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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DOIT, n.1 Also dite, dight, †doyt, †dy(o)t(t). [dɔit Sc., but ne.Sc., Ayr., Rxb. dəit]

1. A small copper coin of Dutch origin of the value of half a Bodle or one-twelfth of an English penny, which had unofficial currency in Scot., esp. in 17th and early 18th cent.Sc. 1710 in H. G. Graham Soc. Life Scot. (1899) I. 237:
To randie beggars, 7s. in dyotts.
Sc. 1819 Scott L. Montrose xvi.:
I could not prevail on them to accept one stiver, doit, or maravedi, for the trouble and expences.
Bnff. 1730 in W. Cramond Ann. Bnff. (S.C. 1893) II. 158:
In French dytts and letter'd bodles £9:11: 8.
Bnff. 1737 in Trans. Bnffsh. Field Club (1891) 31:
[They] appointed their Treasurer to buy the Bible, and exchange the dites at the foresaid price.
Bwk. 1757 in R. Gibson Old Bwksh. Town (1905) 95:
To incast of doits sold to Thomas Watt at 18 p[er] shilling.
Wgt. 1723 in G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 44:
If the Currancy of the Doits and Orkies at Ednr. should be stoped before May day next, then the Session should receive back again from him at that time what he has not disposed of towards the Payment of his Bill.

2. Any small coin of low value, taken as a symbol of worthlessness and hence used fig. in neg. phrs. not to care a doit, not worth a doit. Cf. similar use of Eng. farthing.Sc. 1716 My Daddy had a riding Mare in Jacobite Minstr. (1829) 46:
The bridle was na worth a doit.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
No worth a doit, a phrase used to signify that one is in a state of poverty; or that he has no coin, even of the lowest kind in his pocket.
Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona xxiii.:
I had not one doit of coin.
Nai. 1828 W. Gordon Poems 24:
I wadna care a dite.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Doric 68:
I carena a doit nor a docken.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 59:
An' if a poor beggar body had a bit wean to chrisen, the deil a doit they [the ministers] feike him o't [baptism dues].
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 32:
Thief's bargain? Ay! No worth a doit, As weel ha'e bocht a cloot.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xii.:
Charlie Pierston . . . had ne'er a doit that didna burn a hole in his pouch.
Gall. 1828 W. McDowall Poems 23:
An my auld dog's nae worth a doit, He winna wear the sheep.
Rxb. 1919 Kelso Chron. (4 April) 3/1:
But I defy your angry glance — I dinna care a dight.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man III. vii.:
Weel I ken ye carena ae doit about the kye.

3. Used contemptuously of a modicum of intelligence, esp. in phr. to lose one's doit.Sh.11 1949:
“Man, du's lost di doit!” = Man, you have lost the last traces of your reason!

[O.Sc. has doit, doyt, a copper coin of small value, originally one of Dutch origin, from 1582, and dyte, dytt, from 1698; E.M.E. doit, Mid.Du. doyt, deuit, duit.]

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"Doit n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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