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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WECHT, n.2, v.2 Also weicht (Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 57), weght, wight (Uls. 1953 Traynor), waicht (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 85), weight, †waigh- (Abd. 1892 Innes Review VII. ii. 97). [wɛçt]

I. n. A wooden hoop, usu. about two to three feet in diameter, with skin or canvas stretched over it so as to form a kind of tray, and orig. used for winnowing corn, or now gen. for carrying grain or potatoes (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Lth. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 726; Bnff. 1902 Banffshire Jnl. (28 Jan.) 6; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 275; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., n.Sc., Kcb. 1973); jocularly, a tray in gen. in 1928 quot. Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence comb. winnowing weicht, †winding-, id. Phr. to win(now) three wechts o naething, as a means of divination in love affairs: to go through the motions of winnowing with an empty wecht three times in a barn, when one is supposed to see the appearance of one's future married partner (see Burns's notes to Halloween).Per. 1711 Atholl MSS.:
A Corn baskett a riddle ane sive and winding weight.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 174:
A wecht, a peat-creel, and a cradle, A pair of clips, a graip, a flail.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xxi.:
Meg fain wad to the barn gaen, To win three wechts o' naething.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
There are two kinds of wechts. The one is denominated a windin wecht, immediately used for winnowing, as its name intimates. This is formed of a single hoop covered with parchment. The other is called a maund-wecht, having more resemblance of a basket, its rim being deeper than that of the other. Its proper use is for lifting the grain, that it may be emptied into the windin wecht.
Bnff. a.1829 J. Sellar Poems (1844) 12:
The bairns tak' a winnowing weicht.
Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor 11:
[To] send a peppering shower of hail along the stack-yard, and, sallying forth, fill a whole “wecht” with the corn-eating sparrows.
Sc. 1855 H. Stephens Bk. of Farm I. 416:
Wechts or maunds for taking up corn from the bin or floor are made either of withes or skin, attached to a rim of wood.
ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 104:
Take a sieve or a waicht, and three times go through the form of winnowing corn.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 40:
One groff siv, one sma' siv, and a weight.
Fif. 1886 A. Stewart Reminisc. Dunfermline (1889) 114:
Few of the present generation will know what the Nethertown “Weicht” really was. It was an old sort of drum, which was only brought out to the light of day, or at night, on very rare and special occasions. . . . Whenever the “weicht” was brought out it was considered a caution. There was something up, and, like the “fiery cross” of old, the news spread like wildfire, and everyone spoke with bated breath.
Slk. 1895 J. Bathgate Aunt Janet's Legacy 65:
Take out the ashes — see, there's a wecht.
Ork. 1905 W. T. Dennison Weddings 35:
At supper large quantities of pancakes (here called scones) were handed about on weichts.
Sh. 1928 Shetland Times (14 July) 4:
Back shu comes in a peerie start kerrying a wecht wi twa glesses o pritty laek snirkim, so I tanked her an drank her helt.
Gall. 1930:
He had already “shoed the moss” and was preparing to start “footing” the peats for the “far spread” when Nan arrived, carrying a wecht with one hand and swinging her print bonnet by a string with the other.

Deriv. wechtfu(l), the amount contained in a wecht, freq. used as a measure (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Dmf. 1832 Carlyle Reminisc. (1881) I. 29:
Potatoes were little in use then; a ‘wechtful' was stored up to be eaten perhaps about Halloween.
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 84:
The wechtfu' o' puddin's, white an' black, that were stowed awa' ben the hoose i' the meal barrel.

II. To winnow corn, separate grain from chaff, using a wecht.Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 67:
She wechts the corn anent the blaw.

[Phs., as N.E.D. suggests, a specific usage of Wecht, n.1, sc. a container made to hold a certain weight of grain, Mid.Eng. has weght, wehit, id. O.Sc. wecht, = I., a.1568.]

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"Wecht n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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