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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WATER, n., v. Also watter, -ir (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 154, -ir; Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 130, Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 75, -er; Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 142, -er); waater; waeter, wait(t)er (s.Sc. 1772 J. Reed Register Office 25; Lth. 1899 J. Adams Pronunc. Eng. Lang. 152; em.Sc. (b), s.Sc. 1973), wayter (s.Sc. 1931 Border Mag. (April) 53), wetter (em.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs. McCraw 25); in industrial areas the word is very freq. pronounced with a glottal stop, spelt as wa'er (wm.Sc. 1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 730, 1923 G. Blake Mince Collop Close 26). Sc. forms and usages. [′wɑtər, ′wɑʔər, em.Sc. (b), s.Sc. ′wetər]

I. n.

Sc. forms:wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 22:
Introduce ye tae his clan o' cousins, bluid's
Thicker than watter, ...
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 22:
Watter, Janet. I hae sic a thirst
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 86:
The suin in azure heich alowe,
wild geese gane frae the watter-howe,
spring smoors oot winter's bane.
I wha in Edimbro wes pent ...
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 39:
Cauld, grey waater heaves on the neap tide,
sweir as the sun i the north east.
Abd. 1994 Stanley Robertson in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 20:
Boldly she wint tae get a bucket o waater and a scrubbin brush alang wi a sweeping besom.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
The skillet skailed, bluid struled
Sutherland cursed tae hae
Sic reid hauns.
Hingin thro the sinnons
O its hin haughs
Harrigals fleitin in watter
The swine swayed
And the bern bauks creaked.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 63:
Issues matter but won't shatter
Maggie's very autocratic patter.
Lack o wind an your Welsh watter
should damp doun her fire.

Sc. usages:

1. (1) A large stream, usu. thought of as intermediate in size between a Burn and a river, freq. a tributary of a main river or occas. applied to the upper reaches of what becomes a larger river (Sc. 1736 Session Papers, Gordon v. Duff (28 July) 3, 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 196; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 465; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. now only dial. in Eng. Freq. in river names as Water of Avon, Water of Ayr, Water (of) Esk, — (of) Eye, — of Leith, Allan Water, Luther Water, Fenwick Water, Ale Water, Rule Water, Gala Water.Slg. 1707 R. Sibbald Hist. Slg. (1892) 29:
The West part of this Shire . . . is full of Mountains and Hills, with pleasant Vallies upon the Waters.
n.Sc. 1732 W. Fraser Chiefs of Grant (1883) II. 305:
When I came to the water of Nairn with my friends we durst not attempt to cross it, and we stay'd at the water syde till near night.
Arg. 1767 Caled. Mercury (18 Nov.):
A large water running for near three miles on the north march.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Ca' the Yowes vii:
While waters wimple to the sea.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 138:
Annan Water's wading deep.
w.Lth. 1840 in T. J. Salmon Borrowstounness (1913) 312:
The river which passes through Bo'ness is called the water.
Rxb. c.1870 Jethart Worthies 57:
A lang walk to Kale, but eh, man, when ye come in sight o' the waiter the tiredness gangs off like winkin.
Edb. 1914 W. G. Stevenson Wee Johnny Paterson 4:
Yae day there was a man gaun fishin' up the water.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 1:
Up the Noran Water.
s.Sc. 1948 J. G. Johnston Come fish with me 207:
A “water” is something bigger than a burn, but not large enough to be called a river.

(2) A river valley, the area and its inhabitants bordering a river (Sc. 1808 Jam.; s.Sc. 1973, waiter). . Also in Nhb. dial.s.Sc. 1801 J. Stoddart Remarks II. 270:
“The water” is here provincially used for “the neighbourhood;” and a traveller asking for salt-fish, or pickled herring, may, perhaps, be surprised at receiving for answer, that “there is none in the water.”
Slk. 1814 Hogg in E. C. Batho Ettrick Shepherd (1927) 78:
A small farm at the head of a water.
s.Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 180:
We hae a diet the day, as far up the water as Caple yetts.
m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warbling 23:
Up the water let's awa', There the birk and elm will shade us.
Sc. 1884 Session Cases (1883–4) 511:
The Water of Ayr, by common understanding, meant the whole basin drained by that water.
Lth. 1894 M. Oliphant Who was Lost i.:
There's another muckle paper-mill to be set up in our water.

(3) Phrs.: (i) doun the water, (a) to wreck or perdition, so as to be totally ruined or lost (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1973), fig. from a flood; (b) down river, specif. down the Clyde from Glasgow to places on the Firth, sc. for a jaunt or holiday (wm.Sc. 1973). See also Doon, adv.1, III. 37.; (ii) ower the water, (a) across to or at the other side of a river, specif. the Firth of Forth or Tay; (b) the name of a children's game (see quot.); (iii) to raise the water, to call out the fighting men of a valley for defence against a threatened foray in Border warfare. Hist.; (iv) to ride a water, to cross a river on horseback, also fig. with on, to depend on (Sc. 1825 Jam.), or wi, to be associated with (someone) in some risky enterprise (Ags. 1973). See Ride, v., 4. Also used pass.; (v) to wade a water, id. See Wade, v., 1. (2); (vi) to warn the water, = (iii).(i) (a) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii:
If the life of the dear bairn, — and Jeanie's, and my ain, and a' mankind's depended on my asking sic a slave o' Satan to speak a word for me or them, they should a' gae down the water for Davie Deans.
(b) wm.Sc. 1855 N. & Q. XII. 200:
The bridal party had gone down the water for a pleasure sail.
Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xliv.:
The bit hoosie was ance the dyer's dryin' hoose, afore he gaed further doon the watter.
Gsw. 1884 Kirkwood's Dict. Gsw. 6:
The working classes are thronging the streets sight-seeing, or betake themselves to some favourite spot “doon the water.”
wm.Sc. 1932 A. H. Charteris When the Scot Smiles 278:
Takin' the wife and weans doon the wa'er for a fortnight at the Ferr.
Gsw. 1960 Scotsman (20 July) 1:
Glasgow Trades holidaymakers enjoy a trip “doon the watter” to the Kyles of Bute.
(ii) (a) Sc. 1830 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) XI. 371:
I have been obliged to go as we express it over the water that is to cross the Firth [of Forth].
(b) Abd. 1900:
Ower the water. A game in which the players stand in a row at one side of the street, except one who stands in the middle facing them. Each player is given a colour and if the solitary player calls his name and that colour, the other may cross the street unhindered but if another colour than his own, he must run across and try to elude the single player who tries to catch him.
(iii) Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy I. 92:
To raise the water was to alarm those who lived along its side.
(iv) Sc. 1711 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) 1. 362:
A little after, riding a water, the gentleman's horse would not drink.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 115:
The deil, though girdit e'er so tight, Was ne'er to ride the water wi'.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxii.:
This Graham's nae sair to ride the water on wi that nor nae ither thing.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xxi.:
Crossing this time by the ford, for the water does not ride so readily below the forkings.
(vi) Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy I. 85:
Gar warn the water, braid and wide.

