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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

POINT, n., v. Also Sc. forms pint; peint (Abd. 1862 G. McDonald D. Elginbrod i. xiii.), paynt (Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 167); pount (Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Cardinal Beaton 121, 1853 J. Pringle Poems 100); pynt. Sc. forms and usages. [pəint; Fif. ‡pʌunt, see Bowl, Dowt.]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Comb., phr. and deriv. (1) point game, in Curling: a game played by one curler as an individual as opposed to one played in a team, see 1903 quot. (Kcb. 1966); (2) pointie, n., a throw in the game of Knifie (Bnff., Ags., Ayr. 1966). Also two-pointie, a variation on this throw, see quot.; (3) pointy, adj., of a fleece: having wool of unequal length, ragged; (4) to cut before the point, fig. to be over-eager in tackling a matter, to be in too great a hurry, to anticipate, act or speak prematurely; (5) to gie or go at (something) point and heel, to work in a wholehearted energetic way, to go at a thing tooth and nail. This and the previous phr. are appar. metaphors from cutting corn with a sickle or scythe. See Heel, n.1, 3.(1) Slg. 1893 R. M. Fergusson My Village 158:
Point and rink games were played for prizes offered by enthusiastic patrons of the sport.
Gall. 1903 E.D.D.:
Point games are those which each member of the curling club plays by himself, at the various shots, generally for a medal. In the rink games he is one of a band of four players on one side. The medal for “points” is called the single-handed medal, that for rinks, the rink medal, in Galloway.
(2) Ags. 1934 G. Martin Dundee Worthies 179:
[In the game of “knifie”] “pointie” [was played] by gripping the tip of the blade and making the knife turn over and land in the ground. “Two pointie” by a double somersault.
(3) Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. of Farm III. 891:
A good fleece should have the points of all its staples of equal length, otherwise it will be a pointy one.
(4) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iii. ii.:
S. Will. Young Man, let's see your Hand; — what gars ye sneer? Pat. Because your Skill's but little worth I fear. S. Will. Ye cut before the Point.
Sc. 1737 Nat. Lib. Scot. MS. 1296:
Mr Justice conceives it is to be Cutting before the point to Comply with the above proposalls before the Entaill . . . be totally reversed by a sentence.
(5) Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 23:
She gied it point and heel The rig that day. Point and heel, is a term used among mowers when they cut as much at a stroke as they possibly can.

2. In a Jacquard loom: one of the needles which select the threads to be picked up (Ayr. 1966).

3. A length of cord, ribbon, leather or the like, gen. metal-tipped, used as a fastening, a lace. Obs. in Eng. In Sc. specif. a shoe-or boot-lace (Lnk. 1825 Jam., pint; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 259: I., n. and em.Sc.(a) 1966). Hence pintless, without laces. Combs. cut-point, a bootlace cut off a strip of leather as required (Ags. 1949); flail-points, strips of untanned sheepskin or the like, used to join the Souple to the handstaff of a flail, a Midcouple (Cai. 1949); point-hole, an eyelet in a shoe or the like.Abd. 1763 Abd. Journal (7 March):
New black leather shoes tied with leather points.
Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 325:
Their shoes of their own leather, tied with good strong sufficient points.
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 126:
Ye want the pints frae baith your shoon.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xxvi.:
The water in my shoes made a disagreeable jerking noise, and at every step came oosing through the pint-holes.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 64:
Dauvid wi' his pints wallopin' amon' his feet, an' his weyscot lowse.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (15 Sept.):
Shü cam' inby, an' began to lowse da points o' hir böits.
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 47:
Fae the ledgit at ilky side Hung ledder pints an' seggs.
Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 36:
Doon the road the body shauchles In his gapin', p'intless bauchles.
Bnff. 1962 Banffshire Advertiser (25 Oct.):
Buckie Thistle widna be able tae buy the pints for 'is [footballer's] beets.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
tak tent o the ae life threidin
frae aiglet tae aiglet, the ae life
dirlin in ilka pynt - a pynt whaur
stentless virr comes fair saucht,
whaur life comes daith and daith life.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 48:
The Dookit [a nickname] cam ben the hoose and tied his pints at the kitchie fire.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 61:
At a quarter till echt, he wis aff ower the hills fur the schule run, drivin frae fairm tae fairm, uplifting littlins, wytin fur mithers tae dicht bibbly snoots, or tie pynts, or caimb the antrin hudderie heid.

