Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GANT, v., n.1 Also g(a)unt. [gɑ(:)nt, g:nt]

I. v. 1. To yawn, lit. and fig. Also in Eng. dial. Gen.Sc. (exc. Cai.). Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 119:
Gaunting bodes wanting, one of Three, Meat, Sleep or good Company.
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 82:
They heed not tho' destruction come To gulp us in her gaunting womb.
Ayr. c.1789  Burns To a Gentleman 4–5:
This monie a day I've grain'd and gaunted, To ken what French mischief was brewin.
Sc. 1809  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
The waes o' duddie doublets sing, Whan gousty want gaunts o'er the hallan.
Bnff. 1823  in G. Greig Folk-Song (1914) xliii.:
All the long night Lesmore guntit, The never a wink slept he.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvi.:
Mr Monypenny, wha had been gauntin' for sometime previous . . . remarked that . . . it was wearin' towards bed-time.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo iii.:
I sat there, gantin' and sleepy . . . wi' heavy, blinkin' e'en, juist like a hoolet lookin' oot a whun buss.
Sh. 1914  Angus Gl. 165:
De wer never ean at gantet bit sometin dey wantet.
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 58:
Syne you'll gant and drowse, Ay, you need your bed.
Kcd. 1933  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 333:
And your man would go ganting wide as a gate . . . and still Rob Galt would sit there and habber.

Hence †gaunt-at-the-door, n.phr., a loafer, work-shy. Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Parish xlii.:
Folk thought he would turn out a sort of gaunt-at-the-door, more mindful of meat than work.

2. To gasp, open the mouth wide (for breath). Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xxvi.:
When he gants his last on a rickle of cauld stanes, there will be nae friends near him.
Sc. 1932  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 364:
His speech was thick as that of a man who gants for breath.

3. To stammer, stutter (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73, Cai.7 1954). This sense is confined to Cai.

4. To talk extravagantly, to make wild statements. Lnk. 1950  National Weekly (7 Oct.):
The people of Lesmahagow, where Mr Fraser was brought up, have a word for this. They call it “ganting.” Ordinary Glesca Scots might call it “blethering.” Yankees would dub it “shooting the bull.”

II. n. 1. A yawn (I.Sc., Inv., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., m.Lth., Ayr., Rxb. 1954). Also fig. Per. 1766  A. Nicol Poems 19:
And a' his gaunts and gapes but prove Milk to his grief.
Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poems 91:
Twa pints o' weel-boilt solid sowins, . . . Wad scarce ha'e ser't the wretch to chew ance, Or choke a gant.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 90:
In short, we've thoughtless joys an' wants, They wealth, wi' nervous thraws an' gaunts.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 160:
So they just . . . haud doun their heads, and put up their hauns to their chafts, to conceal a suppressed gaunt.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 110:
I t'ink ye'll glaip me wi' your gant.
Sh. 1897  Shet. News (12 June):
Girzzie fetched a odious lang gant or twa.
Ags. 1904  Arbroath Guide (15 Oct.) 3:
“This life's a wearisome wey o' daein after a',” quo' I, as I gae a big gaunt.
m.Sc. 1920  “O. Douglas” Penny Plain xxii.:
That's why so many rich people have discontented faces . . . Mrs M'Cosh says, “There's mony a lang gant in a cairriage.”
Ags. 1937  Scotsman (29 May) 14:
The gant o' the gurlie tides.

2. A stammer, stutter (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 73, Cai.7 1954).

[O.Sc. has gant, gaunt, yawn, gape, v. from 1456, n. from c.1470. A deriv., of uncertain formation, of O.E. gānian, to yawn. N.E.D. suggests a deriv. from an O.E. *gānettan, freq. from gānian. Cf., however, Gaan, to gaze with open mouth.]

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"Gant v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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