(4) Special combs. (see also 6. below): (i) water-bailie, (a) a magistrate of Leith and Edinburgh and of Glasgow who had local jurisdiction over maritime cases in the rivers Forth and Clyde respectively. Hist.; (b) a water-bailiff employed to prevent poaching in rivers (Sc. 1923 N.E.D.; n.Sc. 1973). See Bailie, 3. (1); (c) transf. one of the water-bug family, esp. the water-strider, Hydrobatides, or water boatman, Corixides (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Mry., Abd., 1973); (ii) water-bird, jocularly, a river-poacher; (iii) water-call, a dam in a river used to drive a mill. See Caul, n.1; (iv) water-fishing, river-fishing; (v) water-fit, -foot, the mouth of a river, freq. in place-names, e.g. a local name for Newton-on-Ayr at the mouth of the River Ayr; (vi) water-gate, (a) the bed of a stream, esp. the shingle, etc., at each side of the actual current; (b) a river valley and its inhabitants, = (2) above (s.Sc. 1973); a road traversing this, a road and its branches serving a valley (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (c) a fence, grating or the like suspended over a stream to prevent animals straying or floating rubbish from entering a mill-lade (Inv., m.Sc. 1973). See also s.v.1.; (vii) water-gled, fig., = (i). See Gled, n.1, 2.; (viii) water-heid, -head, the source of a river, the upper end of a valley (Ags., Slg., sm. and s.Sc. 1973); (ix) water lip, the brink of a stream (Ayr. 1973); (x) water-mou(th), †-mow, (a) the mouth of a river (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Lth. 1973); (b) the part of a cloud formation from which rain comes (Cai. 1973); (xi) water-neb, id., specif. the confluence of the Cart and the Clyde west of Renfrew (Rnf. 1887 Jam.); (xii) Water of Ayr stone, a kind of stone found on the banks of the Ayr used for making whetstones and polishing (wm.Sc. 1973). Also used as a v. in vbl.n. water-of-Ayring, polishing and buffing with a Water of Ayr stone; (xiii) water-serjant, one of the constables or officers of the court of the Bailie of the River in Glasgow. Cf. (i); (xiv) water-side, the side of a stream. Also attrib.; the land lying alongside a river, freq. of meadow land (Uls. 1953 Traynor); (xv) water-slap, a gap underneath a fence where it crosses over a stream or ditch (Arg. 1937); (xvi) water-spunkie, a will-o-the-wisp seen most frequently beside streams; (xvii) water-stane, a river-pebble; (xviii) water-water, river water (s.Sc. 1973); (xix) water-yett, = (vi) (c) (Per., Fif., Lnk., Gall., s.Sc. 1973).(i) (a) Edb. 1702 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 30:
He the said Water Baillie [of Leith] refused to admitt the same in regard he was appoynted by the good town of Edinburgh to be their Admirall within their own bounds.
Gsw. 1738 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 517:
The magistrats, thesaurer, clerk, master of work, water baillie and fiscal.
Gsw. 1834 Session Cases (1833–4) 654:
The question whether the sea basin of the canal be within the jurisdiction of the water-bailie.
Gsw. 1858 R. Reid Gsw. Past & Present (1884) III. 267:
In 1792 a case came before the Water Bailie Court of Glasgow.
m.Lth. 1915 D. Robertson Bailies Leith 76:
The older practice (when the Admiral bore the quaint and modest title of water bailie).
(ii) Per. 1930 P. Baxter Perth's Old-Time Trades 164:
Now-a-days there is neither pleasure nor profit in being a Perth “water-bird” or a “pirate”.
(iii) Sc. 1705 W. Forbes Decisions (1714) 5:
A Mill upon the Water of Nith a little above their Bridge, served by a Damdike or Watercall cross the Water.
Bwk. 1877 Joiner's Acct. Bk. MS. (18 Nov.):
To 18 hours of a man working at the Watercall in the Waird.
(iv) Edb. c.1700 D. Hume Domestic Details (1843) 34:
I had gone to Berwick about Blackader's business, to set his water fishings.
(v) Arg. 1730 Arg. Justiciary Rec. (Stair Soc.) II. 437:
The said Archibald Campbell officer and his said assistants were driveing the said horses towards the said waterfoot.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Holy Fair xvi.:
Peebles, frae the water-fit, Ascends the holy rostrum.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Bog-Myrtle i. ii.:
There's somebody at the waterfit.
(vi) (a) Rxb. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. I. 115:
The road lay rather in the river than upon its banks, or indeed simply consisted of what is called the watergate.
(b) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 396:
“I'll watch your Watergate.” That is, I'll watch for an advantage over you.
Sc. c.1800 Jamie Telfer in Child Ballads (1956) V. 250:
Now Jamie is up the water-gate Een as fast as he can drie.
s.Sc. 1880–1881 Border Counties Mag. I. 91, 109:
There was a bad feelin' in this watergate an' a' through the south country again' the Stuarts. . . . The watergate road is the safest.
Rxb. 1918 Jedburgh Gazette (25 Jan.) 3:
The shadow of the war had crept into the recesses of the Cheviot, and had settled in distant watergates on many a Border home.
Rxb. 1952 W. Landles Gooseberry Fair 18:
The fluidin's gey bad aa the watergate lang.
(c) Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 27:
Or swingin' on the waitter-gate, To leave it in a sorry state.
(vii) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 202:
Gif the water gleds war on the watch, he aye hoisted a blanket on his yard hedge.
(viii) Sc. 1901 Scotsman (16 Sept.) 10:
The men o' the waterheads surround Philógar in grim array.
em.Sc. 1920 Trans. Highl. Soc. XXXII. 67:
Owing to the elevation, the mean temperature at these “water-head” farms will undoubtedly be lower than at the farms farther down the valley.
Rxb. 1934 Border Mag. (June) 83:
The water is black, there having been much rain in the “waterheids.”
(ix) Sc. 1834 A. Picken Black Watch II. v.:
Just here by the water-lip.
Ayr. 1880 J. Service Notandums 45:
The seggan waving at the water-lip.
(x) Abd. 1727 Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 320:
The town's fishing 'twixt the water mouths.
Sc. 1750 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 19:
Captain Erskine went to the fort at the south point of the water mouth.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Waugh xviii.:
In case the French should land at the watermouth.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminiscences 89:
I landit him at the watter-mou'.
Abd. 1960 Buchan Observer (17 May):
The cry o' a whaup at the watter-mou'.
(xi) Rnf. 1828 Paisley Mag. 560:
Ane o' your Paisley bodies, with his Bindle at the Water-neb.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan Add. 510:
The point of land at which the river Cart joins the Clyde, is called the water-neb.
(xii) Sc. 1805 R. Forsyth Beauties Scot. II. 467:
Upon the banks of the water of Air, a species of white stone is found, which is well known over all Scotland by the name of the water of Air stone.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. I. 157:
The best whetstone for edge-tools, that is perhaps in Europe, is to be found in great abundance, on the estate of Dalmore, in the parish of Stair in Ayrshire. It is known by the name of Water-of-Ayr stone.
Dmf. 1830 J. Cairnie Curling (1833) 42:
It is the rubbing of the bottoms with a hone: or what is technically called Water-of-Ayring them; from these well-known sharping-stones being used, which are found in the bed of the Ayr.
Sc. 1884 Session Cases (1883–4) 512:
The material used in making these hones is a kind of stone called Water of Ayr stone, which has been a well-known article of commerce under that name.
(xiii) Gsw. 1719 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 63:
Fifty five pound two shillings eight pence sterling for the toun officers, water serjants.
(xiv) Arg. 1718 Arg. Justiciary Rec. (Stair Soc.) II. 350:
Steall from him ane waterside board for dressing of leather.
(xv) Per. 1700 Diocese Dunkeld (Hunter 1917) II. 59:
Some years agoe, in travelling at the watter side of Ylla.
Sc. 1733 Orpheus Caled. (Thomson) II. 110:
O cam ye by yon Water-side?
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 22:
Now Flaviana was the country's name, That ay this bony water-side did claim.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Ca' the Yowes ii.:
Will ye gang down the water-side And see the waves sae sweetly glide?
Sc. 1800 Edb. Advertiser (15 April) 240:
The Ground Rents and Vacant Steadings of that Property called Brownfield, with the Waterside between the park and the river Clyde.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. xii.:
The whole company go to the water-side to-day to eat a kettle of fish.
Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 242:
The taiken leil thai ken fow weel On water-sides quha won.
w.Lth. 1892 R. Steuart Legends 179:
Weel, gang ye doon the watter-side ony day ye like.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 23:
Whae beides i yon hoose doon the waeter-seide?
(xvi) Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 182:
An eerie flichterin gleam, Like water-spunkies in the wind aside a rashie stream.
(xvii) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 244:
A bit hearth pave't wi wee water-stanes.
(xviii) Sc. 1832 Chambers's Jnl. (Aug.) 239:
The only difference between waiter-waiter and wall-waiter was, that the one was water from the river (or water), and the other water from the well (or wall).
(xix) s.Sc. 1933 Border Mag. (Sept.) 133:
We'll cross the water-yett and try the puils on the ither side.

