Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LENTH, n., v. Also lainth (ne.Sc. 1791 Caled. Mercury (17 Sept.)); lent (I.Sc.); leingth (Per. 1732 W. Fraser Red Bk. Grandtully ii. 338); len(t)gh. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. length (Arg. 1701 Analecta Scot. (Maidment 1834) 115; Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xiv., Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 12; Sh. 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. 3; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai). For the form, which is due to assimilation, cf. P.L.D. § 79 and Strenth. Hence lenthie, lengthy, long (Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 108). [Gen.Sc. lɛnθ; s.Sc. lænθ; I.Sc. lɛnt]

I. n. 1. With a demonstrative, possess. adj. or n., Gen. in adv. phrs. the lenth of, my lenth, this lenth, etc. = as far as. (1 ) of distance (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 49; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Gall. 1700  Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 23:
It is reported Jean Dowglas cannot come this lenth, being near the time of child birth.
Mry. 1716  A. & H. Tayler 1715 (1936) 287:
To goe the length of Elgine to propose this.
Sc. 1746  Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) iii. 383:
They threew none overboard of them till they came the lenth of the point of Ardmurchan.
m.Lth. 1819  J. Thomson Poems 136:
Ye maun be thrang That ye could never spare As muckle time my length to gang.
Slk. 1835  Hogg Life of an Edinburgh Baillie (1874) 567:
When we came the length of the Dee, Argyle was at a stand, not having heard aught of Huntly's motions or strength.
Ags. 1891  Barrie Little Minister xxxiii.:
Mr Dishart never got the length of the pulpit.
Abd. 1924  J. Hunter MS. Diary (31 May):
Mr Merson was down forenoon and I went up his length with him.
Sh. 1930  Shet. Almanac 195:
If he sood ever come oot wir lent he s'all get a belly fu' o' burstin'.
Lnk. 1951  G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 46, 57:
“Ye canna walk mill length, Tammas,” said Willie … “We're takin' a big box the length o' Cormiston.”

(2) Of amount, extent, degree: as much as (to), to the amount or extent of. Also fig. Gen.Sc., also in Eng. dial. Phr. the length o one's tongue, the full volume of one's wrath or vituperation. Sc. 1700  Seasonable Precautions in Electing the Magistrates 8:
A good Accomptant who kept all his Accompts upon Nick-sticks, and was sure to Balance his Accompts with Profit, when they came the length of a Score of Ale.
Sc. 1702  T. Morer Acct. Scot. 44:
Yet it never amounted to the force (the Scots say the length) of a Constitution.
Ags. 1730  Arbroath T.C. Rec. MS. (28 May):
Above fifty bolls and not the Lentgh of seventy five bolls.
Mry. 1735  Lord Elchies' Letters (MacWilliam 1927) 215:
I wad have accquented yow or goan your lengh as I promist you … but that I have not your money.
Ags. 1824  Literary Olio (24 Jan.) 28:
Them that's born to a fardin' will never win the length o' a bawbee.
Abd. 1878  J. C. Hutchieson Village Voices 106:
But I micht manage tae contrive Tae gather in the len'th o' five.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 26:
Bit pleg on de dogs! gin his nose began no' tae rin afore they waur the lent' o' the second verse o' the psalm.
Abd. 1887  E. Bain Merchant Guilds 183:
Fortunately the “renewing” [of a portrait] did not go the length of any interference with the face.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 22:
A bit bairnie aucht days auld, an' it never gettin' even the lenth o' bein' doakit, lat aleen growin' up.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 154:
Has your mother brocht ye up woman length, an' you sae han'less?
Dmf. 1925  W. S. Lockhart Guidhearts 57:
A'm no blamin' the woman for giein' the chiel the length o' her tongue.
Cai. 1931  N. Gunn Morning Tide i. iii.:
He had got the length of washing his face.

2. Stature, height (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lth., Rnf., Uls. 1960). Sh. 1892  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 247:
Girzie wis a winderfil lent o' a woman.
Abd. 1959 27 :
He's a byordinar lenth o' a chiel, that.

3. Phrs. and Combs.: (1 ) at (the) lenth an lang, at de lang an' de lent, at last, in the end (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1960). See Lang, III. 1.; (2) breadth an lenth, adv., one's full length, flat on one's face, prone (Fif., m.Lth., Kcb., Dmf. 1960); (3) far a-lenth, far ahead, forward in progress (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1960). See Alenth; (4) for a(ny) or some lenth o time, for very long. Gen.Sc.; (5) lang lenth, the whole length, gen. in adv. phrs. (a) at lang lenth, at long last. Gen.Sc. See also Lang, I. 7. (1 ) and III. 1.; (b) for lang lenth, for a very long time, as long as possible (Sc. 1887 Jam.); (c) one's lang lenth, one's full length, prone (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Cai., ne. and em.Sc. 1960). Cf. Ger. langelang; (6) ta or til da or ane's lent, lengthwise, to one's full length (Sh. 1960); (7) to gae (gang) a bonnie ((aa) one's) length, to let oneself go, to follow one's inclinations or feelings as far as one can or dares, to “go the pace” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. s.v. gae). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc.; (8) to get (gie one) one's lent, to (cause to) fall flat on one's face (Sh. 1960); (9) up da lent, at length, at last. (1) ne.Sc. 1791  Caled. Mercury (17 Sept.):
At lainth an' lang I've thought a wie, an' syne hae writ'n A merry sang.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin v.:
At length an' lang a hole in her chackit apron claught hauds o' the temper-pin.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 53:
At de lang an' de lent' they wan up under de lee o' the craigs.
(2) Dmf. 1822  A. Cunningham Tales (1874) 304:
Ye'll fall belly-flaught, breadth and length, on the lily-white linen.
Dmf. 1956  :
Chrissie cam rinnin doon the steps an fell breedth an lenth on the cassy.
(3) Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxviii.:
Hairry Muggart gaed a hantle forder a-lenth nor ever I did.
Abd. 1890  Bon-Accord (4 Jan.) 20:
Afore I cud get farer alenth, says the voice, “All right, I'll be just now.”
(4) Sc. 1938  St. Andrews Cit. (26 March) 2:
He had not known Mr R — for any length of time.
(5) (a) Sc. 1897  Scots Mag. (Oct.) 371:
At lang-length comes my ain love Frae far atowre the sea.
Bnff. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 25:
Mairry a dochter o' the deil, an' she'll bring ye te hell at lang len'th.
(c) Bwk. 1831  Border Mag. 9:
What sud I dae but fa' a' my lang length out owre a tub.
(6) Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 10:
It lies on da flür for a meenit an smoks, Dan spoots ta da lent laek da jeck-i-da-box.
Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 120:
Da first 'at we kent wis he lyin till his lent i' da gutter.
(7) Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xv.:
Juist when they were gaen their lengths aboot it, in comes Saunders Broganawl.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
Hei's gaun a bonnie length.
(8) Sh. 1898  Shetland News (17 Dec.):
I gae him his lent apo' da tattie müld.
  Ib. (1 April 1899):
A'm gotten me lent at da neuk o' da hoos.
(9) Sh. 1933  J. Nicolson Hentilagets 20:
An it was her 'at sent dem on der coorse, An up da lent dey caesed fae aa der waanders.

II. v. To take long strides, to cover a distance quickly (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Sh. 1894  Williamson MSS. (26 Jan.):
Yon's shuirly Johnnie Andrew at's awa lentin doun da road.

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"Lenth n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Mar 2019 <>



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