Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DOONSIT, n. Also more commonly vbl.n. doon-sittin(g), doun-, down-

1. A settlement, esp. that obtained by marriage or inheritance; Gen.Sc.; “a business establishment” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., -sittin). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 40:
He ga's sin a gueede doon-sit, fin he pat 'im in o' that fairm.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.:
Ou, aw dinna misdoot that; an' he'll get a braw doon-sit at Gushetneuk.
Fif. 1897  “S. Tytler” Witch-Wife v.:
Glenfierroch will be a fine down-sitting for our sister's daughter.
Edb. 1925  C. P. Slater Margey Pow 45:
She has got a good down-sittin', and a kind man.
Arg. 1937 1 :
Gear's no everything; many's the lass I saa that got a gran' doonsittin an' had a gey sair hert efterhin.
Dmf. 1836  A. Cunningham Lord Roldan III. xii.:
Marry the heiress: Howeboddom is a warm downsitting.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 5:
The Borderers lang syne geh thersels an awfih leife o'd. Theirs was nae canty doonsitteen!

2. A sitting-down.

†(1) The opening session of a deliberative body. Ayr. 1702  in Ayr. and Gall. Arch. Assoc. (1891) XV. (2) 120:
It being a considerable tyme to the dounsitting of the Parliament.

(2) A settling-down or establishing oneself (in a place) (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9 1940). Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvi.:
It's a very fallawshus prenciple in fat they ca' poleetical-economy to encourage the doonsittin' o' the like o' them in a place.

(3) Phrs.: (a) at a(e) doonsittin, = Eng. at a sitting (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3 1940); (b) at the doon-sittin', on the verge of bankruptcy (Abd.15 1880; Abd.8 1940). (a) Sc. 1776  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 508:
He bequeathed fifteen dozen of port wine to Mr John Home, Author of Douglas, and other tragedies, upon condition of his drinking one bottle of port at what he calls a down-sitting.
Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality iv.:
I gat the humle-cow . . . for ten pund Scots, and they drank out the price at ae downsitting.
Sc. 1929  Scots Observer (31 Oct.) 16/4:
Could polish off a terrible lot o' provender at a doonsittin'.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick iv.:
It's ower sarious a maitter to be settled aff-hand, at ae doun-sittin.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Letters (ed. Ferguson 1931) I. 94:
She'll whip me aff her five stimparts o' the best aits at a down-sittin.

3. The seat, the posterior. Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 240:
That's e'en a dowie ditty. Hech, but it maks the flesh saft, and braidens the downsitting like daigh on a dresser.

[Doon, adv.1, + sit. O.Sc. has dounsitting = 2. (2) above, 1551, and 2. (1) above, from 1587.]

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"Doonsit n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2018 <>



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