2. A lake, a sheet of water (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973), as in nw.Eng. dial. in place-names in the Lake District, e.g. Derwentwater, Ullswater, representing O.N. vatn, water, a lake. Comb. sma waters, a term used when two or three lochs lie near each other (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).Abd. 1877 G. MacDonald M. of Lossie I. xvi.:
Ye was naething but a fisher-body upon a sma' watter i' the hert o' the hills, 'at wasna even saut.
Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 16:
Two fresh water lochs bear the names of ‘Hilliel's Water' and ‘Hoglan's Water'.

3. A wave (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973).

4. A name for dropsy; also used of a disease of sheep (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1973).Fif. 1914 D. Rorie Mining Folk 411:
Infusions of nettles and broom-tops [are used] for “water” (dropsy).

5. In proverbial and other phrs.: (1) cauld water man, a total abstainer. Also in colloq. Eng.; (2) cauld water religion, the tenets and practice of the Baptist denominations; (3) to cairry water til a fou sea, to give extra trouble to those already hard pressed, to make matters worse (Abd. 1921); (4) to hold water to, to match, to be equated or compared with, to hold a candle to (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 34; Sh. 1973); (5) to jaup the water, to attempt the impossible, to cause useless trouble: (6) to keep (someone's) hand down at the water edge, to keep one in straitened circumstances, “on short commons”; (7) to kiss the book across the water, to plight one's troth on the Bible held over a rivulet between two people standing on either side. Burns is said to have done this with Mary Campbell (see Chambers-Wallace Works of Burns (1896) I. 339); (8) to take one's water off (somebody), to make a fool of, take a rise out of (someone) (Per. 1973); (9) to take water in one's teeth, to mince one's words, be mealy-mouthed.(1) ne.Sc. 1894 A. Gordon Northward Ho 50:
‘Dae ye drink?' ‘He's a cauld-water man,' said one.
(2) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 101:
The teylor startit tae argue wi him, an. let him see whaur his caul' water religion wus a' wrang.
(5) s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xix:
I doot you're just jawpin' the water, for it's a' thegither irregular.
(6) Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie wauch viii.:
It was no farce at the time, and kept our hands down at the water edge for many a day.
(7) Rnf. 1898 J. M. Henderson Our Jeames 342:
Willie was able to tell his friend that Fannie and he had “kissed the book across the water.”
(8) Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 197:
Dinna try to tak' yer water aff a man that micht be yer grandfather.
Per.4 1950:
They tak their water off him somethin awfae.
(9) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi:
A gleg, frank oot-spoken dame, wha didna tak' water in her teeth to say what she thocht.

