Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

KENT, n., v. [kɛnt]

1. A long, iron-shod pole used in rough country to help in surmounting obstacles and leaping ditches, or as a punt-pole for propelling a boat in a stream; a cudgel (Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 150; Uls.2 1929); a staff; 2. fig., a tall person (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 293). Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb.: kent-lenth, a distance equal to the length of a kent. Edb. 1720  A. Pennecuik Helicon 65:
A Kent, (To help her thro' the Bogs and the Bent).
Slk. 1723  Caled. Mercury (12 Dec.):
Boleside Boat . . . was cast away within the Kent-lenth of the Land at the other side . . . The Rope by which the Men . . . were pulling the Boat, the Oar-pinns and Kent, all broke much at the same time.
Sc. 1728  Ramsay Works (S.T.S.) II. 153:
Hab got a Kent, — by the Hallan . . . The Priest approach'd . . . Then, to escape the Cudgel, ran.
Per. 1774  Gentleman and Lady's Weekly Mag. (8 June) 234:
His plaid he fasten'd, and he seiz'd his kent.
Dmf. 1810  R. H. Cromek Remains 96:
My Kimmer is auld, My Kimmer is bent And I'm gaun louting owre a kent.
Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf Intro.:
Davie . . . dashed them to pieces with his kent.
Slk. 1829  Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) ii.:
Dare ye heave your pikit kent at me?
Lnk. 1865  J. Hamilton Poems 192:
He had his “kent” with him . . . a long ashen staff or rather pole, generally about five feet in length, turned in a lathe, with a flat top, and strongly and sharply shod with iron for about four or five inches, the bearer carrying it by the middle when walking. Its special uses were to enable the bearer to leap over ditches, bog-holes, and patches of deep mud.
Gall. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxv.:
This “kent” . . . was more than two yards long and prodigiously stout, with a pike at the further end, and a “clickie” handle, made closer at the lower part for catching sheep by the leg.
Gall. 1935  Sc. Country (Scott-Moncrieff) 37:
Similarly the hill-shepherds have a word “kent” for the long stick they carry, something like the Highland “cromag”.

II. v. 1. To propel a boat by means of a kent; to convey in a boat or punt. Sc. 1820  Scott Abbot xxxv.:
They will row very slow . . . or kent where depth permits, to avoid noise.
Rxb. 1875  Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 35:
Such a one had been kented across the Tweed.

2. To beat with a kent, to cudgel. Sc. 1849  A. Bell Melodies 105:
He kentit weell his saucy wife, For toomm' out his Cogie.

[O.Sc. has kent, a staff, from 1606. Cf. Eng. dial. quant, a punting-pole, phs. ad. Lat. contus, a barge-pole, punting-pole.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Kent n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Dec 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down