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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WAIT, v., n.1 Also †waite, wate, †weat ; wyte, wite, weyt (Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 18). Sc. forms and usages. [wet, ne.Sc. wəit]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. as above; imper. waity (Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 62). See Ye, pron.; pa.t. weak waitit, waitted, weyted (Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 9), strong wat (Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick vii.), wate (Bch. 1932 Dieth 155); pa.ppl. weak waited, strong witten, wutten (Dieth, Abd. 1973).Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 56:
A maist unceevil veesitor,
He disna speir, "Can I come in?"
He disna wyte, nur dicht his feet,
Nur rattle at the tirlin pin

B. Usages: 1. intr. As in Eng. Phr. to wait or, er, ir, to wait until (Sh., n., m., s.Sc. 1973). See Er(e), conj., Ir, conj., Or, prep., conj.1, 2.Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 60:
Wait or the morn at een.
Bnff. 1871 Banffshire Jnl. (26 Dec.) 7:
Ye can wyte or ye get the richt market.
Abd. 1921 Wkly. Free Press (21 Dec.) 2:
Wyte ye still or they begin pittin' on th' screw on them.
Gsw. 1937 F. Niven Staff at Simson's viii.:
Wait or I get the tickets.
Abd. 1967 Fraserburgh Herald (10 Feb.):
Wyte or some idder time.

With preps. and advs.: (1) wait efter, to wait for (a person) (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), s.v. efter, Sh. 1973); †(2) wait of, (i) to call on, pay one's respects to (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 64). Obs. in Eng. c.1700; (ii) to attend the summons of; (iii) to attend to the wants or health of; (3) wait (up)on, where on is prep.: (i) to wait for, await (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 23, 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16). Gen.Sc. Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. since the 17th c.; (ii) = (2) (ii); to attend, do duty at; (iii) (a) = (2) (iii), esp. of a sick or dying person (Cai. 1973). Cf. to leuk on s.v. Leuk, v., 3. (4); also (b) to be dying or expected to die (Cai. 1973). Poss. not directly associated with (a), rather a specif. use of (i) with death euphemistically suppressed (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Wgt. 1905 E.D.D.). Also with on o (see On, adv., 2. (6)); (iv) where on is adv.; to linger, remain in attendance (ne.Sc., Per. 1973); †specif. in farm or domestic service: to stay on for another term, to be re-engaged.(2) (i) Sc. 1712 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 130:
I resolve verie soon to have the honour to wait of you at Edinburgh.
(ii) Abd. 1720–1 Session Rec. Auchterless MS. (6 Nov., 7 May):
She compeiring, Was Seriously exhorted and appointed to wait of the Presbytrie when advertised. . . . They were Seriously exhorted to repentance and Amendment of Life and appointed to wait of the Session.
Sc. 1746 D. Warrand More Culloden Papers (1930) V. 123:
I went to wait of General Campbell.
Sc. 1763 in Boswell in Holland (Pottle 1952) 105:
It is quite necessary when you go to The Hague that you wait of Sir Joseph Yorke.
(iii) Sth. 1739 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 443:
To wait of a Child of his that had two fits of the falling sickness that day.
Sc. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 430:
Sending Doctor Skene to waite of them.
(3) (i) Lth. 1783 Session Rec. Cramond MS. IX. 187:
While she was waiting on him to come in.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xii.:
She did na wait on talkin To spier that night.
Sc. 1811 Edb. Annual Reg. lxxiii.:
He waited dinner an hour on him.
Sc. 1896 Stevenson W. of Hermiston vii.:
Ye'll have to wait on yon Innes.
Sc. 1928 J. Buchan Montrose 265:
Baillie was waiting on the Fife regiments.
Fif. 1940 St Andrews Cit. (8 June) 4:
The awful anxiety of waiting on news of the safety of their dear ones.
ne.Sc. 1951 Abd. Press and Jnl. (17 May):
I am still waiting on their apology.
Abd. 1991 George Bruce in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 21:
Yestreen oor telly took's tae keek aneath
the watters o Chesapeake Bay to goggle at
a monster screen-size crab witin on's love
but she scrawled by him on the sand
and oot the frame, syne in agen and oot
the tither side,
Edb. 1994 Gordon Legge I Love Me (Who Do You Love?) 84:
'No. No it's alright,' said Hazel. 'I'm waiting on people.'
Dundee 2000 Matthew Fitt But n Ben A-Go-Go 100:
Cairns an Ip stood waitin on them when the Laich elevator dinged open.
Edb. 2004:
Ah'll wait oan ye doon the stairs.
Sc. 2004 Aberdeen Evening Express 6 Oct 4:
"We did not put in a complaint, so now we will have to wait on the referee's report to see what happens," said McGunnigle.
(ii) Wgt. 1700 Session Rec. Sorbie MS. (2 June):
The Session appoint Hary Hanna, elder, to goe to and wait upon the next Presbyterie.
Wgt. 1704 Session Rec. Kirkinner MS. (4 Dec.):
Jolm Martin of Little Aires attended last Presbyterie. He is to wait on the next Presbyterie also.
Wgt. 1744 Session Rec. Glasserton MS. (23 Sept.):
Adam Dickson and William Stewart is appointed to wait upon the collection upon Thursday and Saturday.
Per. 1896 I. MacLaren Kate Carnegie 196:
What need he come stravagin' doon frae Drumtochty for? it wud set him better tae wait on his ain folk.
ne.Sc. 1994 Alison Mann in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 196:
We hid tae wite on them hand an fit, aye ahent them - cleanin - cleanin.
They didna seem tae appreciate onythin aither.
(ii) (a) Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton xi.:
It wid be a bonnie story if ma nain hiret hoosekeeper cudna wite o' ma fan aw wiz onweel.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 268:
Jean McDill had taen a stroke, an' they wur joost waitin' on her.
Abd. 1929:
Mrs Broun socht Marian tae wyte on her and tak her about fan she dee't.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
He's waited on, i.e. he is dying.
(b) Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 275:
I fand my puir faither just waitin on, an' my mother maist dementit.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Jock's gey fer throw; hei's duist waitin' on o'.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 244:
The oul' docther hurries to the bedside of someone who is “a-waitin' on”.
(iv) Wgt. 1706 Session Bk. Wigtown (1934) 111:
The Session being informed that the said John is waiting on he was called upon and the Sessions mind intimate to him.
Wgt. 1733 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 210:
Those that waited on received tokens.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
It's a sair thing to hae to do wi' courts of law, unless it be to improve one's knowledge by waiting on as a hearer.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Keckleton 15:
Nelly had waitit on an additional 'oor.
Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups xii.:
O'd, Davie, man, wait on a bit, ye're fair oot o' sicht a'thegither.
Arg. 1931:
“Are ye waitin' on efter the term? ”“Ay, I'm waitin' on for anither half year.”

