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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PINT, n. Also †p(a)ynt. Sc. forms and usages: as in Eng., a measure of capacity, in Scot. formerly equivalent to 1042 cubic inches or 3001 Imperial pints according to the Stirling standard, with local variations. The commonly repeated assertion that the Scots pint was equal to 4 English pints is difficult to explain. It may be due to the fact that the Mutchkin, q.v., (26 cubic ins.) was gen. thought of as the measure corresponding to the contemporary English wine pint (288 cubic ins.), used for most liquids except ale, and that there are 4 mutchkins to the Sc. pint. Cf. also the non-standard pints in 1829 quot. It was statutorily abolished in 1826 but survived in use in remoter areas till the end of the 19th c., e.g. for the allowance of milk given to married ploughmen, and is still used in calculations by Sc. bakers as = 4 pints imp. Also attrib.Abd. 1716 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VII. 251:
For three paynts brandie, 5 libs. 8 shil.
Bnff. 1726 Annals Bnff. (S.C.) II. 217:
Paid for ten pyntes of aell and ane peck of meall to the men for bread.
Inv. 1727 Trans. Inv. Scientif. Soc. I. 226:
Ane dozen iron pots sorted, holding 'twixt 8 and 12 Scots pints each.
Sc. c.1750 Young Chevalier 31–2:
They . . . actually furnished John Roy Stewart with a Ten Scots Pint (Note — That is Twenty English Quarts, Winchester Measure) Barrel of Usquebaugh.
Sc. 1800 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (26 Nov.) 382:
Take one pound of rice, and one pound of barley, and boil them in four full Scots pints or two English gallons of water.
Sc. 1826 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 244:
The original standard Stirling pint jug was sent from that burgh for examination.
Lnk. 1829 G. Buchanan Tables 233, 250:
A Measure called a Scotch Pint, containing 111 Cubic Inches, has long been in use in Glasgow, for the sale of Ale, Beer, Porter, and Butter Milk . . . The Capacity of the larger of these Jugs, or Renfrew Ale Pint, is such as to contain 1128 Cubic Inches.
Highl. 1886 J. H. Dixon Gairloch 116:
Some old weights and measures are still adhered to; milk is sold by the pint, which is half a gallon.
Sc. 1927 J. Kirkland Bakers' ABC 267:
The Scotch pint, which is still in constant use, and which is the standard for liquid measures in most Scottish bakehouses, has a measurement, according to the standard Stirling jug, of 103.404 English cubic inches. Its capacity is about five-elevenths of an English ale gallon; that is a little less than half a gallon imperial.
Gsw. 1948 Sc. Assoc. Master Bakers Yr. Bk 69:
There were two Scotch pint measures in use at that time [1886]; one could hold 4½ lbs. of cold water, and the other 5 lbs. of cold water, i.e., the larger one was half a gallon.
Sc. 1957 R. Sheppard & E. Newton Bread 142:
They [Scottish bakers] even adopted their own standards of liquid measure, including the Scotch pint, still in use today, which is equivalent to four Imperial pints.

Combs. and phr.: 1. funin pint, see Found, v.; 2. pint-pig, an earthenware vessel used by children and others as a money-box (Sc. 1825 Jam., pynt-pig). See also Pig, n. and Pyne-Pig, of which this may be orig. a corruption; 3. pint-pot, a tankard or drinking vessel containing a Scots pint; 4. pint-stoup, (1) = 3. (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (2) a spiral shell of the genus Turbo, resembling (1) in shape (Lth. 1825 Jam.). See also Stowp.2. Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Flights 249:
Pint pigs for haudin' your Friday's bawbees.
Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 61:
My Friday's pennies, ilka ane, Were in a pint-pig safely stored.
3. n.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) 151:
Their capacious pint pot, which they call a stoup.
4. (1) Sc. a.1770 Herd's MSS. (Hecht 1904) 250:
There was Geordy, that we lood his lassie, He took the pint-stoup in his arms.
Ayr. 1788 Burns Auld Lang Syne ii.:
And surely ye'll be your pint-stoup, And surely I'll be mine.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. iii.:
It wad just come to their hand like the boul o' a pint-stoup.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 318:
The pump-well being just at the step of the door, and quite as handy as the bool of the pint-stoup on the comptor.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 19:
Your plack an my plack an Jennie's bawbee, We'll pit them i' the pint stoup, an join a' three.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Bog-Myrtle 19:
The men, each with his pint-stoup before him.
Ags. 1904 W. M. Inglis Angus Parish 165:
Whisky was measured by the pint-stoup, which contained 16 gills.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 58:
A wheen pint-stoops o' a strange yill.

[O.Sc. poynt-stope, 1502.]

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"Pint n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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