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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

SCRAT, v., n.1 Also skrat(t), srawt. [skrɑt]

I. v. 1. To scratch, claw, to make a scratching noise (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne.Sc., e. and wm.Sc. 1969); fig. to make a mark with a pen, to write scrapily. Derivs.: skratter, a small brush or scrubber made of short heather or twigs tied together (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1969); scratty, scratchy.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 95:
Baith owre it stood, and raged, and fought, And scrated, punsed, and flang.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer xviii.:
That line's only juist scrattit in.
Abd. 1882 G. MacDonald Castle Warlock vii.:
When the cat gangs scrattin' at the door.
Abd. 1905 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 200:
A'm ca'in' in pints o' horse nails here to gar that blintrin auld bitch scrat 'er han's.
m.Sc. 1985 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 18:
"Whit tree daes a chestnut grow on?" Wi muckle scrattin o his pow, Ogilvy replied: - "I'm nae juist shair. Could it be a birk?"
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 14:
He saw her scrattin up the yaird in faist yarks o her strang cleuks, syne stoppit, struck wi wunner at the performance that he wis seein fur the first time.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 48:
Mrs Mathers rugged aff Maisie's playin claes an plunkit her inno a steen-cauld scratty semmit new aff the claes-line, far the icicles jinglit like coo bells in the jeelin win.

2. With aff: to mark out the rigs to be ploughed in a field by shallow furrows (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1969).Abd. 1964 Huntly Express (3 Jan.) 2:
I wis lookin' ower at 'im scrattin' aff that ley parkie in the mornin'.

3. To scrape (money) together, to make one's living in a penurious or laborious way.Abd. 1898 Weekly Free Press (6 Aug.):
To scrat an' slave, an' yet nae mak' eneuch to haud body an' soul thegither.

II. n. 1. A scratch, slight wound or cut (Bnff., Gall. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1969); the noise made by scratching (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 150; Ork., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1969), also deriv. ¶scratle, in phr. to play scratle, to make a scraping, scratching sound.Lnk. 1822 Clydesdale Wedding 4:
For whiles he play'd screed wi' the hair, But as aft wi' the stick he play'd scratle.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 15:
I canno' find a skart on de skin.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 44:
‘Fetch a doctor!' cried the couper, Doctor for a tummle an' scrat!
Abd. 1902 Weekly Free Press (11 Jan.):
A ballast train ran ower him, an' never sae muckle as made a scrat on him.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 63:
My ain screivins, he aye telt me, luikit like the hen's merch tae the midden - aa scrats an scoors.

2. The first shallow furrow made by ploughmen when opening a rig (Ork., ne.Sc. 1969). Cf. v., 2.

3. A slight breaking of the waves, a little surf.Ork. 1929 Marw.:
The're a skrat o' sea on noo; we'll no be able tae fish at the rocks the night.

4. Of a crop: one that is sparse and scanty, and to be harvested as if by scraping the ground.e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 33:
Sma wheat was saun, an' maist o' that Was drooned out tae a waesome scrat Ere Mayday cam'.

[O.Sc. skrat, v., a.1400, Mid.Eng. scratte, to scratch. More common in metathetic form Scart, v., q.v.]

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"Scrat v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Oct 2022 <>



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