Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HERT, n., v. Also hairt, hehrt (Gregor), haert (Sh.), heirt (Abd.); †hart; and dim. he(a)rtie. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. heart. [hɛrt, hert]

I. n. A. 1. Phrs.: (1) heart of Midlothian, a name given to the old Tolbooth or prison of Edinburgh dismantled in 1817, as being the administrative centre of the shire of Midlothian. The site is now marked by and the name transferred to a heart-shaped arrangement of stones on the street near St Giles's Kirk. The phr. is occas. used by a misunderstanding of Edinburgh itself and has been adopted as the name of one of Edinburgh's football teams, colloq. “the Herts”; ‡(2) heart o(f) the (y)earth, the self-heal, Prunella vulgaris, “because it chiefly occurs on thin poor soils, where the farmers give it the credit of eating away all the substance of the soil” (Rxb. 1886 B. and H. 249, Rxb. 1957). Also found in n.Eng. dials.; (3) on one's hert, by heart, in one's memory (Abd. 1957); (4) the heart o' corn, “one of the best,” a good fellow (Uls. 1923 Belfast Telegraph (15 Jan.)). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Used lit. in first quot. = the spirit or essence of the grain; (5) to cast the heart(s), see Cast, IV., 1.; (6) to hae one's hert an' one's ee in, to be extremely interested in; to be eager to possess (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Arg. 1957). See also Ee, n., 2. (1); (7) to pit one's heart awa, to cause one to faint. The passive is expressed by one's heart gangs awa. Cf. to flit one's hert s.v. Flit, v., 1. (1) and 2.; (8) to rin da hert, to make a charm with molten lead in the shape of a heart. Cf. castin' the hert, id., s.v. Cast, IV., 1.; (9) to tak one at the heart, to affect profoundly. (1) Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian i.:
“Then the Tolbooth of Edinburgh is called the Heart of Mid-Lothian?” said I. “So termed and reputed, I assure you.”
Edb. 1825  R. Chambers Trad. of Edb. III. 168:
A youth named Hay . . . who was under sentence of death for burglary, effected his escape in a way highly characteristic of the Heart of Midlothian.
Edb. 1867  A. Leighton Romances 257:
He stood a chance any day in all the year round of being shut up in “The Heart of Mid-Lothian.”
(2) Bwk. 1853  G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 164:
Prunella Vulgaris. . . . In the Merse called Heart-o-the-Yearth and Prince's-Feathers.
(3) Ags. 1921  D. H. Edwards Fisher Folks 193:
Alec was wont to say that when he was a young chap he had “a' the book on's he'rt.”
(4) Dmf. 1822  A. Cunningham Sir M. Maxwell 42:
By the heart o' corn One of the Galloway gods.
Edb. 1881  J. Smith Habbie and Madge 13:
I'll see ye . . . i' the mornin', my heart o' corn! Guid nicht, my mannie!
Gall. 1884  A. Glass Adventures 55:
“Weel dune, Doyle!” exclaimed Harrison, shaking hands with the horse-jockey across the table. “Man, ye're the heart o' corn.”
Uls. 1901  Uls. Sayings in North. Whig:
The host who treats you in this generous way is indeed the rale “heart o' corn.”
(6) Abd. a.1880  W. Robbie Yonderton (1929) xviii.:
Her customer, who she saw had her “hert an' her ee” in the aforesaid napkin.
(7) Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings 32:
That stouns amo' my taes, Will pit my heart awa!
Fif. 1894  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvi.:
Her heart actually gaed awa' for a few seconds.
(8) Sh. 1932  J. Saxby Trad. Lore 175:
A good “wise-woman” could counteract suffering by “rinnin' da hert.” The invalid was set in a tub near the fire. A “blind sivv” (a sifter without holes in it) was set on his head and a bowl of water set in the sivv. Some lead was melted. Then two keys were held in the form of a cross, and the molten lead was poured through the “bools” (finger-holes in key-handles). While this was being done, the sick person in the tub was murmuring in low, solemn tones: May Gude show His face And gie me His grace. Then all the bits of lead were examined, and the bit most like a heart was tied up in a red rag and worn over the heart of the patient “for three moons.”
(9) Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxiii.:
It's a queer-like thing when a wife o' nineteen months rins like a tod frae her married husband. That took me at the hert.