6. Gen. combs. in various senses of water: (1) hard water, torrential rain (Ork. 1973). Cf. Hail, adj., 6. (11); (2) water arvo, -arro, common chickweed, Stellaria media (Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1973). See Arvie; (3) water bake, a hard biscuit with little or no seasoning, a water biscuit. See Bake, n.1; (4) water-barge, -berge, a stone or wooden ledge running along the edge of a roof or projecting over some other part of a building, as a door, window, or chimney head, to run off or deflect the rain (Sc. 1774 Faculty Decisions VI. 360). See also Bar(d)ge, n.1, 2.; (5) water-berry, a local name for gruel (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). Cf. breid-berry, s.v. Breid; (6) water-bird, a chick which has died in the egg (Ork. 1973); (7) water blackbird, the dipper, Cinclus aquaticus (Sc. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 30; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Bwk. (blackie) 1973); (8) water-bobbie, -bobbitie, (Kcd., Ags., Per. 1973): (9) water-brash, heartburn (Sc. 1808 Jam.: Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 465; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. See also (66) and Brash, n.1; (10) water braxy, see Braxy, n.; (11) watter-brod, a bench or board for setting water-buckets on (Sh. 1973). See Brod, n.1, 10. (2); (12) water-broo, -brue, oatmeal eaten mixed with boiling water but without further seasoning, Brose (Fif., Lth. 1973). See Broo, n.1; (13) water-brose, id. (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.; Sc. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc. 1973). See Brose, n.; (14) water-buggie, one who drinks a great deal of water (Sh. 1973). See Bogi, n., 2.; (15) water-burn, a name for the phosphorescence seen on the sea (Abd. 1885 Folk-Lore Jnl. III. 53; Nai. 1904 E.D.D.; Mry., Kcd. 1973). Also in Kent dial.; (16) water-caddie, a messenger who supplied the houses with their domestic water drawn from the street wells in 18th c. Edinburgh. Hist.; (17) water-calf, the amnion of a cow (Sh. 1905 E.D.D., Sh. 1973). Cf. Norw. dial. vatskalv, id.; (18) water carse, water cress. See also Carses,; (19) water-cast, a water channel, ditch. See Cast, n., 8. (1); (20) water-clearer, one of the small beetle- or spider-like insects that skim over the surface of water and by so doing are popularly supposed to clean it, a water-beetle or -spider (Ags., Slg., Arg., Lnk. 1973). See 1. (1) Combs. (i) (b) and Clearer, n. Also in dim. form -clearie (Ags.); (21) water cloth, a face-cloth; (22) water-cock(ie), = (7) (Mry. 1844 G. Gordon Zoologist II. 505, Mry. 1973). See also Esscock, n.1; (23) water-cog, a wooden water vessel, a bucket (Ork. 1973). See Cog, n.1; (24) water-coo, -cow, (i) a mythical amphibious beast in Celtic folklore supposed to live in lakes. See quots. and cf. Eng. water-bull, id.; (ii) a water-beetle (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 207). See (20); (25) water corn, (i) an impost of grain paid by tenant-farmers for the upkeep of the dams and races of the estate mill (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. (57); (ii) the sweet sedge, Acorus calamus (Abd. 1973); (26) water-craw, (i) = (7) (Dmb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 249; Ags. 1813 J. Headrick Agric. Ags. App. B. 43; Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (24 July) 588; Slg. 1885 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. 61; Cai. 1887 Harvie-Brown & Buckley Fauna Cai. 103; Lnk. 1897 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. 205; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 83; em.Sc. (a), Edb., Lnk. 1973). Also in Eng. dial.; (ii) the coot, Fulica atra (Dmf. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 179). Also in n.Eng. dial.; the water-hen, Gallinula chloropus (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 275); (27) water-dog, the water rat, water vole, Arvicola amphibius (Bnff. 1973); (28) water-drap, eavesdrip, Stillicide; (29) water-droger, the last and usually the smallest pig of a litter (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1973) from O.N. vatndrugari, lit. ‘water-carrier'; (30) water-drukkin, sodden, saturated (Sh. 1973); (31) waterdyke, a flood-wall or embankment; (32) water e'e, an orifice through which water passes; the mouth of a culvert or the like. See Ee, n., 2. (2) (d). Used fig. in quot.; (33) waterfast, watertight. Arch.; (34) waterfat, adj., used of soil: soggy, waterlogged, marshy. Also in vbl.n. form water-fatting, irrigation; (35) water-fire, = (14) (Abd. 1885 Folk-Lore Jnl. III. 53); (36) water-fleeted, flooded. See Fleet, v., 2.; (37) water-fold, one of the folds into which a web of linen is laid after bleaching and washing; (38) water foon'er, an ailment of horses, in the form of a feverish chill, caused by allowing a hot animal to take a long, cold drink at the end of a journey. Ppl.adj. water-founert (Cai. 1973); see Founder, n.; (39) water-fur, (i) n., a drainage furrow to carry off surface water, a water-furrow (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 20; Ork., Slg., Lth. 1973). Also attrib. See also Furr, n., 3.; (ii) v., to provide land with drainage furrows, to water-furrow (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (40) watergang, a watercourse, channel, freq. an artificial one, as a mill-race. Also in Eng. dial. See also Gang, n., 4. (1); (41) water-gate, (i) a water-channel, in gen. (as 40); a strait in the sea between islands. See Gate, n.; (ii) a valley. See 1. Combs. (v) above; (iii) from Eng. gate: the name of the eastern port or gate of the Canongate near Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh; (42) water-gaw, wattergaw, an imperfect or fragmentary rainbow (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Sh., em.Sc. (a), Gall. 1973). Sc. form of Eng. watergall, id., now obs. or dial. See also weathergaw s.v. Weather; (43) water-glance, see quot.; (44) water-hole, (i) a hole or pit in which water collects, a well or pool (Sh., n.Sc., Per. 1973); (ii) a detention cell under the old Guard-house in the High Street of Edinburgh (see 1787 quot.); (45) water-horse, (i) a mythical spirit or demon frequenting lakes and rivers in the form of a horse, a Kelpie or nicker (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor), esp. in Celtic folk-lore. Cf. Gael. each uisge. Liter.; (ii) = (20) (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 207); (46) water jack, a roasting-jack turned by a current of water; (47) water-kail, broth made without any meat in it (Sc. 1825 Jam.). See also Kail, n. 3.; (48) water-kelpie, -y, = (45) (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 121). See also Kelpie; (49) water-kit, a large wooden bucket narrower at the top than the bottom and having a fixed cross-piece of wood as a handle (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1973). See also Kit, n.1; (50) water kyle, †walterkile, meadow land possessed by tenants of an estate in annual rotation (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Jam. correctly connects the second element with Cavel, n.1, 1. Cf. gyle, Gavel, n.1, nyle, Nael (navel), ryle, Raivel, and V, letter, 2. (1). The form of the word suggests sm.Sc. currency; (51) water-lamp, = (15) (Abd. 1885 Folk-Lore Jnl. III. 53); (52) water laverock, the common sandpiper, Tringa hypoleucus (Rxb. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 196). See also Laverock, n.; (53) water leaf, the upper division of a coal seam (Sc. 1883 W. S. Gresley Gl. Coal Mining 281; Fif. 1973); (54) water leem, the baling scoop in a fishing boat (Kcd. 1911). See Leem, n.1, 2.; (55) water-lump, a bank of dark rainy cloud (Sh. 1973); †(56) water mail, a rent charged for salmon fishing on a stretch of river. See Mail, n.1; †(57) water meal, see quot. and cf. (25); (58) water-megie, = (7) (Slk. c.1900; m.Lth., Lnk. 1973); (59) water mole, = (27). See also Lavellan. Prob. representing Gael. famh-bhual, id.; (60) water money, extra payment made to coalminers for working in wet conditions. Also in Eng. mining usage; (61) water mouse, = (27) (Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (June) 505). Obs. in Eng.; (62) water peggie, = (7) (Dmf. 1885 C. Swainson British Birds 30). Cf. (58); (63) water pig, a water-vessel, a pitcher (Sh., Ags. 1973). See also Pig, n.2; (64) water pleep, see water(y) pleep, s.v. Pleep, n., 2. (Ork. 1973); (65) water-pot, a chamber-pot (Sc. 1850 J. Ogilvie Imperial Dict.); (66) water puddings, the alga Enteromorpha intestinalis (see quot.); (67) water purpie, -y, -le, the brooklime, Veronica beccabunga, a plant common in marshy places (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., -purple). See also Purpie, n.2; (68) water pyat, -et, -piet, = (7) (Slg. 1885 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. & Arch. Soc. 61; Per., Ayr. 1973). See also Pyot, n., 2.; (69) water qualm, = (9) (Sc. 1822 J. M. Good Study Medicine I. 124); (70) water ratten, = (27) (Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (June) 505). See also Ratton, n.; (71) water rin, -run, a runnel of water, a surface drain or gutter for carrying off water, a streamlet; (72) water sae, a bucket (I.Sc., Cai. 1973). See also Sae, n.1, 3. (5); (73) water saps, bread soaked in water, pap, soft liquid food, esp. as served to invalids (ne.Sc. 1973). See Sap, n.2; (74) water shear, -shier, a water-parting, watershed. See Shear, n., 4.; (75) water-slain, saturated with water (Uls. 1929). Also in Eng. dial.; (76) water-staff, a lever or crowbar for prising up the shutter of a mill-sluice; (77) water-stand, a water-barrel, esp. one standing on end. See Stand, n.2: (78) water-stank, a pond, a pool of water. See Stank, n.1; (79) water stoup, (i) a wooden bucket (Sc. 1825 Jam.; em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc. 1973). See Stowp, n.; (ii) the common periwinkle shell, Littorina littorea, from its general resemblance to a pitcher (m.Lth. 1825 Jam.); (80) water swallow, the sand martin, Riparia riparia (Ayr. 1929 Paton & Pike Birds Ayr. 88, Ayr. 1973); (81) water-tabling, vbl.n., the rebuilding or shoring up the sides of a ditch where it has been worn away below the roots of a hedge. See Set, v., 16. (4) and Table, n., 5.; (82) water-tath, the thick lush grass of a water-meadow; also as a v., to flood a meadow as a means of improving the pasture. See Tathe; (83) water traa, -t(h)raw, heartburn, = (9) (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI 209, 1866 Edm. Gl.; Sh., Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; I.Sc., Cai. 1973). See Thraw, n., 7.: (84) water triffle, water trefoil. See Triffle, n.2; (85) water trip, see quot. Gen.Sc.: (86) water tyke, = Eng. water-dog, fig., a sailor; (87) water-wader, a crude light consisting of a wick dipped in the dregs of the tallow from which a supply of candles has been made, which, when lit, floats in this mixture of tallow-scum with water (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 43). Cf. Sweig, n.; (88) water waggie, -y, the water-wagtail, Motacilla lugubris (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Per., Fif., w.Lth., s.Sc. 1973). See Wag, n.1, 2. (2): (89) water wall, see quot.; (90) water wan', ? the meaning is obscure, phs. the axle of the mill-wheel is intended. The context describes the efforts of a kelpie to escape from the machinery of a mill; (91) water-weak, -wik, ¶-weikit, as weak as water, frail, delicate (Sh., Cai. 1973). Also as a n., a frail delicate person (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). Rare and obs. in Eng.; (92) water-wife, a woman who for a small fee carried water from the street-wells to the flats in the high lands of Edinburgh in the 18th and early 19th cs. Cf. (16); (93) water-woman, id.; (94) water-work, the part of the play at the Hawick game of handball when the ball falls into and is fought for in the river; (95) water-(w)rack, -wreck, †-ryack, water weed, sticks, straws and other flotsam and rubbish carried down by a river (Abd., Kcd., Per., Fif., Lnk., Slk. 1973).Rare and obs. in Eng.; (96) water wraith, -wreath, a water-spirit, a goblin haunting streams and lakes (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). See Wraith.(1) Abd. 1882 G. MacDonald Castle Warlock xiv.:
