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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.

WAT, v.2 Also wate (Sc. 1720 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 163, c.1800 Lord Thomas in Child Ballads No. 73 I. xvii., Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 161), wait (e.Lth. 1745 A. Skirving Johnnie Cope i., s.Sc. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 379), ¶waete (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms iv. 3); ne.Sc. forms wite, wyt(e), ¶wicht (Sc. 1872 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. Pref. xxiv.). See P.L.D. § 126.2. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wot, to know (Abd. 1733 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1765) 41; Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 89, Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 124; Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 60; Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 59; Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxxiii.; Per., Ayr. 1915-1926 Wilson; Abd. 1928 J.Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 15; Rxb. 1942 Zai). For other Sc. forms see Weet, v.2 [wɑt, †wet]

A. Forms. Imper. wat (ye) (Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Songs 52); first pers. sing. wat or infreq. wats (Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.), second pers. sing. wat or infreq. wats (Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 80), third pers. sing. wats or infreq. wat (Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 147); Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamesun 63), pl. wat. Pr.p. wattin, wattan (Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 59). Neg. forms with enclitic -na, wat(s)na.

B. Usages. 1. (1) in phrs.: (i) parenthetically as an asseverative only in 1st pers. sing. I wat, I wite (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 211; ne.Sc., Ags. 1973), wat weel, weel (an') I wat, -wite, weel-a-wat, -awite, weel-awyte, weeliwat, weel I wytewull- (Sc. 1870 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. xxiii., weel-a-wicht; Abd. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 17, wull-a-wite; ne.Sc., Ags. 1973), weel wat I, I wat ye, indeed, to be sure, I must say, I can tell you, most certainly, I wat wad he no, wouldn't he just! See also Awite. In reduced form wyte in 1804 quot.; (ii) watna-whats, insignificant matters or persons, things of no moment; (2) vbl.n. wætin, knowledge. Liter.(1) (i) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iii. ii.:
Betooch-us-to! and well I wat that's true.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 208:
The Court o' Session, weel wat I, Pitts ilk chiel's whittle i' the pye.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 55:
A well-a-wat she's no lingle-tail'd.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 138:
Wow Sirs! it's odd to think, wat-weel!
Ayr. 1795 Burns Had I the Wyte iv.:
And weel I wat, her willin mou Was sweet as sugar-candie.
Edb. 1801 Brigs of Edinburgh 6:
Tho' weeliwat I maun confess,
Gin in the days o' guid queen Bess
Men o'er dry land had bridges plann'd,
they'd been by a' descriptions dn'd.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 56:
Skippin lightly on ilk shullie, Wyte he hid na scar nir lame.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vi.:
D'ye ever think that little bonny demure-looking lad there wad suffer ye to hurt a woman? — I wat wad he no!
Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kail-yard 11:
Nae great religion weel-awyte, In rumblin' wi' an empty kyte.
Ags. 1846 P. Livingston Poems (1855) 88:
They're pinched, I wat, by poverty.
Gsw. 1881 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 34:
An' 'tweel I wat, few are exempt At times frae stings o' conscience.
Per. 1895 T. Ford Tayside Songs 203:
For, weel-an'-I-wat, 'Twere waesome to see Him lame o' a leg, Or blind o' an e'e.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 24:
So, weel I wat du's tired da nicht.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 144:
Oh, weel-I-wait, no! has he gane frae the Peel?
Slg. 1910 W. Blair Kildermoch 107:
I wat you the wee bundle o' life was weel carried that day to the poopit fit.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 98:
He was watchfu', an' airtfu', an' sly, I wat.
Bnff. 1927 Banffshire Jnl. (10 May):
I wat ye, freens, the jades are changed, sin Jock and I were young.
Abd. 1963 J. Kesson Glitter of Mica 22:
He always insisted on sleeping out in the stable with his pair. I wight he did that.
Per. 1979 Betsy Whyte The Yellow on the Broom 70:
'You will maybe do something just as silly before very long.' 'Weel-awyte, I dinnae think so.'
Bnff. 1993:
Weel I wyte (aye).
Abd. 2004:
Weel a wyte! I fun a poun note on e road.
(ii) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iv. ii.:
Sir William's cruel that wad force his son, For watna-whats, sae great a risk to run.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 13:
An' warst ava' whan close door neighbours fight, 'Bout wat'na' what's, for little wrang or right.
(2) s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms liii. 4:
Hae the wurkers o' inequitie nae wætin?

2. See quot. Obs. in Eng.s.Sc. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 379:
To wait a person, signifies, in popular language, to know from experience.

[O.Sc. wat(e), know, 1375, from O.E. wāt, orig. pret. tense, which had as in other Indo-European languages (e.g. Skt. vēda, Gr. οιδα), acquired a present meaning and developed a present infin. form witan, which becomes Weet in Sc. (see Weet, v.2), and a new past tense wist.]

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"Wat v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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