Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
PUIRTITH, n. Also pourtith (Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs (1881) 1), poortith; peertith (ne.Sc.); puirta, poortha, pörta, purta. [′pørtəθ]
1. Poverty, destitution, want (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc., obs. exc. in liter. usage.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 95:
Eild and Poortha is a sore Burthen on one Back. Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1777) 18:
Bear wealth weil, poortith will bear it sell. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 137:
Sair wark and poortith douna weel be join'd. Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 103:
They're no sae wretched's ane wad think; Tho' constantly on poortith's brink. Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxxv.:
I ken weel, by sad experience, that poortith takes away pith. Slk. 1827 Hogg Tales (1874) 352:
Sair pressed down wi' poortith although she be. Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mountain Strains 49:
Mony a time they shipwreck'd me On purta's coast. Kcb. 1882 G. Murray Poems 53:
Jeanie was a bauld wee wife Wi' poortith waged successfu' strife. Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow i.:
A hantle better puirtith, however griping, than wickedness rampant. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 143:
In sorrow may dey live an' dee, In pörta may dey pine. e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 58:
Poortith is the mither o' a' airts! Abd. 1925 R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 15:
A sang we'll sing o' peertith caul', Fan we cam throwe the hard.
2. Weakness or lack of condition in an animal, esp. due to scarcity of food, a poor physical state.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 20:
Their ae beast cow I saw them lately flea, That for plain poortith lairt intill a bogg. Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
As I cam trow shü [a ewe] made upon her ta rise, an' . . . shü hed twise ta tak till her afore shü wan till her feet, an' dat wi' solid purta.
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"Puirtith n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Jan 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/puirtith>
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