Fire wad hae sma' chance the nicht, It's win' an' hard watter the nicht.
(2) Ork. 1920:
The neep-grund's fairly covered wi water arvo.
(3) Fif. 1882 S. Tytler Sc. Marriages II. 304:
Hard biscuits or ‘water bakes', which demanded a hatchet rather than human hands or teeth to break.
(4) Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 322:
6 water bardges for windowes.
Ayr. 1735 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (5 Nov.):
For plaistering of the Stair and puting on the waterberges upon the kitchen & Chimney-head.
Ags. 1768 Arbirlot Session Rec. MS. (1 July):
To Robert Butchart for a Water Barge to one of the Kirk Doors . . . 6s.
Per. 1787 Session Papers, Petition J. Sharp (5 Feb. 1788) Proof 16:
The south water-berge, that is, the bottom of the south side of the chimney-stalk.
(8) Per. 1889 T. Edwards Strathearn Lyrics 59:
Whaur water-bobbies jauntin'ly Bow to their shadows in the stream.
(9) Sc. 1802 R. Reece Medic. Guide (1850) 531:
Water brash is very prevalent in Scotland and Ireland.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 111:
O' a' the smells I ever fan, that is the maist seducin to the palate. It has gien me the water-brash.
Ags. a.1879 Forfar Poets (Fenton) 133:
To sing o' Tea, that silly trash, 'T would gae a bard the waterbrash.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxvi.:
There's nothing left in him but water-brash.
(10) Slk. 1807 Hogg Shepherd's Guide 18, 41:
Braxy is of four kinds; at least if the Water-Braxy be admitted as one of them . . . by putting both hands to its belly, and working them with a quick vibration, if it be the Water Braxy, it will jumble.
(11) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (27 Aug.):
Shü set da kit wi' da kye's milk upo' da end o' da watter-brod.
(12) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
We got some water-broo and bannocks.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws ix.:
Master Gordon brocht me in for a sup o' water-broo.
Sc. 1933 E. S. Haldane Scot. of Our Fathers 307:
Sometimes only ‘water-brue', that is, oatmeal softened by boiling water.
(13) Ayr. 1785 Burns To J. Smith xxiv.:
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, Be't water-brose, or muslin kail.
Abd. 1817 J. Christie Instructions 30:
For breakfast took water brose, made in a bassy.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 102:
His water brose and water kail.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 16:
Wi' wime weel-stappit fu' o' water-brose.
(15) Sc. 1803 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 316:
It has been often observed that a continuation of rainy weather occasions in the night time, especially when the sea is agitated, a luminous appearance in the waves, denominated by fishermen waterburn.
Sc. 1855 J. Grant Yellow Frigate lxiii.:
“The waterburn has been here for a week and mair.” This is a luminous appearance of the sea, which, like lightning, has the effect of scaring the herrings from the coast.
Abd. 1891 R. Kirk N. Sea Shore xiii.:
The blaze of phosphoric light, called by their hosts “the water-burn.”
(16) Sc. a.1830 H. Cockburn Memorials (1856) 355:
Every house had its favourite “Water Caddie”, who knew the habits and wants of the family, and the capacity of the single cistern, which he kept always replenished at the fee (I believe) of a penny for each barrel.
(18) Wgt. 1735 Session Bk. Wigtown (1934) 478:
She drank off no herbs but scurvy grass, grownd ivy and water carses.
(19) Bwk. 1756 Session Papers, Sanderson v. Marquis of Tweeddale (4 Aug.) 19:
To maintain and keep clear the Watercast passing thro' the Lands of Gamilstone for bringing in Water to the Marquis's Parks.
(21) Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswood Hope's Practicks 540:
The best Water-cloth or Mouth-cloth.
(22) Bnff. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 115:
During the time of spawning, a small bird called the water-cock abounds in the Spey and its tributaries, which is considered very destructive in diving and picking up the spawn.
Abd. 1891 G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 182:
The troot war loupin at the flees, And the wattercockie sung.
(23) Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 116:
Water-cogs, cream-bowies, bickers, piggins, and other articles of his manufacture.
(24) Rs. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XII. 275:
The neighbouring people allege that there have been water cows seen in or about this lake.
Rxb. 1803 J. Leyden Remains (1819) 348:
The lake, or loch, of Alemoor, is reckoned the residence of the water-cow, an imaginary amphibious monster, not unlike the Siberian mammoth.
Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (23 Nov.):
A set of his kinsmen, believing that the fabulous Water Cow inhabited a small lake near his house, resolved to drag the monster into day.
(25) (i) Arg. 1749 P. Macintyre Odd Incidents (1904) 21:
Meall, potatoes, and other provisions, not water corn.
Slg. 1762 Session Papers, Scot v. Buchanan (15 Nov.) 6:
To pay Water Corn and Multure Bear, with Service to the said Mill and Mill-dam.
Abd. 1795 Hatton Estate MSS.:
And also pay the Knavship, Rings and Services with Water Corn to the New Miln.
(26) (i) Slk. 1817 Hogg Tales (1874) 154:
The factor's naig wantit a fore-fit shoe, an' was beckin like a water-craw.
Dmb. 1876 Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Gsw. 58:
The Dipper — or “Water Craw,” as it is called in the district.
Per. 1889 T. Edwards Strathearn Lyrics 71:
See the jolly water-craw, A happy bird is he, Wi' a collar roond his neck As white as white can be.
Edb. 1965 J. K. Annand Sing it Aince 15:
Water-craw, Water-craw, Coat o black and vest like snaw.
(27) Abd. 1765 Session Papers, Middleton v. Magistrates Old Aberdeen (May) 18:
The Old Town had a man for removing sods or stopping holes that water-dogs had made in the said course.
Bnff. 1876 S. Smiles Sc. Naturalist 15:
The whins, and birds, and water-dogs at Daiddie Brown's burnie.
(28) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxvii.:
We are obligated to receive the natural water-drap of the superior tenement.
(31) Slk. 1901 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 145:
Heavy floods were continually carrying off the waterdykes, and overflowing the fields.
(32) Bwk. 1840 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1885) 218:
“You're oure near the Water E'e.” Often said by a mother to a peevish child; but whether it refers to the Water Eye par excellence, or to the water of the eye, “non nobis tantum componere litem.”
(33) s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin xviii.:
The shieling's well biggit and as waterfast as a sowen-tub.
(34) Sc. 1784 A. Wight Present State Husbandry III. 638:
I have met with no other instance of water-fatting in this country.
e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E.Lth. 86:
Lord Coalstown used compost dunghills, of two different kinds. In the one he used water fat earth, taken from a marshy piece of ground.
(36) Slk. 1807 Hogg Shepherd's Guide 128:
Such garbage as grows about middens, kail-yard dikes, and water-fleeted meadows.
(37) Gsw. 1726 Edb. Ev. Courant (3 Jan.):
All white, brown, or green Linnen Cloth whatsoever shall be sold in the Water-folds.
(38) Abd. 1968 Huntly Express (23 Feb.) 2:
The trouble was easily diagnosed; Derry had had what was known as a water ‘foon'er'.
(39) (ii) Sc. 1743 R. Maxwell Select Trans. 41:
Plow up the land, and water-fur it.
Abd. 1795 Session Paper, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 120:
To where Still laboured on said braehead, was so near as to leave a foot-road to the fishers, and a water-fur for his own use.
Sc. 1812 J. Sinclair Syst. Husb. Scot. I. 146:
The 40 ridges will require 79 turnings of the sower and harrows, and 41 turnings of the water-fur plough.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (10 April) 417:
A blast o' snaw! an' me hasna ma wheat land water-furrd yet!
Cai. 1905 E.D.D.:
Ordinary furrows are parallel, but a water-fur follows the natural slope of the ground.
(40) Sc. 1707 W. Forbes Decisions (1714) 147:
The Dam, Water-gang and Sluce, (the essential Parts and Pertinents of the Mill).
Edb. 1769 Abd. Journal (4 Sept.):
The child was immediately discovered, lying in a water-gang betwixt two lands.
Abd. 1781 Abd. Sasines (Record Office):
The north side of the water of Dee as it presently runs and old watergang thereof.
Lnl. 1797 Session Papers, Provost of Linlithgow v. Elphinston (22 Sept.) 21:
The uppermost sluice upon the said watergang.
Wgt. 1875 W. McIlwraith Guide to Wgt. 90:
The water-gang which runs to the Mill of Chappell.
(41) (i) Wgt. 1718 G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 36:
Streets are overflowed with water by the Wells upon the North Side of the Street therof, therefore they Appoynt each persone to make their Calseas and Water gates sufficient, soe that the Water may not Overflow.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xxxiii.:
The strange watergate which led to his beloved.
(iii) Sc. c.1800 Mary Hamilton in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 510:
Whan she cam to the water-gate Loud laughters gae she three.
Edb. 1882 J. Grant Old and New Edb. II. 22:
A barrier called the Water Gate, existing now only in name.
(42) Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangschaw 2:
I saw yon antrin thing A watergaw wi' its chitterin' licht.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 36:
An' as the wrak o' watergaws The fleurs fraith'd up atween.
Sc. 1990 Independent (19 Aug) 27:
In the far north, they call the Aurora Borealis the Pretty Dancers, a cock's eye is a circle round the moon, the glaizie stars prinkle, and sun and rain combine in a watergaw.
Gsw. 1994 Iain Bamforth in Daniel O'Rourke Dream State 102:
it once made to an attentive rapt face on the watergaw
fixed half a childhood over the Broomielaw.
m.Lth. 1996:
That's a watergaw - no a real rainbow.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 61:
... fyle fusslin Bonnie Strathyre or Bonnie Glenshee or ain o a mixter-maxter o tunes that furled aroon his heid like the mist that wyved aroon Beinn a Bhuird, fan the wattergaw hung i the lift.
(43) Bnff. c.1890 Gregor MSS.:
Those whose fate is to be drowned have in their brows what old folks called “the water-glance”. It was on the brow at the moment of birth, but could be discerned only by some. It was believed to be a slight depression and that it continued to fill up till the allotted span of life was run.
(44) (i) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 32:
Thou couldna gien me a war bed nor a water-hole in a cauld frosty morning.
(ii) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 126:
O' three shilling Scottish suck him; Or in the water-hole sair douk him.
Edb. 1787 A. Kincaid Hist. Edb. 285:
Summer as well as winter, there was always water found, from which last circumstance this vaulted cell received the appellation of the Water Hole.
