Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SIT, v., n. Also sitt, ¶cit; set-. Sc. forms and usages:
I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. sit, neg. -na. Pa.t., strong sat, neg. -na, ‡sate, sut, sud before following d-; weak sittet (Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings I. 31). Pa.p., strong sitten, -in (I., n. and em.Sc., now only dial. in Eng.), sutten, -in (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 208; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; ne., w., sm., s.Sc. 1970); suitten; sat(te)n, reduced form sat; weak †sit.
Sc. 1721 R. Wodrow Sufferings iii. ii. s. 6:
He had sit down in a Fur among his own Corn. Sc. 1764 Boswell Grand Tour, Germany, etc. (Pottle 1953) 88:
To compose my spirit, I had sitten up all night. Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 81:
But whare an hour I suttin hae Carousin' owr the usquibae. Dmf. 1808 R. H. Cromek Remains 298:
We hed nae sutten lang aneath the haw-buss. Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel iii.:
The king, that sits na mickle better than a draff-pock on the saddle. Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 95:
Sat'n in a chair on account o' his gout. Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xx.:
Ou na, we satna nae time. Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 76:
Suttin' doun, woo'd an' mairried an' a'! Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9:
A sud-doon on ov a furm oot-bye. Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 53:
The clocker maun hae sutten awfu' constant.
B. Usages. As in Eng., there has been some confusion with those of Set, v., q.v.
1. In pa.p., ppl.adj. sitten: (1) conjugated with the verb to be (I., n.Sc., Per. 1970); (2) of tea that has been too long making: stewed, strong or bitter to the taste (n.Sc. 1970); (3) of an egg, on which a bird has been long sitting: with a developed chick inside, near to hatching (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I. and n.Sc., em.Sc.(b), Lnk., Rxb. 1970). Cf. Deep-sitten; (4) fig., baffled, thwarted in any purpose, at a stand, non-plussed (Kcd. 1850).
(1) Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 112:
I'm sitten down here, after seven and forty miles ridin'. Sc. c.1800 Cockburn Memorials (1856) 125:
Joost when they were sitten doon to their denner! Sc. c.1925 R. Thomas Sandie McWhustler's Waddin' 19:
I'm rale couthily sitten doon intill't. (3) Sh. 1949 P. Jamieson Letters 222:
They took the eggs home, but dey were sittin.
2. In vbl.n. sittin(g), ¶sitten: (1) used specif. of a sitting or watch beside a corpse before burial (see quots.). Also with up (Kcb. 1970); (2) a situation, job, berth. Cf. (3) (ii); (3) in combs. (i) sitting-board, a board for sitting on, esp. as part of a church pew; (ii) sittin-doon, (a) a settlement in marriage (Cai., m.Sc. 1970), a home, quarters. See Doon-sit, 1. for commoner Sc. forms; (b) a bankruptcy (Per. 1970). See 4. (2) (viii) and Doon-sit, 2. (3) (b); (4) sitting-drink, a drink at which one sits, i.e. taken leisurely and usu. in company, as opposed to a standing-drink.
(1) s.Sc. c.1830 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 56:
Watching the dead is called a Latewake if it is attendance in the evening; if while the sun shines, a Sitting. Bwk. 1905 R. Gibson Old Bwk. Town 240:
Up till comparatively recent times it was customary for working people, when a member of the family died, to “sit up” each night with the corpse till the day of the funeral. The accommodation was too limited to allow of a separate room for the corpse, and it was felt to be “eerie” to sleep at night in the same room. This “sitting up” (the common name given to the custom) was not a “lykewake” (watching the dead) considered as a ceremony in relation to a dead body, but it was due to the existence of the feeling and the circumstances above stated. (2) Mry. 1865 W. H. Tester Poems 142:
Get up a subscription, An' tak them a public — ne'er min' tho' its sma, It's a gey canny sittin'. (3) (i) e.Lth. c.1696 P. H. Waddell Old Kirk Chron. (1893) 161:
A good many desks were converted into pews by adding to them a' sitting-board and a resting-board'. (ii) (a) Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings III. 106:
A kind sitten-doon for the remainder o' my stay. Gsw. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 18:
Bella's got a guid sittin' doon. (b) Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 124:
Sandy Mutch's ‘sittin' doon' had been attended with less disastrous effects. (4) Abd. 1898 J. M. Cobban Angel xvi.:
To take a sitting drink with the Gordon gentlemen.
3. Agent n. sitter, (1) one who regularly occupies a seat in a church, a seat-holder, an attender at the services of a particular church; (2) a blow, rebuff, etc. severe enough to cause one to sit down, lit. and fig.
