Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AUCHT, AUGHT, OUGHT, OCHT, Auwcht, Acht, Yaucht, Yacht, Aicht, v.2 tr. [ɑxt, ɔxt Sc.; jɑxt Bch.; xt Lth.; ɔuxt + uxt Sh., s.Sc.; oxt wm.Sc., Peb.]

1. To own. Used in the 3rd sing. (aucht, or auchts), less often in the 3rd pl. (aucht), pres. indic.; also, in past indic. (aucht). Rarely in other parts. — Cf. the Abd. uses of Aicht, v. Sc. c.1730  Ownership Rhymes in Bks., Rymers Ctub Edb. (1928) III. 167:
James Liddell ought this book.
Sc. 1736  Ramsay Sc. Proverbs (1800) 28:
Let him haud the bairn that aught the bairn.
Sc. c.1790  Scott O. Mortality (1862) Introd. vi.:
I would give half of what I am aught [possessing], to know if it is still in existence.
Sc. [1826]  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 266:
Without ony ill-will to the master that aughts him.
Sc. 1886  R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped iii.:
There's naebody but you and me that ought the name.
Sh. 1914  Angus Gl.:
Wha acht it? = to whom did it belong?
Cai. 1928 1 :
“Fa achts him?” — i.e. who owns him, who are his parents?
Abd. 1778  (2nd ed.) A. Ross Helenore 35:
They came at last unto a gentle place, And wha aught it, but an auld aunt of his?
Bch.(D) 1923  P. Giles in Banffsh. Jnl. (8 May) 10:
A'body can drive the fite mear bit the man that yachts 'er.
Bch. 1929  (per
It's the minister that yauchts the bonny bairn. (Yaucht, to own. Oftener aicht.)
Arg. 1929 1 :
In dividing shares of fish among a number, one of the fishermen turns his back to the divide and another points to lot after lot, saying at each “Wha auchts it?”
Gall. 1901  in Trotter Gall. Gossip 21:
John McMorrough aught this book; God give him grace on it to look.
w.Dmf. 1925  W. A. Scott Vernac. of Mid-Nithsdale, Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 16:
Whae auchts it? Who owns it?
s.Sc. 1873  Murray D.S.C.S. 193:
Ther maun bey sumbodie auwcht it.

2. Aucht, etc., used as pa.p., apparently in sense of “possessed of” following only the verb to be with an interrog. or rel. pron. as subject (see Murray D.S.C.S. 193). The rel. and its pron. ante. form an indef. compound pron. = whoever. This idiom with s or is following the pron. was once common over Scotland and the north of England. (See E.D.D. Aught [pa.p.], and Aicht, Echt.)

(1) Used with the pr.t. of v. to be. Sc. a.1801  Lady Maisry, Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 65 a, xi.:
“O wha is aught that bairn,” he says, “That ye sae big are wi?”
Sc. a.1862  A. Hislop Sc. Proverbs 96:
He that's aught the cow gangs nearest the tail.
Lth.(D) 1926  J. Wilson Cent. Scot. 75:
Gee'd bawk tay dhaim dhut's awkht it. — Give it back to whoever it belongs to.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 163:
The haill question cam to be, Wha's aucht the siller?
Bwk. mid.19th cent.  Lady John Scott Songs and Verses (1911) 169:
Oh, whae's aught you, ye little Herd-lassie, That wad trust ye sae far on the hills your lane?
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross The Scot at Hame 53:
But wha's aucht a' the liquor.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Sc. Prologue l. 46:
Whase aught thae chiels maks a' this bustle here?
Gall. a.1827  The Fause Knight, Ballads ed. Child (1904) No. 3, iv.:
Wha's aucht they sheep?

(2) With other forms of the verb to be. The 's of wha's, quheae's, is evidently regarded in s.Sc. as the verb is and the usage is extended to other parts of the verb to be. It must be noted, however, that in n.Sc. the fut. is not “Fa'll be aicht this?” but “Fa'll aicht this?” Murray gives this usage in s.Sc. for indefinite pronouns such as sumbodie, neaebodie, oniebodie, quheaever, but the example that he gives (see 1, last quot.) can be easily explained by the common ellipsis of at (= rel. that) after sumbodie. a. Pa.t. Sc. 1818  S. Ferrier Marriage xxiv.:
The Laird, as he peered at her over his spectacles, pronounced her to be but a shilpit thing, though weel eneugh, considering the ne'er-do-weels that were aught her.
s.Sc. 1873  Murray D.S.C.S. 193:
Quheae was auwcht . . . the syller 'at ye fand?
Rxb.(D) 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes an Knowes 21:
At yeh shop-door a motor stuid, an forrit A gaed ti finnd oot whae was ocht eet. b. Fut. t.
s.Sc. 1873  Murray D.S.C.S. 193:
Quheae'll bey auwcht them (or aa them) a hunder yeir æfter thys? c. Conditional.
Aa dynna kæn quheae cood bey auwcht it.

[O.Sc. has aucht, aught, pa.t., pr.t. and pa.p., from a shortened form of O.E. āhte, pa.t. of O.E. āgan, to possess or owe. Murray was himself not entirely satisfied with his own explanation (see D.S.C.S. 218) of quhae's aucht. Awe (aa, yaw), aucht, aicht are all found in Mod.Sc. as in O.Sc., with the double meaning of possess and owe; (in this idiom) they are followed by an obj. case and with the verb to be form a continuous tense — i.e. Wha's awe them? means who is owning them, to whom do they belong? The usage is not of recent date as the foll. quot. shows: “And nevir speir quhais awcht hir,” O.Sc. a.1568 A. Scott Poems (S.T.S. 1896) iv. l. 31. The three exs. given in D.O.S.T. are placed under Aw, to own.]

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"Aucht v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jan 2018 <>



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