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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

GOTE, n., v.1 Also goat; got (Rnf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 339), gott; gjot (Sh., Cai.), gut (Sh., Uls.), (ga(u)t-, gite, gyte, gwite (ne. Sc.), †goatt, †gotte, and dims. g(j)otek, goti (Sh.). [Sc. got, but Sh. g(j)vt-, gɔt-, Cai. gjot, ne.Sc., Peb. gəit, Bch. gwəit]

I. n. 1. A drain or ditch, a gutter, a trench in a peat-moss (Lnk. 1909 Colville 172; Abd.13 1916, gite; Rnf.1 c.1920, goat); “such a ditch as is used for draining marshes” (Jam.2); “a ditch with a walled side or sides” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Add.). Also in Eng. (mainly n.) dial.Gsw. 1700 Burgh Records (1908) 293:
20 Jan.: The Magistrates and Cownsell . . . do hereby suffer and permitt the said John Lowk to dige and cleang the goatt or ditch.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 167:
Or rake the gotts frae paddock-ride, To muck the lan'.
Abd. 1796 Session Papers Powis v. Fraserfield (1805) 213:
He has seen salmon caught within a hundred yards, or thereby, of the outlet or gut from the Wandsworth distillery.
Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 428:
Till the great goat or drain was made in that low tract, there was a continuous line of little lochs.
Slg. 1860 Trans. Slg. Arch. Soc. (1923) 23:
Ye dash! dash! dash! Regairdless through humplock an' gott.
Fif. 1885 D. Beveridge Culross II. 376:
The Goat. The name given is a common one throughout Scotland for any deep ravine or fissure through which water is conveyed.
Bch. 1928 per Abd.15:
That [peat] lair his a lot o' nesty weet gytes in't.
Lnk. 1952 Sc. Daily Mail (26 Nov.):
City Councils . . . are meeting to consider alleviation of flooding “from the gott at Frankfield Loch.”

Comb.: gott-fit, the end of a ditch or drain.Lnk. 1859 J. Parker Poems 33:
Ah! there I've gather'd hips an' slaes, Wi' thee near the auld gott-fit.

2. A narrow rocky inlet of the sea, a creek (Ags. 1808 Jam., goat; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), g(j)ot(ek), goti; Abd. 1916, gwite; Sh.10 gut(tie), gjotek, rare, Cai.7 gjot, Abd.27 gyte, Bwk., Uls. 1955); a channel, a narrow navigable passage between rocks or sandbanks (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., gut: Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., gut; Fif. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.; Bnff.16 1955, gwite).Bnff. 1734 Ann. Bnff. (S.C.) II. 222:
18 feet broad of rock is to be cut from the southmost end of the basson down to the nearest goat or hollow place.
Bch. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 5:
The Mermaid's head one scarce can see, The Gwites are foam up to the knee.

3. A hollow, defile (Sh. 1908 Jak (1928), gjot(ek)); “a place where two hollows meet at a point” (Bnff. 1880 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 13, goat, gyte).

4. “A slough, a deep miry place.” (Lnk. 1825 Jam., got(e); Peb. 1955, gyte).Peb. 1821 J. Kerr Curling (1890) 202:
Those who are in possession of health, . . . to repair to the still river, Cuddies pool, or the flooded gytes, the waters whereof are bound in icy fetters.

II. v. To cut a channel. Only in vbl.n. goting, etc. Specif. (1) in Agric.: to trench in a particular manner (see second quot.); (2) in Mining: (a) the action of cutting a water-course; (b) a water-course cut in the pavement of a mine or working for drainage (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 30; Fif., Lth. 1955); a street-gutter (Fif. 1955). Cf. Yks. and Lan. gaut, water-course; (3) in Shoe-making: see quot.(1) Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 494:
The only remedy yet found is by very deep ploughing, or by goating.
Per. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. & Scotsmen 18th Cent. (1888) II. 237:
The moss-sides were trenched two feet deep, and the deaf stratum on the top put into the bottom of the trench, from whence strong clay was taken to replace the other. By means of this operation — called by him golling [sic] — a new soil was produced.
(2) (a) Fif. 1725 Hist. MSS. Comm. X. I. 154:
The different prices of the uncoast wadges, such as putting throw dicks, and gatting and such like.
(b) Ayr. 1776 Session Papers, Fergusson v. Earl of Cassillis (17 Oct.) Proof 48:
A gatten to the dip of the coal, meaning by a gatten a ditch.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Miners 77:
We briskly see young Johnnie rise, A' glaury oot the gauten.
(3) Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 262 Note:
With a different kind of instrument, a hollow or guttin is run round the outside of the upper part of the sole, for the reception of the upper leather . . . and the clog is completed.

[O.Sc. has gote, goit, goat, got(te), a ditch or watercourse, from 1568, from got-, weak root of O.E. gēotan, to pour, flow, Mid.Eng. gōte, channel, stream = Mid. Du. gote, ditch, cut-out channel, Mod. Du. goot, gutter, gully, drain. For Sh. forms, cf. Norw. dial. gota, cut-out channel, groove, gjot(a), a long depression in the ground, the narrow part of a marsh.]

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"Gote n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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