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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.

HAET, n. Also hate, ha(i)t, †haid, head, haed, he(a)t, hyid, hyit. [Sc. he:t, he:d, Rxb. jd]

1. = “Ha(v)e it,” used in imprecative sentences with neg. force = not a grain or particle, “damn all”, in such phrs. as deil, fi(e)nt, foundit, fule, plague, sorra, sorry, sorrow, etc. haet (Sh., ne.Sc., Ayr., Rxb., Uls. 1956). Also used as an excl. of impatience, annoyance or disgust.Sc. 1724 P. Walker Remark. Passages p. xxiii.:
There was a gentleman standing next to me . . . who said, A Pack of Damn'd Witches and Warlocks, that have the second Sight, the Devil-ha't do I see.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (1925) 84:
What's siller for? Fiend haet awa, But gowden playfair, that may please.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 228:
Ye'll be wanting mair siller, fule hate ye'll do for naething here.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 179–180:
For thae frank, rantan, ramblan billies, Fient haet o' them's ill hearted fellows. [Ib. 208, deil-haet.]
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxiv.:
I wad find some chields should speak Greek and Latin weel, at least they got plenty o' siller for doing de'il hae't else, if they didna do that.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 142:
An' sae it is, a strappin', guidlie queen, By square an' rule in nature's best dimension, For plague haet else cou'd draw the fule's attention.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.:
He . . . shewk the haill contents on the floor — stanes! stanes! feint head was there in it but twa gude barrowfu's o' whunstanes!
Dmf. 1891 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 76:
My mither said “Het! she's far ower young.”
Kcb.4 1900:
As is said of a destitute bodie, “Foundit hate or Deil-be-lickit hate he has.”
Kcb. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 67:
Wud ye only do that! but na! haith ye! sorra haet ye'll do what onybuddy wants ye.
Sc. 1933 “J. Bridie” Sleeping Clergyman 42:
De'il ha'e't I care how she enjoyed her party.

2. Hence construed as a n.: deil a hate (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., — hyet; Sh., Mry., m.Sc., Uls. 1956; Uls. 1990s; Ags., Dmb., Ayr. 2000s), fient a (the) haet, the deuce a haet, devil a bit! not a whit!Slk. 1721 T. Craig-Brown Hist. Slk. (1886) II. 101:
Deil a haid care I for session or Presbytery.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
Then the Foumart, he sits knitting his stocking, and quarrelling wi' the haill o' them. The fient a haed he minds but sheer ill nature.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Miners 85:
Feint the haet we'd wi' us, (Except the sack we meant tae pack Wi' game).
Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
The “big” Lord Downshire, as he was styled, once asked a man on his estate what he lived on, and got the reply “Potatoes and fein-a-haet,” which means potatoes and nothing else.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood vii.:
Deil a haet! Na, na, I never could abide thae trokin's wi' the Wud.
ne.Sc. 1929 M. W. Simpson Day's End 18:
They carena by tho' Jock frae Jeanie pairts, Nor feint a haet for a' your broken he'rts!
m.Sc. 1939 James Barke The Land of the Leal (1987) 103:
'They're good boys - the pair o' them. Damn the hate at the arable but they can do. ... '
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 174:
Devil a haet's gaunna come o hus.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 58:
'Betsy, run and see if ony o' them has an inch o' tobacco to give me.' None of them had. Not a haet, nor any money to buy some.

3. Hence simply, a minute particle, an atom; a whit, iota, small quantity (Sc. 1808 Jam., hait, hate; s.Sc. 1901 N.E.D., haed). Gen.Sc. Gen. in neg. sentences.Per. 1802 S. Kerr Poems 93:
My Pills cost naething but the makin! Ne'er haet are they but flour an' blakin!
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop Poems 17:
Oor minister never kent a hait aboot whan the waddin was tae be.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 218:
I'm juist forfochten noo in daein' the least haet.
Gall. 1889 H. M. B. Reid Gall. Folk 69:
Bide a wee or I pit a haet o' polish on them.
Uls. 1900 A. McIlroy Lone Craig-Linnie Burn 131:
He tried tae get merriet mair nor yinst, bit ivery time the lass cam' forrit an' flourish't a certain letter in 'is face, an no' a haet cud 'e dae.
Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 30:
Are ye pitten oot, Elspet? . . . Niver a haet, lass.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 36:
Nae haet or rissom sall be fund Whan Life has dune wi' me.
wm.Sc. 1936 C. W. Thomson Sc. School Humour 134:
When the teacher asked him if he had no idea what to do if he had £5,000, he lazily drawled, “I widna dae a blessed haet!”
Slg. 1949 W. D. Cocker New Poems 1:
“Did ye gie siller to the Kirk?” “I never gied a haet.”

Phrs.: (1) haet a', absolutely nothing (m.Lth.1 1956); (2) neither ocht nor hate, neither one thing nor another (Sc. 1808 Jam.; m.Lth.1 1956); (3) that's a haet, that is no matter, never mind (e.Rs.1 1929; Per.4 1950).(1) Dmf. 1903 J. L. Waugh Thornhill xvi.:
And believe me, dear Tammas, a man dis haet a' But soops the streets clean ilka day.
(3) n.Sc. 1909 Scotsman (10 April):
In Scottish literature and in Lowland Scottish speech I have met this word in negative expressions only, e.g., “Fient a haet,” whereas in the north I have never heard it, except in the positive expression, “That's a haet,” meaning “No matter, I don't care.”

[Orig. an exclamatory phr. deit hae't = devil have it! from imper. of Hae, v.1, to have, used as a strong neg. It became synon. with devil a bit, etc., not a whit, and the indef. art. was introduced into the phr. Haet was then regarded as a n. = whit, atom, and found alone with or without a neg.]

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"Haet n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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