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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

VICTUAL, n. Also Sc. forms victuall; vittail (Sc. 1724 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) III. 163), vit(t)al, vittel, -le, veetle (Edb. 1897 C. Campbell Deilie Jock 137); wictuale (Sc. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 415). [vɪtl] Sc. usage: corn, grain, sometimes also leguminous crops, a crop before or after harvesting (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 135, 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., vittle; Kcd., Slg., Lth. 1973). Hence deriv. victualler, n., one who deals in grain, a corn-merchant (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1700 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 287:
I know not yet what vituall is delivered.
Abd. 1722 Records Marischal Coll. (S.C.) 444:
Each master for himself and his servant, at the rate of six bolls victual per quarter, half bear half meal.
Sc. 1765 Caled. Mercury (25 March) 144:
Some Stacks of Victual, consisting of four stacks of oats, two of barley, two of pease and beans, and one of wheat.
Ayr. 1785 Burns 3rd Ep. to Lapraik vii.:
A' the vittel in the yard. An' theekit right.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. v.:
She has twelve bows sowing of victual.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 321:
The stipend consists of 42 bolls of victual, partly oats, partly meal and partly barley.
Ags. 1867 G. W. Donald Poems 69:
Maist fouk were fouchen wi' their crap: An' raised the vittel in a rap.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 41:
Nee winder if the're nee vital on the shaevs.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Raiders xvi.:
In this place no victual grew.
Kcd. 1929 J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse vii.:
Ivry ither meenit a stack lichtit aboot him, an' he was like to be smored wi' his ain vittal.

Combs.: (1) Buchan vittal, see quot.; (2) victual-dealer, a grain-merchant, a grocer who sells meal and other cereals. The usage is now peculiar to Edinburgh; (3) victual-farm, rent paid in grain. See Ferm, n.1; (4) victual-house, a granary, esp. the grain-store of an estate; (5) victual merchant, = (2); (6) victual rent, = (3); (7) victual stipend, that part of a minister's stipend formerly paid in grain or the cash equivalent thereof; (8) victual teind, id. See Teind, n.1, 2. (52).(1) n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Applied to meal of which the “twa part is aits, and the third bear”. Metaph. transferred to a person on whom one can place no dependence; as “He's Buchan vittal that”.
(2) Sc. 1801 Farmer's Mag. (Jan.) 28:
The profession of the farmer or the victual-dealer.
Edb. 1973 Edb. Directory 1210:
Victual Dealers: Brown, John S., 57 Great Junction Street.
(3) Sc. 1781 Caled. Mercury (31 Oct.):
The barony measure is large, and the victual-farm gives the highest prices.
(4) Kcd. 1699 Black Book Kcd. (1843) 92:
Balmakewan's victual house was broken in the second story in the easings of the gable.
Abd. 1748 Abd. Journal (20 Dec.):
As also reserving the Victual-House for holding the Victual and Farms of Elrick.
(5) Sc. 1801 Farmer's Mag. (Jan.) 28:
The farmer or victual merchant.
(6) Ags. 1708 Montrose Burgh Rec. MS. (12 Oct.):
The victual and money rents payable out of the bishops rents to the town.
Sc. 1722 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 174:
A full and compleat rentall of all your estate, both victuall and money rent.
(7) Fif. 1801 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (8 July) 216:
The Lands pay 24 bolls of victual stipend to the minister.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlv.:
There was no knowing how long he might be in paying the next term's victual stipend.
Sc. 1925 Acts 15 & 16 Geo. V. c.33. s.1:
Every stipend which depends upon fluctuations in the price of victual (hereinafter in this Act referred to as “victual stipend”).

[O.Sc. wyttaille, corn, cereals, 1420, vittal hous, 1576, victual meall, 1579, victual rent, 1683.]

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"Victual n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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