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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEET, n.1 Also leit, leat. [lit]

1. A stack of peats or ‡coal of certain dimensions varying at different times and places (ne.Sc., Lth. 1960); a section of a peat-stack (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Cf. 2.Mry. 1732 E. D. Dunbar Social Life (1865) 93:
Sixty loads of peats or therby … for makeing up a leet of peats, fourteen foots square, carried up seven foots high, and rooffed in to fourteen foot from top to bottom.
Sc. 1748 Caled. Mercury (21 April):
Payment yearly of … 14 Poultry, half a Mart, and a Wedder and a half, with a Leat of Peats.
Gsw. 1762 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1912) 97:
6d. sterling for each leet of coalls to be putt out of the coal pitts [estimated by the editor to be about twelve loads].
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 8:
A leat of peats, measuring 24 feet in length, 12 in breadth at the bottom and 3 at the top and twelve feet high, will cost the consumer in town upwards of £5.
Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 205:
Peat-casters in the season are paid by the leat of forty cart-loads, at from 17s. to £1 per leat, including the labour of spreading and setting the peats.
Abd.5 1928:
In certain parts there are still certain bonnage services due by the tenants to the laird and one man remarked, “I've jeest driven a leet o' peats for the laird.”

Hence leet-peats, peats delivered in leets as part of a farm-tenant's rent to his landlord. Now hist.Kcd. 1705 Urie Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 113:
Noe tennent lead ther leet peets in the night tyme.
n.Sc. 1764 W. Fraser Chiefs of Grant (1883) II. 441:
I am determin'd to oblige the tenants to pay their leet-peets very regularly.
Bnff. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 398:
Leet-peats, as they are called (measuring 8 feet in length, 12 broad, and 12 high), must be payed in kind when demanded.
Abd. 1833 Hatton Estate MSS.:
Twenty feet of leet peats at present deliverable by the Tenants.
Abd. 1926 Trans. Bch. Field Club XIII. 85:
In many parts of Aberdeenshire a substantial part of the rent was paid in kind, “in cain hens, leet peats and in days in the moss and in hairst.”

2. A section of a sow or oblong stack of grain or beans (see quots.) (Lth., wm.Sc. 1960). A somewhat sim. usage occurs in Eng. dial. Comb. leet-stack, the stack or sow itself (Lnk. 1960).Sc. 1802 Farmer's Mag. (Feb.) 83:
Barley, oats, peas, beans, mowed by the naked scythe; and all, except clean beans, raked into heaps, and stacked loose, in vast sows, without leats.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Gen. Report Agric. Scot. I. 398:
Yet oblong stacks, provincially called sows, are to be seen occasionally; and these are sometimes built with contiguous interruptions at regular distances, called leets, for the convenience of taking then down in parts, without disturbing the remainder.
Lnk. 1948 Scotsman (10 Nov.):
19 Leets Oats (Yielder), 12 Dass Wheat and 12 Leets Wheat (squarehead Master), 25 Leets Mashlam.

[O.Sc., = 1., 1552, = 2., 1612, O.E. hlēte, hlīete, O.N. hløyti, a lot, share, portion. For the development of meaning cf. Faer. (torv-) lutur, a kind of peat-stack, O.N. hlutr, a lot, share.]

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"Leet n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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