forward(s), ahead, on(ward). Gen.Sc. Compar. forriter, forra(r)der, further forward (Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood x.; Gall. 1928 Gallovid. Annual 88; Abd.27, Slg.3, Edb.1 1953). Comb. forrit-ways, forwards (Dmf. 1869 A. C. Gibson Folkspeech Cmb. 115, forrat-ways
.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 32:
Ye maun look forret, an' the bargain hadd.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxxviii.:
Now, wife, what for are ye no getting forrit wi' the sowens?
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) xiii.:
See, yonder's Cousland lying right forrit to the east hand.
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life 85:
My fit cam' against its edge, an' gart me fa' forrit-ways o'er't.
Dwn. 1888 W. G. Lyttle Betsy Gray iii.:
Jock cummed forrit tae tak the oath.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xii.:
A man should aye put his best foot forrit with the women-kind.
Sc. 1902 Margaret Oliphant, ed. Margaret K. Gray Selected Short Stories of the Supernatural (1985) 143:
"It seems not," he said; "we don't get 'no forrarder' in the direction so far as I can see."
Gsw. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 94:
Awa' furrit the lichthoose was stretchin' its shoogly licht roon and roon.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ii.:
Come forrit, sir, and tak' a look on her that's gane.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 39:
Ah'll put furrit the date, gi'e him ma dochter's haun'
Ah'm all for Tartuffe, an' Ah'll mak' yiz unnerstaun ...
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 51:
Thir tinks press furrit for tae hear the better:
thay cairry on as if he wesna deid.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 44:
Eventually, ah git up an come'n sit here...Ah start rockin back'n forrit...Then ah begin tae loass masel again.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 4:
The wee sheltie's being raced back and furrit
in front o the biggin
and forced doon the brae to the burn.

Phrs.: (1) back an forrit, (a) to and fro, backwards and forwards, to (somewhere) and back. Gen.Sc. Sometimes used as a n. in pl. = complicated details; (b) approximately, there or thereabout (Abd.27 1953). Also back or forrit; †(2) forrit and ayond, n., the way ahead, the future, time to come; (3) forrit owre, with a stoop, bent forward (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh.10, Rxb.5 1953); (4) to come forrit, (a) to appear in public; (b) to come forward in church to take the Sacrament (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Arg., Ayr. 1953), or to be married (Ags.19 1953); (c) see 2.; ‡(5) to gae, gan(g) forrit = (4) (b) (Abd.27 1953); (6) to get forrit, to become tipsy (Dmf. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (7) to haud forrit, see Haud, v. A. 1.(1) (a) Rnf. 1703 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1878) 164:
Jeammy Matthie back and forret with a hors to Columaha . . . 4s. Scots.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf iii.:
Ye see yon other light that's gaun whidding back and forrit through amang the windows?
Ags. 1853 Chron. Aberbrothock 56:
It has sae mony oot's an' in's an' backs an' forits.
Gall. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 52:
It had made a raut on the boards . . . wi' swingin' back and forrit.
Cai. 1909 D. Houston 'E Silkie Man 10:
'E Silkie man geed back and forrad.
Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 153:
I've been argy-bargyin' back an' forrit wi' the factor.
(2) Slk. c.1824 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) 300:
In this world and the neist, and that's a lang, lang forrit and ayond.
(4) (a) Per. 1897 “C. R.” Dunning Folk-Lore 7:
He ne'er cam forrit again: that nicht he was dead wi' lock-jaw.
(b) Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willy Waly 83:
Tho' twa fell thro' upon the Fast-nicht, There's thirty mair cam' forward last nicht.
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown vii.:
“Would you not care to enter into the full fellowship of the Church?” “I've never daured tae come forrit, sir.”
(5) Fif. 1887 “S. Tytler” Logie Town III. x.:
It was the first time that Lizzie had come alone, to “go forward” in her individual capacity and take the sacrament.
Lnl. 1892 R. Steuart Legends from Lth. 189:
I wad be mair respeckit an' lookit up tae gin I was tae gan forrit.
em.Sc. (a) 1894 “I. Maclaren” Bonnie Brier Bush 61:
Are ye no gain forrit, Mistress Skene, or hae ye lost yir token?
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 61:
Sic an odds there is on a Sacrament Sunday byes fin wir faders an' mithers wur gyaun forrit.

2. Specif.: with a view to sale, in(to) the market or auction. Gen.Sc.Bwk. 1834 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. V. 288:
The third sheep-market is held on the second Wednesday of July, principally for the sale of lambs, although a few others of different sorts are brought forward.
Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 43:
Gin twa month or so aifter this there winna be muckle comin' forrat, an' aw've seen as muckle's I may get thirty shillin's for mine yet.
Sc. 1952 Scotsman (7 Oct.):
Montrose Auction Co. Ltd., had forward 210 Irish store cattle.

II. adj. Mostly with meanings of Eng. forward.

1. In regard to work, preparations, etc., well advanced, near completion. Gen.Sc.Rnf. 1852 J. Mitchell Grey Goose Quill 109:
He is just about as far firrit on Saturday at warehouse time as those wha are aye in a hurry.
Sc. 1874 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 318:
We had our ain ploughing forrit.
Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 132:
He used to ha'e forrit Twa wabs in ae week, noo he hardly does ane.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 85:
Things were weel forrit by the term.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's ix. 1–6:
The wine's a' forrit an' ready, An' the buird's been plenish't wi' galore.

2. Bold, audacious, venturesome; pushing (Sh., Abd., Ags., Fif., Dmf. 1953).Bnff. 1862 R. Sim Legends Strathisla 52:
That's the gudeman's chair, an' the gudeman's neuk, an' few but a gay forat chiel, like what ye seem to be, wad tak them up.
Sc. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 25:
There's monie a march o' fantoun grund The forret fit has never fund.

3. Of a timepiece: fast, ahead of the correct time. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1887 Jam.:
The clock is ten minutes forret.

4. Present, at hand, on the spot (m.Lth., wm.Sc., Rxb. 1953).Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie i. 95:
Judging by the number o' veehicles at the inn, there'll be a hantle o' them foret.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Bwk. Bard 126:
They watch the Manse folk comin' along, An' wait till they're nearly forrit.
Per. 1900 E.D.D.:
Is the baker for'a'd wi' the rolls yet?

5. Appearing in public, specif. for a contest or for sale, entered for competition, on the market. Gen.Sc. Now freq. in Eng. form forward. Cf. I. 2.Fif. 1936 St Andrews Cit. (23 May):
For the challenge race, seven boats were forward.
Arg. 1952 Oban Times (6 Sept.) 8:
Their second annual sale of the season for all classes of lambs, when the numbers forward were 4,439.

III. v. To put forward (in time); to promote, assist the progress of (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Fif., ‡Slg., m.Lth., Dmf., Rxb. 1953).Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 304:
I threw by my crook, an', wi' thrawin the wuddie, Fu' eithly I aided to forrit the fray.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 224:
He winna dee muckle t' forrat the wark.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 136:
O Tammie, had that limmer, Fate, . . . . . . furritted his natal date By some few hours.

[A curtailed form of forward. Cf. Eng. nautical forrard and dial. forrad, forrat, etc.]

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"Forrit adv., adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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