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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.

WRITE, v., n. Also obs. forms wryte, uryt (Sc. 1701 Rec. Sc. Cloth Manuf. (S.H.S.) 244), writt (Sc. 1706 Earls Crm. (Fraser 1876) II. 15), wrytt (Lnk. 1708 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 33); wreat (Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxii.; Ags. 1882 Brechin Advert. (28 Nov.) 3; Per. 1895 R. Ford Thistledown 287; Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. xix.), wreatt (Fif. 1725 J. Grant Burgh Schools (1876) 515), wret (Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 221), wraet (Sh. 1900 Shetland News (6 Jan.), Sh. 1974); wireete (Sc. 1860 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 96), weraet (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 14); and ne.Sc. vrite (Mry. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu Intro. i., Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxix.; Fif. 1832 Fife Herald (12 Jan.); Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 53; Bnff. 1918 J. Mitchell Bydand 6), vreyt; vreet (Abd. 1861 J. Davidson Poems 114, 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 75, 1918 C. Murray Sough o' War 24; Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 76), vrait (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 204), vret (Mry. 1889 T. L. Mason Rafford 52, Mry. 1925), vrett (Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 84). [rəit; em.Sc.(a) ret, ne.Sc. ‡vrit]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. as above. Pa.t. wrate (Sc. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 413; Bnff. 1792 Trans. Soc. Antiq. Scot. 452; Ags. 1838 Montrose Standard (1 Feb.); Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 105; e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 150), wrait (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 209; Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 14; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ags. 1960 Forfar Dispatch (3 Nov.); ne.Sc., Fif., Bwk., Rxb. 1974), wraite (Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 120), wraet (Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 7), wreat (Abd. 1722 Invercauld Rec. (S.C.) 310), urett (Sc. 1700 W. Fraser Scotts of Buccleuch (1878) II. 374), wret (Per. 1802 S. Kerr Poems 3; Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 4), ret (Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 72), also in n.Eng. dial. [ret]; ne.Sc. vrate (Abd. 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 413; Abd. a.1881 W. D. Geddes Mem. J. Geddes (1899) 22, 1920 A. Robb MS. xi.) [vret], wrat (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 263), ne.Sc. vrat (Bnff. 1878 Banffshire Jnl. (12 March) 10; Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 9, 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 145 [(v)rɑt]: writ (Inv. 1742 S.C. Misc. (1842) 25; Lnk. 1838 J. Morrison McIlwham Papers 8–10; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Sh. 1931 Shetland Times (14 March) 7), writt (Sc. 1712 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 46), now only dial. in Eng.; vrit (Mry. 1925); wrott, Sc. form of Eng. wrote; vrote (Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxix.; Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxii.) [‡vrot]. Pa.p. written (Gen.Sc.), writen (Sc. 1703 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 8, 1745 S.C. Misc. (1841) 413) [rɪtn]; ne.Sc., Lth. vritten (m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 143: Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 119; Abd. 1930 D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 11) [‡vrɪtn], vrutten (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlviii., 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xx.; ‡ne.Sc. 1974) [vrʌtn]; wrotten (Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 262), vrotten (Abd. 1878 Ellis E.E.P. V. 778) [(v)rotn]; wrate (Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May)), wret (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.) [ret]; †write (Sc. 1705 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 61); writ (Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) 193; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 181), now only liter. in Eng., writt (Mry. 1728 Elchies Letters (MacWilliam) 44); ¶vrat (Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 138); and, after Eng., wrot (Sth. 1747 C. D. Bentinck Dornoch (1926) 538), wrote (ne.Sc. 1745 Origins '45 (S.H.S.) 120; Ayr. 1783 Burns Chronicle (1935) 77; Ags. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan II. xii.; Per. 1897 C. M. Stuart Sandy Scott's Bible Class 17; Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 181), vrote (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlii.) [(v)rot].Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 79:
" ... If I kent whar wrott this I wid keek him fae here tae Dounby."
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 56:
'Some wan in time that's yit tae be
wil fin whit I hae writ,' said he;
but when he pu'd the heft back oot
the not wis stickit fast on't.

B. Sc. usages in vbl.n. writin(g), (1) in combs. writin lark (Ags. 1974), writin maister (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), the yellowhammer, Emberiza citrinella, so called from the black ink-like scrawls on the shell of its egg. Also in Eng. dial. Cf. pen-straker s.v. Pen, n.1, 2.(1); (2) the business of a Writer, q.v., or lawyer. Obs. exc. in comb. writing chamber(s), a lawyer's office.(2) Sc. 1700 Edb. Gazette (5 Aug.):
The Rental, Rights of the saids Lands, and Conditions of Roup, may be seen in the Writing Chamber of Mr. William Forrester Writer to the Signet.
Sc. 1752 J. Spottiswoode Stile of Writs Pref.:
I was near six Years in a Writing-Chamber, in continual Practice.
Sc. 1847 J. G. Lockhart Burns 178:
Burns went through the ceremony of a justice-of-peace marriage with Jean Armour in the writing-chambers of his friend Gavin Hamilton.

