Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DORT, n., v.1, adj.

I. n.

1. Usu. in pl. and with def. art.: ill-humour, the sulks, esp. in phr. to tak(e) the dort(s), to take offence, take the “huff.” Gen.Sc. Also in n.Cy. dial. Sc. 1818  S. E. Ferrier Marriage II. xi.:
Mony a time I had to fleech ye oot o' the dorts whan ye was a callant.
Sh. 1933  J. Nicolson Hentilagets 25:
Bit dey aa took da dorts an left her alane.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 3:
An' he geed awa' the neest mornin' i' the dorts.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 27:
An' sae for fear, he clean sud spoil the sport, Gin anes his shepherdess sud tak the dort.
m.Sc. 1927  J. Buchan Witch Wood 213:
The Gordons took the dorts — a plague on their thrawn heids.
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 25:
. . . paughty damsels bred at courts, Wha thraw their mou's, and take the dorts.
Hdg. 1908  J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 255:
By her we were baith tax'd an' schuled. . . . When into dorts she'd lapse!
Lnk. 1832  W. Motherwell Poems 185:
My father says I'm in a pet, my mither jeers at me, And bans me for a dautit wean, in dorts for aye to be.
Rxb. 1892  R. Fairley Teviotside Musings 91:
Nae wonder that I'm in the dort And wae to see them.
Slk. 1829  Hogg Shepherd's Cal. I. 23:
He took the dorts, and never heeded the folk mair than they hadna been there.

2. Sometimes used with Meg as an epithet for a sulky or bad-tempered woman. Rarely with other feminine names. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act I. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
She scour'd awa, and said, What's that to you? Then fare ye well, Meg Dorts, and e'en's ye like, I careless cry'd.
Sc. 1820  Scott Monastery xxviii.:
There are the keys then, Mysie Dorts.
Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. I. i.:
Meg Dods, or Meg Dorts, as she was popularly termed, on account of her refractory humours.
Ayr. 1823  Galt Entail xxxiii.:
But e'en's ye like, Meg Dorts, as “Patie and Rodger” says.
Dmf. 1817  W. Caesar Poems 87:
She sings of comrades wha mair dear are: Her ain Pate, wi' his Meg dorts.
Rxb. 1881  W. Brockie in
J. Younger Autobiog. 369 Note:
“E'en's ye like, Meg Dorts!” is a common exclamation, when a young woman gets sulky, or refuses to do something.

II. v.

1. intr. To sulk, to take offence, to become petulant (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh.11, Ork.2, Cai.9 1949; Crm. 1911 D. Finlayson W.-L.; Ags. 1825 Jam.2; Fif.16 1949; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.). Ppl.adj. dorted, -it, pettish, ill-humoured; vbl.n. dortin', sulkiness. Sc. 1820  A. Sutherland St Kathleen III. 191:
I ken weel eneugh what lassies like, an' winna tak fleg although ye sid dort for a hale ook.
Sc. 1928  J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 24:
For days on en' she'd dort an' sulk.
Cai. c.1920 4 :
'E bairn's dorted because she didna get a piece.
Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 333:
They maun be toyed wi' and sported, Or else ye're sure to find them dorted.
Fif. 1806  A. Douglas Poems 87:
Dancin' on the flow'ry mead, They hae nae spleen nor dortin'.
Fif. 1873  J. W. Wood Ceres Races 11:
But here, my hearties, is the sort For Jenny gin she seeks to dort.
Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 151:
But yet he coudna gain her heart, She was sae vera dortit, An' shy that night.
Gsw. 1850  (per Abd.27):
“The dortit bairn gets leave to fast Or sup the ithers' leavin's at the last” — when a plate was not promptly emptied.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 369:
At this he was so dorted that when William Aitkin produced the bill for payment he refused it.

2. tr. and absol. Fig. of a bird in regard to its nest: to forsake. Ork. 1928 1 :
The teewhup dorted her eggs.
Ork. 1940  (per Abd.27):
Whan we fand the nest the sinloo hid dortit.

III. adj. Sulky, peevish. Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet i.:
She's a kind word an' a dort ane, She's a lang leg an' a short ane.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 55:
Awake and dinna be sae dort, What tho' ye get nae siller for't.

[Of obscure origin. Dort, to sulk, is found in O.Sc. 1620 and dorts (take the), c.1637. The derivs. dortie (from c.1590) and dortynes, 1513, are recorded earlier.]

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"Dort n., v.1, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Dec 2018 <>



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