2. The stomach (Sc. 1825 Jam.; I.Sc., Cai., Abd. 1957). Now obs. or dial. in Eng. Combs. hert-scaud, see sep. art.; heart-wear, see 1899 quot. Abd. c.1780  A. Watson Wee Wifeikie (1921) i.:
It [drink] gaed about the wifie's heart And she began to spew.
Ags. 1890  A. N. Simpson Muirside Memories vii.:
Try the cheese, it's real guid, and the carvie bannocks are a treat tae a body's hert.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 156:
If the sufferer further complained of having “lost dir stamack” they were supposed to be afflicted with the “heart-wear.” This disease assumed two forms, viz. the aaber and the feckless. In the former the heart was understood to be too big, and there was a voracious appetite without doing the body any good. In the latter — or feckless form — the heart was supposed to be wasting away under some trowie influence, and there was no desire for food.
Cai. 1902  E.D.D.:
Hid widna lie on his hert, it made him vomit.
Abd. 1929 1 :
The hert fins the bit an' ye look as bricht as a new preen, i.e. you are fortified, invigorated after a meal.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 57:
Noo, Lowrie, doo's no gyaan athoot da door apo de fastin hert.
Cai. 1957  :
A taste for a wersh hert — said of something tasty, appetising.

Phrs.: (1) my (your, etc.) hertie's growin!, said of a child with an attack of hiccup (Abd.30, Ags. 1957). Cf. also B. 12., below; (2) neist (next) the hert, on an empty stomach, fasting. Now obs. or dial. in Eng.; (3) the heart gaes (gangs) wi' (something), (something) is agreeable to the taste, to one's liking (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags. 1957); (4) to gae (gang) wi' (tae) one's heart, to be appetising or palatable, to one's liking in any respect (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Dmf. 1957); (5) to gang against one's heart, to be unpalatable, distasteful, disliked (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Dmf. 1957); (6) to gar the hert rise, to cause nausea (Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 403; Ags., Fif., Rxb. 1957); (7) to taste one's hert, = (3) (n.Sc. 1957); (8) to turn one's hert (ower), to make one sick, e.g. from disgust or fright (Abd., Ags. 1957). (2) Sc. 1827  C. J. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. xiii.:
To send me word, next my heart this morning that she had got another lass-bairn.
Sc. a.1838  Jam. MSS. X. 129:
Ye maun tak that neist your heart as sune as ye waken.
(7) Bch. 1944  C. Gavin Mt. of Light iii. i.:
Now that's a pie will taste oor herts.
Mry. 1954  Bulletin (2 Feb.) 4:
We have been putting oats through the hammer mill and the resulting mash “tastes their hearts” [of sheep], as we say in Morayshire.

3. Kindly feeling, cordiality. Rare and arch. Sc. 1827  Scott Journal (7 March):
I must say, too, there was a heart — a kindly feeling prevailed over the party.

4. In pl.: wood sorrel, Oxalis acetosella. Also in n.Eng. dial. Bwk. 1853  G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 50:
Oxalis Acetosella. Wood Sorrel . . . Hearts, from the shape of the leaflet.

5. The central core of sheaves in a corn rick. Gen.Sc. Cf. v., 5. Also attrib. in comb. heart-gang, the inner row next the hert. Cf. Gang, n., 6. (2). wm.Sc. 1773  Sc. Farmer I. 592:
This is done by filling the heart well, and thereby sloping the outer sheaves, so as to drain off the wetness readily.
Sc. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 392:
[He] continues to lay alternately outside gangs, heart-gangs, and heartings, always carefully preserving a considerable central elevation, by which all the butts in the whole composition of the rick have an obliquity outwards and downwards.
Abd. 1915  H. Beaton Benachie 121:
Knee them [sheaves] weel doon, or full in the hert weel.

