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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GET, n. Also geet (ne., sn.Sc.), geat, geit, goit(e), †gett, †gait(t), †gaet, †gyt(e), †gite, ¶gwite. [nn., m.Sc. gɛt; ne., sn.Sc. gi:t, ‡gəit; Lth., s.Sc. gəit]

1. What is got: “yield, produce; also, booty, prey. In the first sense the term is used in connection with net and creel fishing; and in the second sense it is applied to the food carried by birds of prey to their young” (Sc. 1887 Jam., get).

2. Offspring, progeny, child (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 165; n.Sc., Ags., Lth., Peb., Slk. 1954), a young child (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., gyte; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 27); young of any kind: an unfledged nestling (Watson; Gall. 1954, goit), a coalfish, Gadus virens, in its second stage (Bnff. 1930 Fishery Board Gl.; Abd., Fif. 1954). Obs. since 15th c. in St. Eng. except with reference to stud animals, but still in use in Nhb. dial. The coll. forms geetrich(ie) and geetry are given for Bch. by Abd.15 in Scots Mag. (Oct. 1924) 55. Also fig.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Three Bonnets (1800) II. 395:
Thus living like a Belzie's get, She ran hersell sae deep in debt.
Abd. 1777 R. Forbes in Sc. Poems 38:
Aft hae I creesht it wi' the gaits Of Troy's stoutest breed.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Dream vii.:
An' Will's a true guid fallow's get.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 191:
When geets grow rife 'tis then begins the wark, Jean wants a coat, and Jocky wants a sark.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 110:
But bigotry, I canna bide it: I fairly find your admonition Is but a gyte o' superstition.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 400:
Whan boys rave out the sparrow's nest, Wi' young goits therein gorling dressed.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 174:
For now the gets maun gae 'thoot schoolin', Baith claes an' bread.
Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 37:
Till the paper geat comes skirlin': “The Gordons in a Fecht.”
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 34:
Yon hoose wes biggit for a royal geit,
auncestors o His Lairdship that's jist gane.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 124:
A' the warld afore ye and hist o' geets.
Gsw. 1994 Alasdair Gray A History Maker 138:
" ... I had a wheen of bairns before I tired of housework. I was good at childbirth but never nursed the gets for more than a week because I didnae like small thoughtless animals. ... "
ne.Sc. 2004 Press and Journal 26 Jul 12:
Syne we hae the squad o geets, 14 o them, playin at the ba wi aye the ither kick landin't in the weel-keepit gairden neist door.

3. Used contemptuously: a brat (Sc. 1710 Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., gyte; Inv., Abd., Fif., Arg., Gsw., Lnk., Gall., Uls. 1954); a bastard, as e.g. in witch-; “an opprobrious term used in scolding matches” (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., get).Mry. 1706 in W. Cramond Grant Court Bk. (1897) 20:
Gregor Burgess protested against the said Allane that called him a witch gyt or bratt.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd i. ii.:
Syne whindging Getts about your Ingle-side, Yelping for this or that with fasheous Din.
Hdg. a.1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 30:
What a life I've led, To keep your geits an' you weel clad.
Lth. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 50:
Out o'er the door I canna set, But they ca' me the witch's get.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxxi.:
A' the gaitts o' boys and lasses wad be crying at Madge Wildfire's tail, the little hell-rakers!
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost ix.:
A donsie mother that could gie no name to her gets.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 104:
An' ony wha had a geet ne'er could Haud up their heads again.
Dmf. 1875 P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 20:
An' yet she maun hae . . . a nurse or twa to wash an' dress an' gang aboot wi' her cocknosed gwites.
Kcd. 1934 “L. G. Gibbon” Grey Granite 126:
The woman said of all the whoreson's gets she'd ever met he was the worst.
Dmb. 1949 Kirkintilloch Herald (14 Sept.):
Witness alleged that accused's wife turned and called her companion “a cheeky young get.”
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 45:
Ah think you must be makin' fun o' me!
Ya get ye! Ye'll get ye to no nunnery!
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 183:
"Gerra fucking finger out yous lot of whoreson gets!" the gentle priest of God was howling at his flock.

4. The name given to a first-year or junior boy at the Edinburgh Royal High School or Edinburgh Academy, still used of first-year boys in the Upper School. Now also applied to junior members of various boys' organisations in Edinburgh, e.g. the Canongate Boys' Club.Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter i.:
I was brought from the solitude of my mother's dwelling into the tumult of the Gaits' Class at the High School.
Sc. 1856 N. & Q. (Series 2) II. 309:
Boys commencing their classical studies, attending the lowest class in [some of] the classical academies of Scotland, are called gites. . . . If you ask a junior boy what class he is in, he will probably answer “in the gites”.
Edb. 1933 in Scotsman (30 Jan.):
I entered the Royal High School . . . of Edinburgh in October 1862 as a first year's pupil. . . . At that time the word “gyte” was certainly in common use as a jocular term for first year's pupil in the School.
Edb. 1951 A. B. Cunningham Sailor's Odyssey 13:
[In 1892] I found the [Edinburgh] Academy pretty tough going at first, even in the ‘Geits', the name given to the Junior School.

[O.Sc. has get(t), geit(t), geat, offspring, child, brat, from c.1420, from get, to beget. The diphthongal forms derive from geet, O.Sc. gete, the long vowel forms of the v.]

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"Get n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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