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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SKIT, v.1, n.1 [skɪt; Sh., Cai. skit]

I. v. 1. To caper, as a young horse; to skip about, to act skittishly, to flounce (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Rare and dial. in Eng.Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 10:
She skits and flings like ony towmont fillie.

2. To squirt, spray water, splash out (Sh., Cai. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Cf. II. 4. and Scoot. The quot. below may however be a misprint for skiting (see Skite).Per. 1881 D. McAra Crieff 248:
The [fire-] engine's skitting richt noo.

3. To steal, pilfer (Edb. 1859 F. W. Bedford Hist. Heriot's Hosp. 344). Hence skitter, a thief (Id.). School slang and phs. a different word, with some allusion to Skit, v.2Edb. 1859 F. W. Bedford Hist. Heriot's Hosp. 346:
[He] tells great rories, and is a skitter besides.

II. n. †1. A sportive or skittish young horse (Sc. 1880 Jam.); a light-minded, frivolous or wanton woman (Id.).

2.A silly frivolous action, a piece of showing-off (Sc. 1908 Jam.).

3. A trick, a hoax, a piece of duplicity or humbug (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 158; Sh., Bnff., Abd., Kcb. 1970).Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxxii.:
I canna think it, Mr Glossin; this will be some o' your skits now.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 210:
Somebody's been trying to hae a bit skit at your expense.

4. A squirt or spirt of water, a jet; a sharp short shower (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). Also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1865 J. W. Carlyle New Letters (1903) II. 336:
It is blowing hard today, with skits of rain.
Sc. 1877 J. S. Blackie Nat. Hist. Atheism 31:
No more than a skit of a boy's squirt can put out the sun.

5. A hasty stroke, flick.Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 237:
The lawyer's pen comes on a skit.

6. A blow, stroke of misfortune. Cf. Skite.Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 43:
An' faith he has a fouth o' wit, Which gars us dree an unca skit O' Downie lost.

[O.Sc. skit, a wanton or frivolous woman, 1572, of uncertain orig. Prob. from a stem *skyt-, a short vowel form from O.N. skjóta, see Skite, v. Cf. Eng. skittish.]

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"Skit v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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