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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.

GET, v. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. get:

A. Forms:

1. Pr.t.: get; †gett (Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 68); †geat (Sc. 1704 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 370); gait (Peb. 1884 J. Grosart Poems 56; Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73); geit (Hdg. 1896 J. Lumsden Battle of Dunbar 19); git (s.Sc. 1807 J. Stagg Poems 17; Cai. 1872 M. Maclennan Peasant Life 24; Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo i.); gjit (Sh. 1951 New Shetlander No. 27. 34); geet (Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of the Fields 3; Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 13). [Sc. gɛt, but Sh. + gjɪt, Cai., em.Sc., sm.Sc. + gɪt, em.Sc. (b), s.Sc. + git]

2. Pa.t.: got; ‡gat. Also gote (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73), goat (Cai.3 1940; Cai., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s), ¶goot (Slk. 1892 W. M. Adamson B. Blether's Corresp. 36), †gate (Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Helicon 83). The forms gat and gate are found in n.Eng. dial. [Sc. gɔt, got, ‡gat]Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 1:
When they three goat thegither an came up against the Spanish workers, they didnae expect the Calton tae offer handers.
m.Sc. 1992 Alison Kermack in Elizabeth Burns et al. Original Prints Four 32:
He goat the idea offy the telly. Heard oan the news this Chinese boy hudd ritten 2000 characters oan a singul grainy rice.
Edb. 1994 Irvine Welsh Acid House 81:
Whit's it the gadge thit took us fir the ONC at Telford College sais? The maist important skill in any trade is accurate problem diagnosis. Ah goat a fuckin distinction, ah pointed at masel.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 5:
You wakened me when ye goat up this moarnin.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 5:
An things wur gaun that wey,
ye wurnae shair o yir pey
an the wife goat a new colour telly
an wellies for oor wee Ellie
an fish suppers fae the tallies

3. Pa.p.: gotten, -in, ¶-on (Rnf. 1873 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 37); †gat; †geatten (D.S.C.S. 205), †gatten (Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 67); goat, gote. The Gen.Sc. form gotten is now obs. in St. Eng. but is still retained in Eng. dial. and is in common liter. use in U.S.A. [′gɔt(ə)n, ′got(ə)n]Gsw. 1967 Stephen Mulrine in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 132:
'Missus Shaw says Ah've goat a wee brurra.'
Gsw. 1975 John Quigley King's Royal 58:
'It's aw right for you, but ah've goat to get this kert up the hill.'
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 11:
Laddie, my laddie,
nae words o mine,
wrocht in this course land,
whaur nocht is gotten
wi'ooten pain,
cud ever match
sic sangs o luv
that skail frae safter leids.
m.Sc. 1992 Iain Banks The Crow Road (1993) 148:
'Aye, an' ah'll tell ye why, tae, but ye've goat tae promise no tae tell anybudy.'
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 17:
Daith isnae
kennin hou ye mairked oor faimlie's dwyne
wi fadit cuttins gotten fae the Scotsman.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 3:
whar's thair chanters
thai'v no gote ony chanters
hou kin thai be scottish
if thai'v no gote ony chanters
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 4:
God, mebbe Betty, their sister hid gotten hirsel bairned on purpose tae get hersel wed ...
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 210:
Must admit, that's some joint yuv goat on ya, what's that stuff? smiled Chell.

B. The word is more commonly used in Sc. and with wider application than in Eng. The following are specif. Sc. usages:

1. To be struck (ne.Sc., Arg.3 1954), ellipt. for “to get a blow”.n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
“I got wi' a stane upo' the lug,” I was struck with a stone upon the ear. “To get upo' the fingers,” etc.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 183:
We ruggit the duddies — tormentin' the bodies — Till some o's wad gat i' the lug wi' a steen.

2. To be called, to be addressed as, ellipt. for “to get the name of”. Gen.Sc. Also in Yks. dial.Sc. 1754 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S.) 15:
She wanted to be a Lady, and get Madam at any rate.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl.:
His name is Mulgrew, but he gets Timony.
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 19:
Even efter her marriage, she nuvver got anything else but Jennie Bride.
Sc. 1937 St Leonard's Sch. Gaz. (Nov.) 262:
Aye, aye, Mackenzie's ma name, but I aye get Jock frae her.

3. With it: “to be deceived, to be taken in” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.).

4. To get (something or somebody) by looking, to find. Gen.Sc.Gall. 1747 Sess. Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 665:
The officer reported that he did not get George M'Micken at home, he being gone to England with cattle.
Sc. 1887 A. S. Swan Gates of Eden xiv.:
Ye'll get the key in my breek pooch.
Sc. 1953 Scots Mag. (March) 477:
One often hears an expression such as “I got the book” in the sense of “I found the book.”