2. intr. To lodge, to make one's (temporary) home (Slg., Ayr., Wgt. 1973).Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 782:
No one talks of another as lodging anywhere: he or she ‘waits' at or with so-and-so.

3. In deriv. waiter, an under-porter or watchman at one of the city gates of Edinburgh in the 18th c. Hist.Sc. 1737 Crim. Trials Illustrative of “H. Midlothian” (1818) 294:
William Lindsay, waiter at the Netherbow port of Edinburgh.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian vi.:
The insurgents had made themselves masters of the West Port, rushing upon the Waiters (so the people were called who had the charge of the gates), and possessing themselves of the keys.
Sc. 1909 W. Roughead Trial Capt. Porteous 75:
Each of these ports [in Edinburgh], which were closed every night, was in charge of a keeper and his subordinates, who were known as “waiters.”

4. tr. To await, wait for, remain in expectation of (a person, thing or event) (n.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Rxb. 1973). Rare in Eng. Phrs. to wait one's patience, to take one's time (Per. 1973); to wait one's time, of a woman: to expect her confinement; to wait out, to wait till the end of.Edb. 1735 Process Wright v. Din 26:
Donaldson waited John Din, and asked him the Hour for ending the Matter.
Sc. 1745 Paraphrase li. 1:
But better mansions wait the just, Prepared above the sky.
Bnff. 1782 Caled. Mercury (14 Aug.):
He saf't thair [of poultry] lives, ti wait a wedden.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Sk. New Year's Day 49:
Yourself, you wait your bright reward.
Sc. 1819 Scott Leg. Montrose xxiii.:
She now waits you at the altar.
Sc. 1892 Stevenson Wrecker vi.:
We waited the coming of the lawyer.
Fif. 1894 D. S. Meldrum Margrédel vii.:
He's at his meat in the dining-room, waitin' you.
Fif. 1901 G. Setoun Skipper Barncraig ii.:
She was what her neighbours called “w'akly, an' waitin' her time.”
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song (1950) 79:
He waited the glass of toddy father brought him.
Abd. 1953 Huntly Express (13 March):
As farmers say when referring to that heavy land that is late in drying out, “Ye man jist wite th' sisson oot.”
Abd. 1970 Buchan Observer (7 April) 6:
The green park stans wide tae the open lift, And wytes the morn.

5. Phr. to wait (the) table, = Eng. to wait at table, to serve a meal to a guest (Cai., em.Sc. (a), Lth., wm.Sc., Slk. 1973).Sc. 1879 Stevenson Trav. Cevennes 152:
She waited the table with a heavy placable nonchalance.
Sc. a.1894 Stevenson St. Ives xi.:
We had a good many pleasant passages as she waited table or warmed my bed for me.

II. n. Gen. in pl.: (a member of) a body of municipal watchmen in Edinburgh (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 130). Obs. in Eng. since the 15th c. Attrib. wate-men, id.s.Sc. 1858 H. S. Riddell Song of Solomon iii. 3:
The wate-men that gae aboot the citie fand me.

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"Wait v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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