B. Combs., where hert is used attrib. in its orig. meanings, the heart, the centre, innermost or deepest part, and also fig. with an intensive force = through and through, extremely, deeply: 1. hert-alane, absolutely alone, lonely, desolate (Sh., Peb. 1957); 2. heart-axes, cardialgy, heartburn (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Cf. 38. See note to Aixies; 3. hert-brak, -brek. Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. heart-break. Used once by Burns as a v., to break the heart of; †4. heart-brunt, very fond, greatly enamoured (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Cf. obs. Eng. heart-burnt, jealous; †5. heart-crack, heart-break, sorrow; 6. heart crops, the wood-rush, Luzula pilosa [heart here however may represent hart, stag]; 7. Hert-dry, thoroughly dry (Ags. 1890; ne.Sc., Ags. 1957); 8. heart-eident, exceedingly industrious; 9. hert-feart, very frightened (Ayr. 1957); 10. heart-fever, a febrile condition, an illness causing a feeling of exhaustion. Used fig. in phr. to measure for the heart fever, to pass a tape round the chest of a person while performing certain rites in a charm (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.) [Cf. O.Sc. 1623 Lanark Presb. Rec. I.: she confesses hir charming of the heart-feawers.]. Comb. heart-fever-grass, the dandelion, used as an antidote for the complaint; 11. Heart-flichtered, with fluttering heart, palpitating; 12. heart-goin, touching the heart, moving; 13. heart-grown, over-stout, corpulent, pursy, short-winded (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 75, 1923 Watson W.-B.). Used in n.Eng. dial. for a rachitic condition with protruding chest [Cf. O.Sc. 1601 Elgin Rec. II. 96: the charming of bairns for the heart growing.]; 14. heart-hale, (1) of the body: organically sound (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Ags. Arg., Ayr., Dmf. 1957); (2) = Eng. heart-whole (Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 326; ne.Sc., Per., Peb., Ayr., Dmf., 1957); 15. heart-hankin, fig., making the heart a prisoner, captivating, touching the emotions, appealing; 16. heart-heezer, that which cheers or uplifts the heart, a source of encouragement; 17. heart-heezin, -heisin, encouraging, uplifting, heart-warming. See Heeze, v., 1.; 18. hert-hol, the very centre or heart. See Hole, 7. (14); ¶19. heart-hove, uttered, lit. “heaved” from the heart; 20. heart-hunger, a ravenous desire for food (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1957). Hence ppl.adj. heart-hungered, also heart-hungry, ravenously hungry, filled with longing (Per. 1957); 21. hertkake, heart disease (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1957). For the second element ? cf. Caik; 22. hert-kittlin, uplifting, stimulating, heart-warming. See Kittle, v.1, 2.; 23. he(a)rt lazy, exceptionally lazy, bone-lazy, naturally indolent (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 51). Gen.Sc.; 24. hert loaf, a French loaf, so called from its heart-shaped slice (Kcb., Dmf. 1957). See s.v. French; 25. hert maegins, the very heart, the dead (of night). See Megin; 26. hairtsab, a sob from the heart (Per., Ayr. 1957). Hence heart-sabbed, mournful, as if sobbed from the heart; 27. hert-sair, hehrt-sehr (Gregor), (1) n., a great vexation, constant grief (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Ayr.4 1928; Bnff., Ags., Per., wm.Sc., Dmf., Uls. 1957). Rare or obsol. in Eng.; (2) adj., = Eng. heartsore. Gen.Sc.; 28. hert-sairin, deserts, found only in phr. to get one's hert-sairin, to get what one thoroughly deserves (Abd.4 1932; ne.Sc., Ags. 1957). See Sair, v.; 29. heart's good, in phr. to do one heart's good, to do one's heart good (Ags. 1957); ¶30. heart's gree, delight. See Gree, n.3; 31. hert-shot, n., a loud burst of laughter (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1957), a loud sneeze. Orig. appar. an exclamation by a person hearing such a sound to express how startled he was (Ib.); 32. hert-sorry, deeply grieved. Gen.Sc. 33. hert-stawed, thoroughly surfeited (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.); 34. hert-stoun(d), -stoon, n., a pain at the heart, lit. and fig. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Vbl.n. hairt-stoundin. See Stound; ¶35. hairt-thrang, crowded with emotional experience, exciting, exhilarating; 36. heart-warm, deeply affectionate, sincerely warm, cordial (Sh. 1957); 37. heart-welcome, a welcome from the heart, a warm welcome; 38. heart-worm, = 2. (Mearns 1825 Jam.). 1. Abd. 1893  G. Macdonald Songs 36:
He heard thee lauch far oot i' the bay, But hert-alane gaed he.
wm.Sc. 1947  H. Reid Soiree Crackers 40:
He stood, hert-alane, 'mang the graves and the shilloch.
3. Ayr. 1792  Burns What can a young Lassie do iv.:
I'll cross him, an' wrack him Until I heartbreak him.
5. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 81:
Sad is the heart-crack, ye to us hae geen, An' dowie for your cause, my hap has been.
6. Rxb. 1889  Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club 473:
Liddesdale and Kidland coincide in naming Luzula pilosa, Heart or Hart-crops.
8. Dmb. 1868  J. Salmon Gowodean 31:
With hands, heart-eident, labourin' late and air.