5. (1) absol. To be allowed, to manage (gen. to go somewhere). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Common in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie & Tam 56:
She's some things to dae whilk canna be put aff, sae it'll be ten afore she'll be able to get.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxxi.:
I should not get to stay in Galloway gif I went not to their kirk.
Ayr.1 1910:
“Will I can get?” was the common expression for “May I go?” [wm.Sc.1: “Will I get getting?”, id. See (2).]
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo xi.:
The morn's the Thornhill fair, and the weans want to gang; but I juist tell't them they wadna get a fit.
Gsw. 1939 “J. Bridie” One Way of Living iii.:
Please, Sir, kinaget downstairs?
Ags. 1990s:
I couldna get: I was unable to go.
Edb. 2003:
The ither bairns wanted tae gaun tae the pictures but Ah couldnae get.

(2) Followed by gerund or pa.p.: to be allowed, to be able (to do), to find an opportunity for (doing something). Gen.Sc. (exc. Sh.).Sc. 1727 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) III. 298:
Probably I'll scarce get writing, the Assembly will sit so late.
Gall. 1731 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 168:
The members cannot get met on a week day for throng of business.
Sc. a.1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 165:
I could na get sleeping yestreen for weeping.
Sc. 1809 J. Carr Caled. Sk. 212:
They also say, “It rains so hard to-day, that I fear I shall not get walked.”
s.Sc. 1857–9 Trans. Highl. Soc. 186:
The lamb is consequently kept upon its legs, is fatigued, and exposed to the blast; while during the night it gets lain in quiet.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 14:
Snodgin on, A wad aye geet seen the better aboot iz.
Lnk. 1928 G. Blake Paper Money viii. (2):
Do you mean to say . . . that I'm no' to get giving you any wedding-present at all?
Abd. 1953 Huntly Express (24 July):
I got wachled hame some wey or anither.
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 119:
'Whit is it? Can ah get seein' it?'
Gsw. 1991 Margaret Sinclair Windae Hingin' and Busker Singin' 20:
Come up fur yer tea wean, ah'll no tell ye again,
If ye don't heed ma warning', nae mair will ye get playin'.
Abd. 1993:
I couldna get sleepit.

6. To marry, ellipt. for “to get, procure for a husband”. Gen.Sc. Also in Lan. dial.Ayr. 1789 Burns Tam Glen v.:
But if it's ordain'd I maun take him, O' wha will I get but Tam Glen?
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums iii.:
“She was mairit . . . no lang syne”. . . . “And who did Tibbie get?” I asked; for in Thrums they say, “Wha did she get?” and “Wha did he tak?”
Fif. 1952 B. Holman Diamond Panes 61:
Losh, Wull never proposed tae me. I kent fine efter the Forrester's Ball that I was gettin' him and he was as sha ir that he was getting' me.

7. absol. A term in churning, see quot. (Bnff.7 1927).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 427:
Red-hot irons are sometimes thrown into a churn, so that it may get, or that the cream therein may become butter.

8. Followed by advs. or preps.: (1) get awa(y), to die (Bnff., Abd., Slg., m.Lth., Bwk., Dmb., Wgt., Kcb., Rxb. 1954); also in e.Dur. dial.; (2) get by, (a) to get past, to suceeed in passing; Gen.Sc.; (b) to avoid, dispense with (Sh.10, Abd. 1954); (c) to carry through, complete (a task) (Abd. 1954); (3) get forth, to succeed in going onwards, to progress (on a journey) (Wgt.4, Rxb.4 1954); obs. in Eng. since early 17th c.; (4) get into, (a) to succeed in opening (something); Gen.Sc.; (b) to become familiar with, practised in (a new technique) (Abd., wm.Sc. 1954), ellipt. for “to get into the way of”; (5) get off, an excuse, a pretext. Cf. Eng. let-out, id.; (6) get on (someone or something), (a) to seize suddenly or violently; (b) to attack violently with words (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73), to upbraid; (7) get on tae, til (somebody), = (6) (b) (Sh., n.Sc., Slg., m.Lth., wm.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1954); also in s.Not. dial.; (8) get out, to give full vent to, to finish off (Sh.10, Abd., m.Lth.1 1954); (9) get out wi', to utter suddenly or forcibly; Gen.Sc.; (10) get ower, (a) to get the upper hand of. Gen.Sc.; “to get the better of in a bargain or argument” (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.); also in Eng. dial.; (b) to last out, subsist (for a certain period) (ne.Sc. 1954); (11) get roon', to accomplish, master; Gen.Sc.; (12) get through, to escape or recover from (Sh., ne.Sc., Ayr., Wgt., Rxb. 1954).(1) Dmf. 1877 R. W. Thom Jock o' the Knowe 9:
The Laird, puir body, had gotten awa.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (31 Aug.) 4:
“Auld Tam's gotten away!”; “Ay, he's deid, lad”.
(2) (a) Abd.27 1920:
Will ye get by, wi' a' that trock lyin' aboot?
(b) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
Say nae word, gude or bad, that ye can weel get by.
(c) s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 9:
The tea meanwhile was gotten bye, And a' things done right dousely.
(3) Edb. 1801 H. Macneill Poet. Wks. I. 52:
Sometimes briskly, sometimes flaggin, Sometimes helpit, Will got forth.
(4) (a) Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 37:
I can't get into my box.
Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 19:
That drawer's awfu' stiff: I can't get into it.
(5)Slk. a.1837 Hogg Tales II. 311:
Weel I ken that's a get-off, for fear I bring her to your door.
(6) (a) Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73:
“He gote on 'e horse”, he seized the horse.
(7) Sc. 1951 Scotsman (21 March) 5:
He “got on to” Mr M'Grath about the way he had treated Kay Matheson when he was up North.
(8) Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 113:
We'll meet behind yon corn stack An' there unseen get out our crack.
Abd.27 1920:
Wyte till I've gotten out ma brakfast. It was the only wey he could get out his spite.
(9) Abd. 1794 Session Papers, Presb. Garioch v. Shepherd App. 5:
She got out with a burst of tears.
Edb. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 27:
I got out wi' a'e great roar.
(10) (a) Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums vii.:
If she thinks she's to get ower me like that, she taks me for a bigger fule than I tak her for.
Abd.27 1920:
The class has gotten clean ower the maister.
(b) Ayr. 1834 Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 249:
She was obligated to borrow a handful of meal and a reisted herring to get over the Sabbath day.
(11) Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 219:
There's naething she canna get roon' on a farm, E'en to followin' the ploo' an' the harrow.
(12) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 102:
Men landed from Abroad, from Camps and Seas; Others got through some dangerous Disease.

