Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FLOAT, n., v. Also flot, †floath.

I. n. 1. Scum, esp. on a boiling pot of broth, jam, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1950). Deriv. flottie, “a flat basin in which milk is put to cream” (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 247). †Phr. and comb.: (1) float-o-feet, the fat boiled from the legs of oxen (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 224); (2) float-whey, flot —, a dish made by boiling whey, often with a little meal and milk, so as to form a soft floating curd (Cld. 1808 Jam., flot-; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Float alone is also in use (Watson). (2) Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail vii.:
The float whey, which, in a large china punch bowl, graced the centre of the table, and supplied the place of jellies, tarts, tartlets, and puddings.
Gsw. 1845  R. Husband Poems 61:
Fat kail and potatoes as naething they reckon, And cram wi' the float-whey and bread till they brust.
Rxb. 1878  J. Thomson Life W. Thomson 31:
Plenty of . . . cheese, whey, float, bleery.
Ags. 1896  J. Stirton Thrums and its Glens 100:
When young he was regaled with float whey and potatoes.

2. Mining: a sill or sheet of intrusive trap rock, lying roughly in the same plane as the surrounding strata (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 29; Ayr.9 1951). Gsw. 1920  Memoirs Geol. Survey Scot. 64:
Two or three thin “floats” or sills of teschenitic dolerite are intruded among the strata.
Ayr. 1932  Econ. Geol. Ayr. Coalfields IV. 9:
In the Carboniferous rocks there are sills or “floats” of basic whinstone, volcanic necks, and dykes.

3. A flat spring cart without sides for light transport (Ork., ne.Sc., Bwk., Rnf., Ayr., Gall., Dmf., Rxb., Uls. 1952), freq. used for carrying a hay rick bodily to the stack (wm.Sc. 1952). wm.Sc. 1935  G. Blake Shipbuilders xi.:
Men oscillating between mendicancy and commerce with boxes of Russian matches on the pavements' edges, men selling briquettes from lined floats.
Abd. 1952  Huntly Express (25 April):
A nomad of the White clan landed in Huntly with a convoy of six floats, each drawn by a pony and loaded with dishes, pots and pans, and the usual tink merchandise.

II. v. In vbl.n.: †1. floathing, a layer; 2. In pl. flottins, = float-whey above (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Abd.2 1943): 3. Attrib. in phr. floating flock, see quot. under Flee. v.1, n.1, II. 10. 1. Sc. 1743  R. Maxwell Select Trans. 185:
I first lay upon the Bars small Wood or Whins, than a Floathing of small Coals, then Stones . . . but in every Floathing . . . I make the Stones bigger and bigger.

[The word is partly Sc. usage of Eng. float. In the sense of scum, whey curds, it has fused with O.Sc. flott, fat, grease, 1589, flot-quhaye, 1549, from O.N. flot, floating fat. Cf. also O.E. flotsmeru, dripping, and obs. Eng. flote, to skim, flotten, skimmed, pa.p. of fleet, to skim. See Fleet, v., n.1 and note s.v.]

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"Float n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/float>

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