9. Uls. 1879  W. G. Lyttle Paddy McQuillan 41:
I wuz heart-feared o' my ma, fur she haes a terble bad tongue.
10. Don. 1883  W. G. Black Folk-Medicine 114:
She next hands the patient nine leaves of “heart-fever grass,” or dandelion.
Don. 1886  Folk-Lore Jnl. IV. 256:
In Donegal women have what they call “heart-fever,” or a sort of “alloverness.”
11. e.Lth. a.1801  R. Gall Poems (1819) 128:
I fell on his bosom, heart-flichtered an' fain, An' sighed out, “O Johnnie, I'll aye be your ain!”
12. Sc. 1837  Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 54:
Weel, now, that is what I ca' a very bonny story, and a very heart-goin' story.
15. Per. 1881  R. Ford Hum. Sc. Readings 84:
The preacher may wowf as he'd wauken the dead, But ne'er an e'e lifts aff his heart-hankin' maid.
16. Sc. 1892  in H. Ainslie Pilgrimage Pref. xxxii.:
There were three brief “heart-heezers” that always recurred to me in moments of depression.
17. Per. 1835  R. Nicoll Poems 143:
Whiles a bicker o' swats — whiles a heart-heezin' gill.
Edb. 1864  A. Logan Musings 100:
The ingle, the heart-heezin ingle for me!
Gsw. 1888  A. G. Murdoch Readings (Ser. 2) 83:
We cast aff in fine style amid a lot of heart-heezin' hurrahs.
18. Sh. 1956  Shetland News (27 Nov.):
Ida hert-hol o da winter.
19. Per. 1893  R. Ford Harp Per. 319:
The feckfu' grip, an' the heart-hove sigh Gae token o' sanction enou'.
20. Sc. 1897  L. Keith Bonnie Lady xiv.:
He never lets us go heart-hunger'd for a meal of love.
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
A'm fair heart-hungry; A could eat the deil an' sup his mother!
22. Ayr. a.1878  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 76:
The weel-worded win' ye hae baith let lowse on this memorable an' heart-kittlin' occasion.
23. Sc. 1927  D. Carswell Brother Scots 160:
Ye're hert lazy, that's whit ye are.
Rnf. 1935  L. Kerr Woman of Glenshiels i.:
“Well, get up,” she insisted. “I'm sick of dragging at you every morning. You're heart lazy.”
Abd. 1946  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 344:
She wis heirt-lazy, of coorse. I'd aye maist o' the work tae dae masel'.
25. Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 46:
Ye may tink yoursel lucky 'at hit happen'd no apo da hert maegins o' da night wi da kye i da byre.
26. Gsw. 1872  J. Young Lochlomond 78:
Ah! 'tis the heart-sabbed coronach, Owre some departed chieftain's bier.
Lnk. 1923  G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 22:
See the mither bends wi' a hairtsab o' content.
27. (1) Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 76:
It's a hehrt-sehr he winna seen cour it's sin's gain' the black gett.
Per. 1903  H. MacGregor Souter's Lamp 107:
In more ways than one, they had made themselves a heartsore to decent, Kirk-going folk.
(2) Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 76:
A wiz jist hehrt-sair fin a got the news o' sic ill-deean.
Ayr. a.1878  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 325:
Nights lain dementit Hairt sair for thee.
Dmf. 1910  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 39:
I wipet his cheek wi' my pocket napkin as I wad hae dune to a hert-sair bairn.
Abd. 1928  J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 27:
O hert sair sicht Tae cadge a toun!
29. Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. vii.:
It's done me muckle heart's good.
30. Sc.(E) 1871  P. H. Waddell Psalms i. 2:
The law o' the Lord is his hail heart's-gree.
31. Sh. 1892  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 244:
He . . . sent me gröfflins apo my face i' da gutter, an' den Sizzie got inta a hert-shot o' lauchin' at me.
Sh. 1908  Old-Lore Misc. I. vii. 273:
Thus a certain minnie was reputed to “keen what da very soond o a hert-shot carried.”
32. Edb. 1876  J. Smith Archie and Bess 62:
She's sorry for't noo — heart sorry for't.
33. Abd. 1868  W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 85:
I'm heart-stawed wi' the dinsome town.
34. Sc. 1831  S. Ferrier Destiny II. 370:
Just a heart-stound, my leddy, that's past and awa'.
Abd. 1917  D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 85:
Na, na, it was a' needit — ilka stab, ilka sweat-drap, ilka hert-stoun! . . . The frail bit clay that hoosed His spirit had to be a' used up for the savin' o' the warl'.
Dmf. 1917  J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 52:
When I saw them thegither for the first time, I — I got a he'rt-stoun' sic as I'll no forget.
Lnk. 1919  G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 72:
The chackit plaid hairtstoundin's made, I spakna, for my een were weet.
Abd. 1923  R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert xii.:
The thocht aboot her fader, . . . began tae deiden the hert-stoons some.
35. Lnk. 1919  G. Rae Clyde & Tweed 69:
But I wistna then, for a laddie's road Is ower hairt-thrang for lang thochts o' God.
36. Ayr. 1786  Burns The Farewell:
Adieu! a heart-warm, fond adieu! Dear brothers of the mystic tye!
Sc. 1834  M. Scott Cruise Midge (1863) 200:
A shout of heartwarm and heartfelt gratitude.
37. Per. 1901  I. Maclaren Young Barbarians 56:
He 'ill have a heart welcome, and . . . I'll answer to ye baith, father and mother, for yir laddie at the Day o' Judgment.