Edb. 1809 A. Stewart Poems 29:
The water hole gin we'd a blink o't, How muckle now o' days we'd think o't.
(45) (i) Sc. 1800 J. Leyden Tour Highl. (1903) 13:
The people of the vale had been a good deal alarmed by the appearance of that unaccountable being the water-horse.
Sc. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 94:
Malcolm absolutely refused to accompany me by that way for fear of the Water-Horse.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro J. Splendid vii.:
Fairies, wizards, water-horse, and sea-maiden.
Gall. 1903 Gallovidian V. 34:
There are four prominent supernatural personages common to the superstitious beliefs of our Alban and Gaelic ancestors — the Each-Uisge, or Water-Horse, the Kelpie, the Broonie, and the Doonie.
(46) Sc. 1809 Eng. Mech. (17 Dec.) 324:
In Scotland they [sc. turbines] are employed for driving what are called water-jacks for roasting meat.
(47) Per. 1809 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 261:
I would live on water kaill and sowins.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 102:
His water brose and water kail, At his usual time of meal.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems 180:
‘Water-kail,' the unvarying family dinner in farm-houses. . . . This dish consisted of barley or groats, the inner kernel of the oaten grain or corn pickle boiled in water, with or without a bit of suet or butter, and plenty of greens or leeks.
(48) Ayr. 1785 Burns Address to Deil xii.:
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord, By your direction.
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XII. 173 note:
A tradition had long prevailed here, that the water-kelpy carried the stones for building the church.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 138:
The bonny grey mare did sweat for fear, For she heard the water-kelpy roaring.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 66:
Water-kelpie was a creature that lived in the deep pools of rivers and streams. He had commonly the form of a black horse.
Edb. 1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 250:
The “forty days”! [after St Swithin] Like water-kelpies, each in's place.
(49) Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 29:
Comin' near the water-kit, She sees some white thing at her fit.
(50) Dmf. 1755 Private MS.:
A piece of meadow in the Gatherrucks in Walterkile (that is possest year about) with the said John Richardson . . . Pieces of meadow being in Walterkile with Rohn Rae.
(56) Per. 1747 Session Papers, Comb v. Gray (30 July 1754) 5:
To fish the said Water, with at least four Boats and Nets, at all proper Times during the fishing Seasons, and to pay the Sum of £1400 Merks yearly, in name of Tack duty, or Water Mail.
(57) Abd. 1787 Session Papers, Petition J. Mackie (19 June) 2:
The tenants became bound to pay three pecks of meal yearly for every plough, in consideration of the burden undertaken by the charger, the principal of which was, supporting the dam-dike, and cleaning, and repairing the mill-lead which brings the water to the mill; — on that account the consideration paid got the name of water-meal.
(59) Sth. 1770 T. Pennant Zoology IV. 84:
I imagine it [the water-vole] is the same which the inhabitants of Sutherland name the water mole.
(60) Lnk. 1953 Bulletin (22 Oct.):
A strike at Hamilton Palace Colliery, over a claim for water money.
(61) Ags. 1784 Session Papers, Watson v. Blair (21 July) 29:
That dike is cut by water-mice.
Knr. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 551:
Water rats and water mice are found by the sides of the rivers.
(63) Ags. 1772 Session Papers, Mudie v. Ross, State of Process 97:
She was coming from the well with a water-pig and a bucket in her hand.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 153:
As he proceeded to Chipperty Well with his old-fashioned water “pigs”.
(66) Bwk. 1888 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XII. 248:
It sometimes floats like a scum on the surface of the water, the inflated fronds bearing a disgusting resemblance to the intestines of some animal or to a string of “black puddings”, a circumstance which suggested the specific name, as well as the local one of “water puddings.”
(67) Gsw. 1761 Session Papers, Petition J. Calder (1 Dec.) 24:
Water-purpy, Well-cresses, or other Sallads, which the common People seek after in the Spring as a part of their Diet as well as for Medicine.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xviii.:
Cresses or water-purpie, and a bit oat-cake, can serve the master for breakfast as weel as Caleb.
Rxb. 1833 A. Hall Sc. Borderer (1874) 24:
The lively and fresh green of the cress and water-purple [sic].
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 121:
(Mungo, crossing the burn, feet scuffing wet stones, fingers scrabbling for a hold among the tufts and the waterpurpie, running, walking, running again with the gait of a hunted man.)
(68) Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 207:
The bit flittin and doukin white-breisted water-pyats.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. ix.:
Yon water-pyet gat a fleg as Dick played plunge beside him.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (24 July) 588:
The dipper, water-pyet, or water-craw stays with us throughout the winter.
Ags. 1957 Scotsman (9 March) 9:
The thick-set little black and white bird (sometimes called Watter Pyet locally).
(71) Sc. 1812 J. Sinclair Syst. Husb. Scot. I. 34:
Where the waving form [of plantations] is necessary to secure proper water-runs.
Sc. 1813 Scott Bridal Triermain iii. xxviii.:
When, lo! a plashing sound he hears, A gladsome signal that he nears Some frolic water-run. Ags. 1839 Justiciary Reports (1842) 328: My tavern is directly behind the pannels' house. There is nothing between them but a water-run.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms i. 3:
For he sal be the frute-stok plantit by the watir-rins.
Lnk. 1885 W. Gordon Pyotshaw 101:
A barrel for the purpose of catching rainwater from the house, a piece of board being fixed under the eaves for a water-run.
(72) Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 249:
He would go to the “water sae” and pretend to drink most copiously.
(73) Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf vi.:
All those promises of amendment, which you made during your illness, forgotten? All clear away, with the water-saps and panada.
(74) Gsw. 1719 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 63:
Fifty five pound two shillings eight pence sterling for the toun officers, water serjants.
(74) Sc. 1844 Zoologist II. 421:
A line running from Loch Spey to Loch Monar, the course of which is regulated by the water-shears between the east and west coasts.
Sc. 1847 Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 162:
The water-shier between the Spey and the Dee.
(75) Sc. 1803 Trans. Highl. Soc. II. 13:
As peat earth is readily diffused in water and carried off; wherever it comes again to be deposited, we have water-born peat, or, as it is sometimes called by our country people, water-slain-moss.
(76) Fif. 1786 Session Papers, Dick v. Donaldson (9 July 1788) Proof 9:
His brother returned with the key of the sluice and water-staff for raising the sluice with.
(78) Sc. 1747 Caled. Mercury (16 June):
The Skinner-work at Stockbridge, consisting of a Workhouse, Kiln, Shade, Lime-pits, Water-stank, and others.
(79) (i) Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 173:
Siller spurs on water stoups Saw I never nane.
Sc. 1835 H. Miller Scenes & Leg. 312:
Send one of your companions for your lugged water-stoup.
s.Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders V. 10:
She seized her water-stoups and hurried to the public well.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-net 207:
A big ‘meal-girnel' stood, flanked by a pair of wooden water-stoups, ‘at the back of the door.'
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 27:
Then the woman, leaving her water-stoup, gaed awa.
(81) Sc. 1829 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. I. 605:
Water-tabling thorns, when the earth has been worn away by weeding from their roots, renovates their growth, so that the process of engrossing the stems proceeds after it with great rapidity.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 433:
The hedger now resumes his work of water-tabling and scouring ditches.
(82) Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 82:
Leading a stream of water over the surface of a ley field with the plough or the spade, called water-tathing, prevailed very much formerly in this parish. . . . It leaves the land hard bound, and unfit for the other manures, which produce little or no effect upon water-tathed land.
Sc. 1807 Trans. Highl. Soc. III. 468:
All grasses, which are remarkably rank and luxuriant, are called tath, . . . water tath, proceeding from excess of moisture.
(83) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
Gettin da wattertraw whin I guid ta risp apo' da teeth o' da auld saw.
Sh. 1956 New Shetlander No. 44. 12:
Da Watter Traa. Weel ye ken dat's juist a kind o a weet brunt-rift.
(85) Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 152:
The less dignified ‘Water Trip' when the annual inspection of the water works is by use and wont the occasion for a social outing of the Councillors.
(86) Lnk. 1913 G. Maclndoe Wandering Muse 165:
As erch a water-tyke as e'er Peept o'er a stern.
(88) Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 49:
Bobbin' through the reel, Like a water-waggie.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 140:
The water-waggie by the burn Keeps makin' curchies til himsel'.
Slk. 1905 J. B. Selkirk Poems 29:
A water-waggy on a stane.
(89) Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 267:
The water wall is the wall of the mill next to the wheel.
(90) Bnff. 1852 A. Harper Solitary Hours 61:
He deftly div'd behind the fan, And tried to force the water-wan'.
(91) Sh. 1905 E.D.D.:
Wir Eppie is a pör watter-wik thing.
(92) Fif. 1882 S. Tytler Sc. Marriages II. 107:
The old Edinburgh ‘water-wives' in one of their grey duffle cloaks with hoods that could be drawn over the women's mutches.
(92) Edb. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 84:
Janet Dickson, the water-woman, had found a child in her water-bucket.
(93) Rxb. 1902 R. Murray Hist. Hawick from 1832 140:
Usually most of the play is in the river, and the ‘water work' is the most amusing feature to the onlookers.
(95) Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. App. II. 150:
To see that the equal distribution of the water is not obstructed by the continual influx of rotten rushes, or stubble, weeds, leaves, sticks, and the like, provincially called water-wreck, or rack.
Abd. c.1890 Gregor MSS.:
He asked Mrs Michie to gather from the burn a quantity of “water-ryack” [to foil witches].
Abd. 1910 J. Grant Legends of Mar 184:
Take water-wrack, and lay a handful in each of the four corners of the byre, and never more will fairy kind enter there.
(96) Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 26:
Ye wou'd hae taen me for a water-wreath, or some gruous ghaist.
Sc. a.1788 D. Herd Sc. Songs (1869) App. 23:
Thrice did the water-wraith ascend, And give a doleful groan thro' Yarrow.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 40:
Water-wraiths at intack drear. Wi' eerie yamour.
Sc. 1854 H. Miller Schools 193:
Its goblin, the “water-wraith,” used to appear as a tall woman dressed in green, but distinguished chiefly by her withered, meagre countenance, ever distorted by a malignant scowl.

