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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAINT, n., v. Also pent (Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders xxii.; Abd. 1949 Scots Mag. (March) 453); pint (Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 33); peint  Sc. forms and usages. [pɛnt; Abd. + pɪnt]

I. n. The painted woodwork of a room or building, the paintwork (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Gen.Sc.wm.Sc. 1963:
The charwoman was washing down the paint in the kitchen.

II. v. 1. As in Eng.; hence pinter, n., a painter (Sc. 1705 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 369), penter (Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie 161; Gall. 1947 A. McCormick Galloway 176; Gen.Sc.); also vbl.n; Also fig. Ppl.adj. pentit, -ed.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 6:
Oh, face to face it's kiss-me-luif and palsy-walsy
But ahint your back you should hear whit they all say!
It's: "That will be right" and "I kennt it!"
And "Yon yin's even blacker than he's pentit!"
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 76:
A peetie tes thare's nane o thaim tak tent
o whit the haill shaif o his screivins meant,
insteid o gien thir yearlie coamic turns
in speik faur mair weel-kent in Newton Mearns.
Goad, the haill ettle o the bard's been bent
sae ilka thowless philistine kin pent
his 'Life of Burns' owre neaps, aitmeal-an-thairms.
Lnk. 1991 Duncan Glen Selected Poems 37:
Sometimes I feel as if I could slip in
at the edge o yin or twa pentins.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web iii:
Hardly the maist poetic image tae haud tae the fore o yer mind, a daud o keech; fine fur a Gilbert and George peintin o anal obsessions, bit nae the Celtic icon I'd care tae saturate ma retina wi.
ne.Sc. 1996 Lindsay Paterson in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 16:
She wis aboot ti gyang oot fin a sma copy o a pintin took her ee. It wis aa in black an fite. Sittin at a table wis twa faceless fowk leukin at an impty beuk. The room wis affa dark an in the backgrun wis a winda.
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 42:
Venus rises from the sea, as Titian pents colorito ...
And Beatrice smiles as Dante scrieves beyond language ...
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 14:
Anither John thinks colour blue,
is jist the hue for pentin
thon gas-works hulk.
Its roostit bulk
needs twa-three penters sent in.

2. To turn up sward, to plough a grass field, dig over a lawn, etc., fig. from the notion of doing the work in strips and so changing the colour of the surface (Lnk. 1920). A pentit park, a ploughed field (Id.).

In Sc. combs.: (1) the deil's pented beuks, playing cards. Cf. Picter; (2) Painted Hill, prop.n., an old name for the Castle Hill of Edinburgh.(1) Sc. 1834 Chambers's Jnl. (June) 163:
He and his companions, and the very chamber in which they sat playing with the deil's pented bewks, a' disappeared for ever frae mortal een.
(2) Sc. 1894 Stevenson St. Ives i.:
The old name of that rock on which our prison [Edinburgh Castle] stood was . . . the Painted Hill.

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"Paint n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2024 <>



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