II. v. 1. To embolden, to hearten (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1957). Also with up (Ib.). Arch. in Eng. Sc. 1848  Fraser's Mag. XXXVIII. 315:
It was long before I was hearted to herd again in the woods by myself.

2. Ppl.adj. hertit, overwhelmed with emotion, ready for tears (Ayr. 1957).

3. To deprive of the power of respiration or sensation by a blow in the region of the heart, to wind (Sc. 1818 Sawers, hart; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Ayr. 1912  G. Cunningham Verse 30:
The callan was heartet and couldna get breath.

4. To sicken, nauseate (Dmf. 1957). Lth. 1885  J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 93:
Did ye really pit a thing like yon intil yer mooth? The sicht o't, na, the very thocht o't, fair hearts me yet.

5. To build up the inner sheaves of a cart-load or stack of corn (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Sometimes with up. Gen.Sc. Found gen. in vbl.n. heartin(g), the building up of the inner sheaves; the inner sheaves themselves. Gen.Sc. Cf. n. A. 5. Similarly, to pack small stones into the space between the outer faces of a dry-stane dyke (Gall. 1957 F. Rainsford-Hannay Dry Stone Walling 33). Sc. 1814  J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 391:
It is a matter of great importance to heart well, as by negligence in this respect a serious loss is often incurred.
Abd. 1835  Trans. Highl. Soc. 191:
The sheaves formed of the rakings are always . . . first dry for the stack. They are therefore properly built in the hearting, and can be readily distinguished for being so.
Gall. 1865  in F. Rainsford-Hannay Dry Stone Walling (1957) 35:
The double to have both sides brought up together, having the stones properly blocked, laid close together, well hearted and packed in the centre.
Abd. 1923  Swatches o' Hamespun 51:
He wis awfu' shootit 'at I cud pit up sic a weel-faurt ruck, an''at Aw hertit sae weel.
Abd. 1932  Abd. Press and Jnl. (17 Oct.):
The corners of his cart were not secured, and the “hearting” of the load was neglected.

[O.Sc. hert, ha(i)rt, n. and v. from 1375, to strike over the heart, from 1630.]

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