7. Deriv. watery, -ie, as a reduced dim. form of various nouns: (1) see Waterloo; (2) the pied wagtail, Motacilla lugubris (Ags. 1885 C. Swainson British Birds 43; Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1973). See 6. (88) above and (ix) below; (3) a water-closet (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1973).(2) Abd. 1926 L. Coutts Lyrics 54:
Thir's linties nestlin in the whin An watteries bi the burnside.
(3) Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe (1937) 164:
He called the watery the W.C.
Abd. 1972 Buchan Observer (6 June) 7:
When an infant wanted the “wattery.”
ne.Sc. 1987 Buff Hardie and Stephen Robertson Scotland the What? 212:
P. Do you realise that this place is recently listed?
W. Recently listed! It's aye listed! It's coupin' 'at wye. Ye've got a subsidie in the east. And ye're coupin' in the west. Now the next big question, Professor, is this. Div ye want a sneck on yer wattery door?
Ags. 1990s:
Wattery: n. water closet with flushing cistern, as opposed to dry closet.

Combs.: (i) watery-arvie, = 6. (3) (Sh. 1973); (ii) watery-beelin, an undeveloped chestnut (Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C.). See beelin s.v. Beal, v., 4.; (iii) watery braxy, a disease of sheep formerly associated with Braxy (see quot.); (iv) wattery drums, the groundsel, Senecio vulgaris (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. I. 87, Sh. 1973), ? from the shape of its receptacle; (v) watery-nebbit, -nibbit, having a pale sickly face (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 207); having a drip at the end of one's nose; starved-looking (Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1973). See Neb, n., 1.; (vi) watery pleep, see Pleep, n., 2.; (vii) watery pox, chicken-pox; (viii) watery swirl, a knot in timber thought to presage the wreck of a boat in which such a timber was found (Sh. 1973). See Swirl, n., 2.; (ix) waterywagtail, the pied-wagtail (Ork. 1877 Sc. Naturalist (Jan.) 9; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 86). See (2) above; the yellow wagtail, Motacilla raii (Abd. 1885 C. Swainson British Birds 45; Edb. 1956); (x) watery winkie, the pied wagtail (Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C., Fif. 1973).(i) Sh. 1959 New Shetlander No. 51. 24:
Chickweed, or “watery-arvie,” a pest in gardens.
(iii) Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 399:
Watery braxy consists in the bladder being over-distended with urine.
(v) Ags. 1879 G. W. Donald Poems 25:
Sandie's wan an' watery-nibbit — Let him gang an' cot wi' Nell.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxi.:
He wis 'at pae-wae an' wattery-nibbit like.
(vii) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiii.:
Teethin', watery-pox, measles, an' chin-cough.
Fif. 1899 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 43:
The scalp may be affected with lust, or a more serious trouble such as . . . watery-, or crystal-pox (chicken-pox) come on.
Ags. 1959 C. Gibson Folk-Lore Tayside 30:
When “wattery,” or chicken-pox broke out, a red flannel petticoat was hung across the window of the sick room.
(viii) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 126:
The service of an expert was commonly required to examine the börds, in order to detect the presence of windy knots or wattery swirls in the wood.
(ix) Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 81:
He gied twa or three kinna waterywagtail becks an' boos.