II. n. 1. Handwriting, script, esp. in ink (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1974); the art or style of writing, penmanship.Sc. 1710 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1837) II. 370:
The write and the margines are most exact.
Sc. 1727 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) III. 288:
Four or five sheets of sparse write.
Dmf. 1756 Session Papers, Smith v. Rogerson (5 July) 20:
She cannot write or read write.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 183:
I ken whether it's gude, bad, or middlin — if the first, I copy't ower into write.
m.Lth. 1842 Children in Mines Report (2) 437:
I go to Mr Robertson's night-school to learn the reading, and doing a little at the write.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin v.:
Frae some Lawyer, I suppose, by the hand wreat.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 190:
My write being noo very crabbit and ill to spell.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (22 Jan.):
Doo niver wis gude at makin' oot wraet at first.

Combs. and phrs.: (1) big write, grit write (Sc. 1825 Jam.), groff wreyt (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.), large text, a large round style of handwriting, with distinct lettering; (2) hand o' write, handwriting, style of writing. Gen.Sc. See also Hand, n., 8.(20); (3) muckle write, = (1) (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (4) sma write, small text, ordinary cursive handwriting (Ib.; ne.Sc. 1974); (5) write-book, a (school) writing- or exercise-book (Ork. 1974); (6) write o han(d), = (2).(2) wm.Sc. 1903 S. Macplowter Mrs. McGraw 24:
A ken ye got a raigistered letter the tither day, fur Postie Stewart wis exheebitin' yer haun' o' write alang the Raw.
Dmf. 1912 J. Hyslop Echoes 45:
They spoke of handwriting as “hand-o'-write.”
(3) Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 12:
Oor writin' syne wis seen by John, . . . Lang strokes, an' muckle vreet an' sma', He lookit ower them ane an' a'.
(4) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ix.:
It was aye the first copy-line that the maister set, when he put us in sma' write.
(5) Abd. 1718 J. Cranna Fraserburgh (1914) 212:
Some of the scholars write books.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro John Splendid xxv.:
He took his write-book, standish and English New Bible.
(6) Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 130:
Maist write-o'-han' he reads as well As Tawse the dominie himsel'.

2. Writing, as opposed to speech or oral communication, “black and white” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1700 Acts Gen. Assembly 21:
Recommended to all Presbytries to send in an Account of their Judgement in write.
Sc. 1711 S.C. Misc. (1841) 198:
As to the closse conference I had with Mr. Carstares, I cannot put it in write.
Gall. 1828 W. McDowall Poems 34:
This hobby-horse a toss ye gie In word and write.
Sc. 1852 Tait's Mag. (Nov.) 672:
It's proveable, John, if ye stand till your write.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxvi.:
Ye thocht na muckle o' oor words, but that's vreet upon't noo.
Lnk. 1892 Scots Mag. (June) 31:
To ask a “word o' write” on a bargain was almost resented as an insinuation of dishonesty.
Ags. 1905 A. N. Simpson Bobbie Guthrie 67:
If I didna hae write upon it, I wid rin a guid chance o' losin' the cash.
Sc. 1913 J. Allardyce Byegone Days 135:
Parents were indifferent as to whether their sons and daughters learned to wield the pen, as they recognised the truth that “mony ane's deen ill wi' vreet.”
Mry. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 69:
The wird I'd tak o' a' forbears Afore the vrite o' slippery heirs.

3. A written record or document of any transaction, esp. a legal paper, a deed or formal piece of writing. Cf. Writ.Sc. 1716 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 552:
Upon the tuenty fourth day of February instant, being the thirty day after the test of the said wryte, as the said wryte or precept bears.
Ayr. 1725 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (22 Dec.):
He is to allow Mr Cochrane to make use of the old gleib, till the writes are compleited.
Sc. 1762 Nairne Peerage Evid. (1873) 98:
To be used by him as his own proper writes and evidents in time coming.
Mry. 1775 L. Shaw Hist. Moray 92:
I have not seen the writes of this family, and therefore will not offer to deduce the genealogy of it.
Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 57:
Prior to the year 1390, when their writes, or charters, were lost in the burning of the town and cathedral of Elgin.
Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm lxiii.:
Ye grant Grizel Cam'ell yer wife, my lord, whan ye own to that wreet.
Abd. 1913 G. Greig Mains Again 33:
She his gotten a haud o' some vreet o' mine that wisna intendit for her.

4. A lawyer, scrivener, in quot. a town-clerk. Cf. Writer.Mry. 1865 W. H. Tester Poems 114:
Our auld vreet is like to eat His vera thooms wi' rage.

[O.Sc. wryting-chalmer, 1618. Under II. O.Sc. has write, a deed, document, 1466, in write, in writing, 1535, wrait, handwriting, 1600, the n. form being adopted from the v. in place of the earlier Writ. The forms in O.Sc. are somewhat complex, wreat, wret, wreit, write, wrait; wriet [writ] is also found from 1511, prob. by transf. of the verb from Class I to Class IV. writ-book occurs in 1659.]

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"Write v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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