Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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JOT, v, n. Also jott. [dʒɔt]

I. v. 1. To write down hastily and briefly, to make a short note (of) (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Orig. Sc. but familiarised in Eng. in 19th c. by Scott and other Sc. writers. Gen. with down, but also with out. Sc. 1735  Ramsay Poems (1877) I. 259:
What will they have to crack about, Or jot into their journal?
Abd. 1746  Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 170:
Keep a lead pencil & pocket book to jot down mem: of what is observed.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Provost xxxv.:
The domestic effects of many of the things which I have herein jotted down.
Sc. 1827  Scott Journal (12 Feb.):
I have jotted down his evidence elsewhere.
Sc. 1835  T. T. Stoddart Sc. Angler 125:
We deem it sufficient merely to jot out rapidly the principal points of attraction to the angler.
Ags. 1857  “Inceptor” Tom of Wiseacre 14:
You can jot it down if you please.
Mry. 1883  F. Sutherland Sunny Memories 59:
But rhymin', uncle, 's simply rot, For ony calf can clink an' jot, Wi' half a lug.

Hence (1) jot-book, a rough note-book; (2) jotter, -ar, (a) one who takes rough notes (see 1827 quot. under (1)); (b) a note, memorandum, excerpt; (c) = (1), now esp. applied to a pupil's rough exercise book. Gen.Sc. Dim. jottery; (3) jotting, = (2) (b). (1) Sc. 1796  Session Papers, Scott v. Stewart (12 May) 5:
It was usual to put down a memorandum of them in two jot-books.
Sc. 1827  Blackwood's Mag. XXII. 451:
All the jottings that ever were jotted down on his jot-book, by the most inveterate jotter.
(2) (b) Cai. 1773  Session Papers, State of Process, Sinclair v. Sinclair 21:
He cannot be certain, as he has not the jotter of the sowing he made then of these lands, about him.
Abd. 1882  W. Forsyth Writings 19:
The Major took a strong protest, An' o' the minute claim't a jottar.
(c) Abd. 1854  Justiciary Reports (1855) 428:
Not book-keeping, only a jotter, only a memorandum; every one keeps a jotter as he likes.
Ags. 1870  A. Paul Incidents 116:
She invariably carried a muff, and in that muff was what she called her jottery, which consisted of a roll or scroll of paper about two feet long, and which contained a note of every case she had to speak of.
Sc. 1915  A. S. Neill Dominie's Log xii.:
Neatness of method and penmanship in copy-book and jotter.
Clc. 1925  Dollar Mag. (March) 48:
All books except exercise books and jotters are supplied by the school.
Arg. 1952  N. Mitchison Lobsters on the Agenda iii.:
“Give me a jotter, will you?” He took one out of the [schoolroom] cupboard and handed it over.
(3) Peb. 1733  C. B. Gunn Linton Church (1912) 130:
The jottings of his debursements ought to be sustained.
Sc. 1796  Session Papers, Scott v. Stewart (13 Oct.) 9:
Two books of jottings, which it was said contained a state of the money-transactions between the pursuer and Wood.
Sc. 1814  Scott Waverley lxxi.:
Tut, your honour! I'll mak a slight jotting the morn.
Sc. 1830  A. Hill Pract. Ch. Scot. 37:
The jottings, from which the minutes are made up.

2. To employ oneself with light work, to potter. Gen. with advs. aboot, aroon (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 92; ne.Sc. 1959). Bnff. 1893  G. G. Green Kidnappers xi.:
Robb Scott, who was jotting about the place.
Bnff. 1920  Banffshire Jnl. (14 Dec.):
The aul' man jots aroon wi' staff in han'.
Abd. 1922  Wkly. Free Press (28 Jan.) 3:
I can dee little in synauve bit sit aboot th' fire or jot aboot th' toon.

II. n. A job, an occasional piece of work, small task; light work of any description, esp. domestic work (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.). Gen. in pl., odd jobs, odds and ends (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 92; ne.Sc. 1959). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 46:
Poor Colen's honest wife, her leefu' lane: Nae jot intil her hand, but greeting sair.
Mry. 1820  J. Cock Hamespun Lays 122:
I fear she'll puirly mak a shift, Wi' jots o' wark o' ony thrift.
Abd. 1880  G. Webster Crim. Officer 49:
Till they cam' doon fae the Heilan's grown men they hed never wrocht a jot.
Abd. 1900  C. Murray Hamewith 80:
An' soon the day's last jot is past, Milk sey'd an' set.
Bnff. 1955  Banffshire Jnl. (12 April):
Short Saturday an' a' the lang jots! Gin we a' work, the jots'll get deen an' the hoose redd up for the Sabbath.

[Sc. usages of Eng. jot, the least particle of anything, the least letter or part of any writing, from Lat. iota, Gr. ιωτα, the letter i, the smallest in the alphabet.]

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"Jot v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Feb 2019 <>



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