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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SUDDENTY, n. Also -ie, suddainty (Sc. 1808 Jam.). [′sʌdənti]

1. Suddenness, a sudden manner, a sudden act or incident, gen. in phrs. in, of, (up)on or wi a suddenty, all of a sudden, extremely quickly and unexpectedly (Sc. 1808 Jam.; n.Sc. 1971).Slk. 1744 Session Papers, Emmond v. Magistrates Selkirk (19 June) 28:
What was the Throng with the Council the Night, on such a Suddenty?
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
It is not likely that he should have joined them on a suddenty.
Sc. 1820 Scots Mag. (May) 92:
In a suddentie, on the firie-flaucht. The stately stag is gane.
Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling II. iii.:
It was an awfu' whup — a sair straik a' of a suddenty!
Abd. 1837 J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 25:
It jist cam' upon's wi' sic an extraordinar suddenty.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 245:
I forgathered on a great suddenty wi' Pate Glunch.
Ags. 1888 Brechin Advert. (11 Dec.) 3:
She gaed aff a' in a suddenty.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Upon a suddenty, and wi' the ae dreidfu' skelloch.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 9:
She can be the missie on a suddenty.
Abd. 1928 Nan Shepherd The Quarry Wood (2001) 43:
Remember her? Well, to be sure! One didn't keep a black besom under one's roof three years and forget her in such a suddenty as that.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (19 Dec.):
The puir sowls that the past week his brocht sorra tae wi' sic suddenty.
ne.Sc. 1983 Lilianne Grant Rich The Horn Speen (1984) 52:
On a suddenty throu yer heid
In the flichter o an ee
Rives a mental arra aimed bi
Ane o yon nine queyns on Parnassus
Wi naething better adee.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 4:
O a suddenty, the back wheel o the tractor laired in the dubby sheugh aside the burn an furled roon, spirkin glaur in ilkie airt.

2. Esp. in Sc. Law: a sudden outburst of rage, an act done in hot blood, freq. in phrs. of or on (a) suddenty, without premeditation.Sc. 1737 Session Papers, H.M. Advocate v. Macfarlane (25 Nov.) 5:
Where the killing was only a Suddenty, and not proceeding from any former Grudge.
Sc. 1757 J. Maclaurin Crim. Cases (1774) 179:
The slaughter was not done of a suddenty.
Sc. 1785 H. Arnot Crim. Trials 173:
Distinction between murder and manslaughter, between deliberate assassination and killing of a suddenty.
Sc. 1797 D. Hume Punishment of Crimes I. 365:
The manslayer on suddenty was to have the benefit of the girth or sanctuary.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 157:
Upo' the suddenties 'at he eest t' gie you sometimes fan ye wid a latten the beasts in amo' the corn.

3. Mishap, harm, mischief, esp. when sudden and unexpected (Abd. 1825 Jam.).Abd. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 51:
A suddenty upon ye fa'.

[O.Sc. suddante, = 2., 1469, = 1., c.1533, Mid.Eng. sudeynte, O. Fr. sodeinete, suddenness.]

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"Suddenty n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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