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to give (animals) drink. Deriv. waterin(g), a spring, pond, trough, water-hole or pool in a stream where farm animals go to drink, now most freq. in pl. waterins, -ans, wat(e)rance, -ence, id. (Ork., Abd. 1973). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Comb. watterin chain, — chyne, a chain used as a rein on an unharnessed horse when taken to a drinking-place (Cai. 1973); waterin-stane, a stone horse-trough.Edb. 1788 Bk. Old Edb. Club XXIV. 37:
Through St Ann's Yards and the Duke's Walk to the Watering Stone.
Sc. 1839 Wilson's Tales of the Borders V. 105:
I had entered King's Park by the eastern stile, at the watering-stone.
Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gaz. (3 Oct.):
The horse watering, West Toll.
Abd. 1868 G. Gall MS. Diary (10 June):
Cleaning out the Waterance at the foot of the brae.
Gall. 1904 Crockett Raiderland 161:
At the waterin'-stane wha micht I meet but my faither.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (15 May) 3:
“Deggit, aw wis nearly awa' withoot the watterin' chyne!” “Is't noht?” said I, thinking the horsie was not very fractious.
Abd. 1955 Trans. Bch. Club XVII. iv. 56:
There were also several stone water troughs for cattle; they went by the name of “waterin's.”

2. Ppl.adj. watered, (1) of a coal-mine; subject to flooding (see quot.); (2) in comb. wattert breid, see quots.(1) Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 36:
A colliery is said to be heavily watered when the escape of water from the strata into the shaft of workings is abundant, requiring powerful pumping machinery.
(2) Abd. 1894 Trans. Bch. Field Club III. 143:
Sometimes the cake is washed over with cream or butter-milk, and the bread is then called “wattirt bread.”
Abd. 1957:
Watert breid. Oatcake sprinkled on top with milk, fat, and carroway seeds before firing. The side with the dressing is not fired on the girdle, but is toasted in front of the fire, after the cake is removed from girdle.

3. Vbl.n. wa(i)tering, the annual playing of handball in the rivers Jed, Ale or Teviot (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). See I. 6. (94) above.Rxb. 1918 Jedburgh Gazette (8 Feb.) 2:
The players engaged in the ‘watering'.
Rxb. 1922 Kelso Chronicle (3 March) 3:
Neither, though there was no lack of enthusiasm in the play, was there any “watering.”

4. Phrs.: (1) to water somebody's mouth, to make someone's mouth water; (2) to water the corn, to wash down food with drink.(1) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 212:
I min' sin' the blink o' a canty quean, Cou'd watered your mou' an lighted your e'en.
(2) Lnk. 1882 A. Nimmo Songs Cld. 196:
‘D'ye think we'd be waur o' a mouthfu' O' gude nappy yill and a bun?' . . . ‘It's best to water the corn.'

5. To overlay one metal with another in thin solution, to “wash”. In O.Sc. 1637.Sc. 1714 Atholl MSS.:
Two Bige Bridles one with Brass Mounting the other water'd with Silver for his Grace own use.

[The [ɑ] forms as in Eng. derive from trisyllabic forms in O.E. oblique cases, as wæteres, the [e] forms from the disyllabic nom. case wæter. O.Sc. has watir, a river, 1375, water-balȝe, 1467, -barge, 1558, -corn, 1600, -dike, c.1230, -fast, 1535, -gait, 1563, -gang, 1433, -kail, c.1480, -male, 1395, -mouth, 1580, -pig, 1575, -pot, 1488, -purpie, 1633, -sae, 1556, -serjand, 1646, -syde, a.1400, -stand, 1573, -stank, 1473, -stope, 1623, -wall, 1609, -wrak, 1658.]

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"Water n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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