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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.

VIZZY, v., n. Also viz(ze)y, viz(z)i(e), ¶vizzeh (Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 104), vissie, -y, visey, -ie, visee; veesy, -zy; reduced form veeze (Ork.). [′vɪzi, ′vi:zi, Ork. vi:z]

I. v. 1. tr. or absol. To look (at) closely, inspect, examine, scrutinise (Sc. 1825 Jam.), freq. implying cocking the eye to focus properly, to squint (at) (Sh. 1973). Vbl.n. vizzying in comb. vizzying hole, a spy-hole in a door from which one could see who was seeking admittance, a judas (Edb. 1825 R. Chambers Traditions I. 236).Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 84:
vissyt him then round about.
Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 47:
Wives . . . wi' grains and raxing 'gan to blink And vizzy a' things round.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 256:
When first your Castles I did vizzey.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. ix.:
As dark and how as the vizzying hole in an auld castle postern door.
Sc. 1867 J. Grant White Cockade v.:
An eye was seen to vizzy them carefully.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (29 April):
He blindi'd his left e'e an' vizzied laek a joiner luikin' at da edge o' a clift.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 30:
The dustman skipped to the bothie ree And vizzied the orra-men.

2. intr. To take aim with a gun, bow or other weapon (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., vizzi, Sh. 1973). Also fig.Slk. 1817 Hogg Works (1874) 150:
He airches an' he vizies for a good while.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 457:
When vizzying first at the nail in the bull's eye of the target.
Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Works 90:
The saul's the mark at which I vizzy.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 45:
Showing me how to vizie to hit a small board.
Sh. 1901 Shetland News (28 Sept.):
A'll vissie as even as some o' da volunteers.

3. To study, pore over (Ork. 1929 Marw., veeze; Sh. 1973).

4. To vise, issue with a visa.Sc. 1868 J. Grant White Cockade v.:
Letters signed and vizzied by the conservator of Scottish privileges at Campvere.

II. n. 1. n. (1) A look, sight, glimpse, scrutiny, survey (Abd. 1925; Sh., ‡Lth. 1973). Comb. vizzie-hole, a peep-hole (see I. 1.) (Ork. 1973).Sc. 1700 J. Clark Christ's Impressions 37:
O the many sweet Visies and Communications of Christ, that Believers have gotten on their Knees.
Sc. 1785 H. Mackenzie Lounger 22:
He tried to see the stage, and got a flying vizzy now and then.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xvi.:
Ye had best take a visie of him through the wicket before opening the gate.
Sc. 1834 Tait's Mag. I. 429:
To take a steady fixed vizzy of any one thing.
Sc. 1850 J. Grant Sc. Cavalier xxxvi.:
Take a gude survey of them through the vizzy-hole.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin viii.:
His Reverence micht get a vizzie o' me i' the bye-gaen.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxiv.:
To gar Sir Simon tak' a vizzy backar't.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 68:
A wis wantin' ye tae tak' a vizy o' ma knockie here.
s.Sc. 1898 Border Mag. (Oct.) 191:
A gizened dottle o' a man he was, yince we had a fair vizzy o' 'im.
Sc. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days iii.:
I suppose God took a kind of vizzy down that night.

(2) A view, vista, prospect.Sc. 1723 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 54:
A summer hous and ducat has a small visee to each airth.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxviii.:
It will maybe be sawn down next week, to gie the new-comers a veesy in that airt.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch vi.:
We could have a vizzy of the grand ancient building of George Heriot's Hospital.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 187:
The vizzy o' them frae the cluds.

2. (1) An aim (with a weapon), gen. in phr. to take a vizzy (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh. 1973).Sc. 1720 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 86:
The Thane of Fife, wha lately wi' his flane, And vizy leel, made the blyth bowl his ain.
Gsw. 1725 Letter from the Magistrates of Glasgow, to a Gentleman in Edinburgh (30 June) 2:
The Soldier taking a Vizie, shot him dead.
Per. 1801 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 52:
Take a good tizzy [sic] and deil hae him that misses.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun 52:
[He] took but ae vizzy wi' his eie — The bullet flies.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-boat 143:
Logan took a vizy, and fired, but his gun flashed in the pan.
Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor 245:
Ambitions of taking a vizzy along the gun.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 98:
Takin' a veezy wi' his gun, he backit gradually to the sea.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 19:
They always closed wan eye when they wud take a vizzy.

(2) The sight or knob on the barrel of a gun. Hence vizyless, without a sight, of a gun. Combs. vizzie-drap (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 457) (see Drap, n., 4.), vizzy-peg (Uls. 1953 Traynor), id.Sc. 1828 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 288–300:
Thus too, the vizy generally inclined unduly to one side or the other. . . . Our passion could restore thee [sc. Mons Meg] butless, lockless, vizyless though thou be'st to the light of day.

[O.Sc. visy, vesy, to examine, to go to see, a.1400, to view, 1475, to gaze, 1513, to aim, 1582, O.North. Fr. viseer, to visit, Lat. visitare, id. There has phs. been later confusion with Fr. viser, visee, (to) aim, Late Lat. visare. O.Sc. vize, the sight on a gun, 1644.]

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"Vizzy v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 2 Dec 2023 <>



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