Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SCOUT, v.1, n.1 Also scoot, skoot, skute (Sc. 1880 Jam.); scootch (see n., 5.). [skut, Fif., Uls. skʌut]

I. v. 1. tr. To cause water or other liquid or the like to spout or gush out in spurts, to eject liquid forcibly, to squirt (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1904 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc.; to urinate (Abd. 1969); rarely: to squirt or bespatter (someone or something) with liquid. Comb. scootmagroo, a disgusting, objectionable person. Cf. spoutmagruel s.v. Spout, v. and II. 5. below. Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 155:
Till, bush! — he gae a desperate spue, An' gut an' ga' he scoutit.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 102:
Like's a shooer o' cauld water had been skootit aboot him.
wm.Sc. 1903  S. Macplowter Mrs. McCraw 69:
The scootmagroo that he is tae chairge ye wi' stealin', and ye never clappit een on hes bress face afore!
Lnk. 1920  G. A. H. Douglas Further Adventures Rab Hewison 69:
I scooted watter into Johnny Struthers' e'en as he was passing oor yett.
Edb. 1926  A. Muir Blue Bonnet x.:
You scooted peas at tram-conductors.

2. To void thin excrement, to suffer from diarrhoea (Sc. 1825 Jam.); of birds (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1969). Hence scoutins, birds' excreta (Sh. 1969). Sh. 1968  New Shetlander No. 84. 24:
Juist try scootin on der head.

3. intr., of liquid: to spurt or squirt out, to come out in gushes or spurts (Cld. 1882 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 263; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Rnf. c.1830  W. M'Oscar Poet. Wks. (1878) 81:
The waterworks, rusty for want o' a fire, Gat a scouring that scooted clean owre the schule spire.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 100:
The clorty water skootin' oot o' Sandy's moo an' nose.
Per. 1960  :
The water's scoutin out a hole in the pail.

Hence scooter, (1) a squirt, syringe (Cld., Gall. 1882 Jam.; Ayr. 1910; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; ne. and m.Sc., Rxb. 1969); (2) a tube for blowing peas, etc., through, a pea-shooter, freq. made from the dried stem of an umbelliferous plant like hemlock (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; n., m. and s.Sc. 1969), also haw-scooter, pea-(Ib.); in pl.: the plant hemlock itself (Ags., Wgt. 1969); (3) a scattering of coins to be scrambled for by children at a wedding (Kcb., Slk. 1921 T.S.D.C.; †Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); scoot-gun, a squirt, syringe (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 422; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Per., Lth. 1969); scootie-hoy-boy, a street-water-cart attendant of Dundee Corporation, said to be so called from their habit of shouting “hoy-boys” as a warning to boys against meddling with the cart. Per. 1904  R. Ford Hum. Sc. Stories (Ser. 2) 42:
A wee angel sittin' lauchin' in the doon corner wi' a scoot-gun in its hand.
Ags. 1949  People's Journal (25 June):
Rain delivered in bright yellow waggons by courtesy of Dundee Cleansing Department. These waggons are “scooty-hoy-boys” to the youngsters of the city.

II. n. 1. A sudden gush or flow of water from a spout, roof-pipe, etc. (Cld. 1882 Jam.; ne. and m.Sc. 1969), the pipe from which it comes (Id.); a small amount of any liquid (Lnk., sm.Sc. 1969), esp. of some wishy-washy sort, thin whisky, the last runnings of the still; the rush of the tide over a rock (Cai. 1969). Abd. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 133:
Now there's naething gilps bit scout In ilka bicker.
Kcb. 1930  :
Gie me juist a wee scout mair tea.

2. A squirt, syringe, esp. used by boys as a water gun or pistol (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1904 E.D.D.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Per., Lth. 1964); a pea-shooter, esp. one made from the hollowed stem of a plant (Uls. 1930; Fif., w.Lth., Ayr. 1969). Comb. scout-mou(th), a mouth shaped like a scout, a pursed-up or protruding mouth; hence adj. scout-mouthed, having a pursed-up mouth (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). Peb. 1817  R. D. C. Brown Comic Poems 62:
Bean, wi' her scout-mouth, gi'es gaffaws.
Ags. 1868  A. Dawson Rambling Recoll. 24:
“Pray, what is a scout?” “It's a stick and a hole in't,” responded this aspirant for classical knowledge, meaning thereby a wooden “squirt”, an instrument which the boys in these days manufactured from a cutting of bourtree, from which the pith was easily expelled.
Uls. 1880  Patterson Gl.:
Children also make ‘scouts' i.e. squirts. of the stem of this plant [hedge parsley].
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr. Duguid 259:
Stottin' up the gate like a haw from a callan's gulshock scoot.
Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Verses 30:
Oor whustles were the lang boss scoots.
Sc. 1904  E.D.D.:
Mak' a scout-mou' an' whistle.

3. Aerated water, lemonade, ginger beer, or the like (Ags. 1969). Ags. 1963  D. Phillips Wiselike Ned 25:
Put the bo'les o' scoo' ower therr.

4. An ejection of thin watery excrement, specif. from a bird; diarrhoea (Cai., Ayr., Uls. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., m.Sc., Slk. 1969). Sc. 1889  H. Stephens Bk. Farm III. 60:
“Scout” is a fatal form of diarrhoea amongst lambs about two or three days old.
Sh. 1956  New Shetlander No. 43. 23:
The Morning Star, her deck rotten, and white with maas' skoots.

5. Fig. a mean and utterly contemptible person, a scamp, a conceited boaster, a “squirt” (Bwk. 1825 Jam., a windy scoot; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd., Kcd., Ags., Bwk., Kcb. 1969); as applied to a woman: a trull, a loose or shameless female (Mry., Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1934, scootch), sometimes, jocularly, to a small girl (Kcd. 1969). Adj. scootie, -y, low, worthless in character, scruffy (Cld. 1882 Jam.; Per., wm.Sc. 1969), also scoutie-malourie, id. (Rxb. 1969). Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xv.:
I'll hae the old craighling scoot afore the Lords.
Ags. 1869  R. Leighton Scotch Words 18:
The learned, pious, yet unworthy skoot. Neglects his sacred trust to catch a troot!
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Letters (1899) II. 17:
Strange how liable we are to brain fag in this scooty family!
Ayr. 1890  J. Service Notandums 113:
The bardy scoot was never born that could glamour me twice.
Abd. 1909  G. Greig Mains's Wooin' 9:
They're a pair o' orra scoots, and I'll wager they're aifter some ill.
Ork. 1931  J. Leask Peculiar People 129:
'E narlins drooned 'er i' da graith tub, da illhivered, dirty ald scoot 'at 'e waas.

[Of Scand. orig., prob. from unmutated form *skúta of O.N. skjóta, to shoot, dart, and poss. of the same orig. as slang Eng. scoot, to run, rush away. II. 5. may be a different word. Cf. Mid.Eng. scout, a contemptible person.]

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"Scout v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



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