Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FLITTIN(G), n. Also fliting; flitteen (s.Sc.), and deriv. form flutning (Ork. (Orphir) 1910 Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 6).

1. Removal, the act of moving from one residence to another. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Lnk. 1707  J.P.s Lnk. (S.H.S.) 5:
Servants unacquainting their masters of their departures from ther service untill the term of flitting be come.
Sc. a.1737  Major Fraser's MS. (ed. Fergusson 1889) II. 115:
As it is ordinary, the 15 day of May, over all that countrys, to send a load by way of a symboll of flitting.
Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize III. viii.:
Other furniture, wherewith they had burdened themselves like bearers at a flitting.
Sc. 1828  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 49:
Houses change families, not only at Michaelmas, but often, . . . there is a general flitting.
Bnff. 1880  J. F. S. Gordon Chron. Keith 63:
The “Chacky Mill” or Death-Watch (occasioned by the very rapid motions of the head of an Insect in old wood boring its way) was conjectured to be a forego of a Death or a Flitting.
Uls. 1904  Weekly Irish Times (17 Sept.):
A man does not leave or quit his house, but, in villages especially, there are a good many “flittings.”
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 10:
At the fit o the brae a flitteen was gaun on.
Sc. 1939  Times (23 Nov.) 6:
November 28 is the Scottish removal term, when domestic and farm servants change their employments, leases come to an end, and flittings are made.

2. What is flitted, household goods when loaded for removal. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1823  J. Wilson Marg. Lyndsay ix.:
Two or three of their new neighbours . . . came out from their houses at the stopping of the cart-wheels, and one of them said, “Aye, aye, here's the flitting.”
Lnk. 1885  F. Gordon Pyotshaw xxxiii.:
There'll no be a collier in a' the land but'll be able to carry his flittin' on the croon o' his head.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxx.:
The boxes were the lumber of a flitting, and held musty papers.
Kcd. 1933  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 330:
He moved to Pittaulds in the autumn term, folk watched his flitting come down by Mondynes.
Fif. 1939  St Andrews Citizen (2 Dec.):
Tuesday was term day . . . During the forenoon and afternoon several “flittin's” passed through the city.

3. Combs.: (1) flittin bird, a mysterious sound in a house said to presage a flitting (Ork.5 1952). Cf. (4) and Flitterchack: (2) flitting crop, the crop sown by a tenant of a farm, in the spring of the year of his removal. See Waygoing; (3) flittin day, the day on which removals take place. Gen.Sc. Also fig. of death; (4) flitting shaek, see quot. and cf. 1880 quot. in 1. above; (5) flittin time, the period during which removals take place. Gen.Sc.; (6) munelicht flittin, meenlicht(ie) —, a furtive removal, as under cover of night, to avoid paying debts or to escape some unpleasant consequences. Gen.Sc. (2) Sc. 1801  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 658:
Whether the tenant had a right to a flitting or way-going crop.
(3) Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Miller iii.:
The key of a house from which a tenant is removing, cannot, according to law, be demanded till twelve o'clock on the noon of the 25th [now the 28th] of May, or flitting day; and no removing tenant can retain such key, a moment after that hour, without exposing himself to troublesome consequences.
Per. c.1850  Harp (ed. Ford) 197:
The flittin' day we'll min', John, Lest sorrow come at last.
Gsw. 1892  Gsw. Mail (24 June) 7:
It was the Whitsunday term or “flittin' day” without a doubt.
(4) Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 163:
A vibrating sound [of the wood beetle was called] a “flitting shaek.”
(5) Sc. 1793  Morison Decisions 2004:
That they may carry furniture in flitting time, from the 15th to the 30th of May.
(6) Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 145:
He has taken a Moon light flitting.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet vii.:
If sae mickle as a collier or a salter make a moonlight flitting.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) xvii.:
The whole covey of them, no better than a set of swindlers, took leg-bail and made that very night a moonlight flitting.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 172:
I micht hae ta'en a moon-licht flitting, bag and baggage — packed up my awls, and gien ye the win' o' my heels for payment.
Abd. 1888  Bon-Accord (3 Nov.) 8:
The only thing of much interest to a landlord of the present day is to hear of a proposed “moonlichty flittin'” from the tenements which he calls his own.
Fif. 1894  J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 97:
What wad his honoured ancestors hae thocht gin thae had risen frae their lang rest and beheld their lineal descendant concoctin' a munelicht flittin'?

[Vbl.n. from Flit, v., n.1 O.Sc. has flitting = 2., c.1420, = 1., 1641, Flitting Friday, 1536.]

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"Flittin(g) n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2018 <>



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