Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MAIST, adj., adv.1, n. Also maest (Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck III. xi.), meast (Lnk. 1707 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 7). Gen.Sc. forms and usages of Eng. most (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 130, Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 153; Ayr. 1788 Burns There's a youth iv.). See P.L.D. § 32. [mest, mɛst]

I. adj. Chief, principal; most powerful (Ayr., Rxb. 1962). Adv. maist han, in greatest measure, almost entirely, nearly (Sh., ne.Sc. 1962). Phr. the maist penny, see 1887 quot. Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 122:
But can ye now of her nae cuttance gie Or where about her maist resort may be?
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 4:
But the maist thing that troubled the bodies, I think was their hungry wames.
Abd. 1868  G. Macdonald R. Falconer i. xii.:
Weel, ye see, I hae been thinkin' o' a plan for maist han' toomin' hell.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 27:
The maist mester-fiend o' a storm o' wind . . . blew ower a' the brakan' isles o' Orkney.
Sc. 1887  Jam.:
The maist penny, the most money, highest price, best advantage. To sell an article for the maist penny is to sell it at its highest market price, or to the highest bidder. To mak the maist penny of an article was also used in the same sense.

II. adv. 1. Used redundantly with superlatives (Abd. 1903 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Slk. 1962). Sc. 1814  Scott Waverley xlii.:
The Baron shall return . . . and unite Killancureit's lairdship with his own . . . “To be sure, they lie maist ewest”, said the Bailie . . . “and should naturally fa' under the same factory”.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail viii.:
Will it no be the most hardest thing that ever was seen in the world for Charlie no to inherit the breadth o' the blade of a cabaudge o' a' his father's matrimonial conquest?
ne.Sc. 1929  J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse 26:
That man gied the maist po'orfulest, the ablest and maist weel ordered prayer a iver hard.

2. Mostly, mainly, for the most part (Sh., Bnff., Ags. 1962). Obs. in Eng. Comb. maist pairtly, id. Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxxv.:
Peter Walker the packman, that your honour, I dare say, kens, for he uses maist partly the westland of Scotland.
Edb. 1826  M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 157:
Sae after supper they fell to the strong yill, and to crackin, and the miller took his share in't, but nane o' his family said ony thing maist.
Abd. 1879  G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xxxiii.:
Though the hoose be fun't upo' a rock. it's maist biggit o' fells.
Lth. 1892  J. Lumsden Sheep-head 72:
Nae crummie noo, As in past time was seen maist!

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"Maist adj., adv.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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