4. In the harvest field: the leading member of a team of reapers or Bandwin, the man who worked at the front left-hand-side of the team (Sc. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 725), also pintsman, id.; the strip of corn cut by him. Also more gen. the leader or pace-maker in any team of field-workers (Uls. 1966). Phr. to hoe (etc.) point, to lead or set the pace in hoeing, etc. (Kcb. 1966).Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poet. Wks. (1897) 42, 194:
He . . . could shear a point baith fast and slaw, And thresh, and dike, and ditch, and maw. . . . A point at baith shearin' and mawin'.
Dmf. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 402:
The Highland sickles . . . could not prevent the haft and the point from advancing before them, forming a front like the horns of a crescent.
Gall. 1896 66th Report Brit. Ass. 623:
The first “rigg” was called the “pint”, i.e. point, and the one that reaped was named the “pintsman”. The last “rigg” of those occupied by a set of reapers was called the “heel”, and the reaper bore the same name.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (9 Jan.):
I followed Logan on the pint Sae weel's he laid it doon.

5. The tapering part of a field which is not completely rectangular; the furrows or drills which are shortened thereby (ne.Sc., Lnl. 1966).Kcb. 1966:
A ploughman says he is “coming into points” when his rigs are not parallel to the dyke.

6. A very small fish, esp. a coalfish (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).

II. v.

Sc. form of Eng. point.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 17:
And the man who kens the finger-o-scorn's
Pinted at him because he weers the horns
Has made his wife nae better than she should be!

Sc. usages:

1. As in Eng., to indicate or turn in a certain direction. Hence pointer, (1) the index finger (Abd. 1931); (2) in tobacco-spinning: a boy who placed all the leaves pointing one way for the next operative to take over.(2) Sc. 1843 Children in Trades Report (2) i. 48:
Every stripper has four boys, a “leazer,” “wheel-boy,” “pointer” who advances the leaves, and “stripper”, who strips the leaf off the stalks.
Abd. 1876 S. Smiles Sc. Naturalist 47–8:
Each spinner had three boys under him — the wheeler, the pointer, and the stripper.

2. In Building: to indent a stone face with a pick or pointed tool (Sc. 1952 Builder (20 June) 942; ne.Sc., Per. 1966).

3. In Fishing: to hook a fish with the point of the rod, a poaching practice.Sc. 1860 Acts 23 and 24 Vict. c.45 § 1:
It shall not be lawful . . . to fish for trout or other fresh water fish . . . with any net, . . . or by striking the fish with any instrument, or by pointing.

4. Ppl.adj. pointit, of persons: precise, punctilious, (over)attentive to detail, fussy, demanding; punctual, exact, accurate (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 104, 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Ork., ne., sn. and s.Sc. 1966). Hence pointedly, pintitly, adv., accurately, punctiliously, precisely, punctually, immediately (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 247; Ags. 1966).Sc. 1727 Six Saints (Fleming 1901) I. 99:
I doubt nothing of the truth of them in my own mind, though I be not pointed in time and place.
Rs. 1748 W. MacGill Old Ross-shire (1909) 189:
I wish we was shoure of pointed payment of there pasage or they leve this cuntry.
Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 78:
Ye're sae precise an' pointet.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 283:
He's a great han' for splorin' about his punctuality in ordinary transactions, and of what a pointed man his father was.
Cai. 1887 “B. Watten” Stratharran 123:
Be pointit in gangin' to Andrew's on Saiterday nicht.
Fif. 1887 S. Tytler Logie Town I. xi.:
I will cause the green baize door . . . to be steeket pointedly.
Sc. 1893 M. Oliphant Lady William I. viii.:
How often must I tell you not to be so pointed with your half-hours? How can a young man tell, if he strolls out in the evening, exactly to the moment when he's to get back?
Fif. 1897 L. Keith Bonnie Lady iv.:
The minister's very pinted about his parritch.

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"Point n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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