9. Phrases: ¶(1) to get gae, to get free, to escape; (2) to get (one's) hands on (someone), to get hold of (in order to strike); Gen.Sc.; (3) to get in ahin' (someone), see Ahint, 4. (2); (4) to get on to be, -on for, to get a job as, be promoted to be. Gen.Sc.; (5) to get (it) ower the fingers, to be scolded, reprimanded; Gen.Sc.; cf. B. 1.; (6) to get up in(to) years, to grow old; also of children (to get up), to become older (Sh., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s). Gen.Sc.; cf. Eng. to get on —; (7) to get well up, to rise in position, to succeed in life; Gen.Sc.(1) Sc. p.1746 Jacobite Minstr. (1829) 293:
Hell's black bitch mastiff lapt the broo, And slipt her collar and gat gae.
(2) Ayr. 1792 Burns Kellyburn Braes ix.:
Whae'er she gat hands on cam ne'er her nae mair.
Abd.27 1920:
Gin I get my hands on ye, ye vratch, I'll gie ye't.
(4) Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling II. 95:
I've nae doubt o' gettin' him on to be a ganger.
em.Sc. (b) 1898 H. Rogers Meggotsbrae 292:
The like o' him that's gotten on to be a professor an a' that.
Abd. 1925 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 71:
He got on for a foreman wi big wauges.
(5) Sc. 1923 D. Wilson Carlyle till Marriage x.:
He went so far as to “get over the fingers sorely” from her for intimating that perhaps she was not so deeply in love with the other man as she supposed.
(6) Sc. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland vi.:
When folk get up into years, and grow in a manner hardened to the adversities of the world.
Gsw. 1850 R. Stewart Musings 99:
Ye ken she's getting up in years, The wrinkles on her brow appears.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sk. and Poems 12:
To wonder how he would manage for stowage when Liza got up in years.
Sc. 1896 “L. Keith” Indian Uncle i.:
Whiles when fowk get up in years —
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 62:
"The bairns'll ha'e space to grow here forby, noo they're gettin' up," ...
wm.Sc. 1985 William McIlvanney The Big Man (1987) 73:
'Two weans with her. They're gettin' up.'
(7) Edb. 1811 H. Macneill Bygane Times 44:
Upon my word you've got well up.

10. gettin(g), gittin, gotten, following an adj., Becoming. (Sh., Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).Gsw. 1980 Alex Hamilton in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 44:
'Naw,' shi goes, aw impatiunt gettin. 'Naw, naw. No sumhin diffrint, mibbe - sumhin missin.'
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 29:
gettin Becoming. Interesting because it can appear at the end of a statement: 'She's awfy cheeky gettin' ie 'She's becoming very cheeky.'
Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 26:
"A'm a richt auld wyfie, gittin," said his mither,
an whan Andrae gliskit, richt aneuch,
the war mair nor a bit o the kerlin about hir:
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 244:
'Aye. Nor I. I'm auld gettin, I ken that. I'd be gaun tae God sune onywey. D'ye believe there's a God, John?'

11. To accompany.wm.Sc. 1984 Agnes Owens Gentlemen of the West 85:
...was what I thought until I got Big Joe along the road to the site on Monday morning.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 29:
get ... Another meaning is to accompany or escort: 'Hang on a wee minute and I'll get you down the road.'
Edb. 1991:
I'll get you down the stairs. We can carry the box thegither.
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 154:
Ah'll git ye doon the road, Kim, ah've goat some records tae droap oaf roond tae Bri, eh. I held up the Adidas bag.

[O.Sc. has get, a.1350, gete, with lengthened vowel, a.1400. For the construction with the pa.p. under 5. (2), cf. O.N. geta + pa.p. in the same sense.]

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"Get v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Apr 2024 <>



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