Edb. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (12 April) 1:
Accommodation for several sitters in the New Church, North Leith. Ags. 1840 G. Webster Ingliston xxvii.:
“She's no a reg'lar sitter here,” said the beadle. Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 152:
I was a young sitter in the congregation. (2) Sh. 1900 Shetland News (16 Nov.):
Feth, dey're gotten a sitter, onywye.
4. In combs. with preps. and advs.: (1) sit below, to attend the church of (a certain minister), to listen to the preaching of (Per., Kcb. 1970). Cf. Eng. sit under, id.; (2) sit doun, (i) as in Eng. As a n., a chance or spell of being seated, a seat. Gen.Sc.; (ii) to settle oneself in a place or situation, make one's home, take up one's abode. Now chiefly Sc. and U.S.; as a n., a home, settlement, esp. one gained by marriage, a berth or situation (Ags., Per. 1970). See also Doon-sit; (iii) of a court, school, meeting, etc.: to commence its sitting or business, to sit; (iv) in curling, of a stone: to slow up, to come to rest short of its mark; (v) of wind, a storm, high sea, etc.: to become calm, to moderate (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 155); (vi) of a spell of weather: to settle in, to persist unchanged; (vii) of a cold: to become deep-seated or chronic (Sc. 1825 Jam.; em.Sc., Rxb. 1970). Gen. in ppl.adj. sitten- or sittin(g)-doun, persistent, chronic, inveterate, also transf.; (viii) to become bankrupt (Abd., Slg. 1970); (3) sit in (tae), to draw one's chair in (towards a table or fire), to take one's seat at a meal. Gen.Sc. See Intae, 2.; (4) sit on, (i) to remain in a place or house, to continue in occupation, gen. said of a tenant at the end of a lease, to stay on (Sh., ne.Sc., Per. 1970); (ii) to stunt, dwarf, check the growth of, in ppl.adj. sutten on, stunted, dwarfed (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Kcb., Rxb. 1970). Cf. v., 8. (1); (iii) of food in cooking: to be burned or singed, to stick to the pot, gen. in ppl.adj. sitten on, singed in the pan (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.; Per., Lnk., Gall., Rxb. 1970). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (5) sit out, (i) as in Eng., to sit apart and take no part in a dance, etc. Hence jocularly, sit-ooterie, an alcove, recess or the like where one may do this (ne.Sc. 1970); (ii) sit out anunder, = (7); (6) sit to, -tee, (i) as adv. or prep., = (3). Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng.; (ii) = (4) (iii) (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (iii) to set in for, of weather; (7) sit up itil, used in imper. imprecatively = Devil take . . .! See Set, 14. (17) (viii).
(1) Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (18 55) I. 42:
A worthy and able minister of our church . . . having then sat below him only for some dozen years or so. (2) (i) Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 77:
We were glad to get a sit-down out-bye. (ii) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
We little thought to hae sitten doun wi' the like o' my auld Davie Howden. Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxiv.:
I had sat down a tenant, and I was now the landlord. Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 139:
I did not think it richt that he sud be latt'n sit doon amon's as a neebour onbeen enterteen't. Abd. 1887 R. S. Robertson On Bogie's Banks 106:
The fine plenished hoose, and the scouthie yard tee; It's a bonnie sit doon. Abd. 1929 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2:
Awite for sic a blate bit chiel He got a braw sit-doon. (iii) Sc. 1712 S.C. Misc. (1841) 204, 220:
The House of Lords sits down twelve dayes before the Commons. . . . If once the Assembly were sitten doun. Rxb. 1713 J. Wilson Hawick (1858) 50:
The two schools were to sit doun tomorrow. Fif. 1765 Caled. Mercury (2 Oct.):
The United Colleges of St. Salvator and St. Leonard in St Andrews, is to sit down on the 21st of October next. Sc. 1828 Scott Journal (1894) II. 111:
This day the Court sat down. (iv) Kcb. 1966 :
Soop, boys, soop, he's sittin doun quick. (v) Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (10 April) 418:
The wund had sutten doon at the derkenin', an' it was turned a fine caum nicht. (vi) Slk. 1818 Hogg Tales (1874) 70:
The rime had sitten down. Sc. 1880 Jam.:
Is the frost to sit down, think ye? (vii) Sc. 1824 S. Ferrier Inheritance I. iv.:
It was first a sutten doon cauld, an' noo he's fa'n in till a sort o' a dwinin like. Sc. 1827 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) X. 245:
What the Scots call a sitten doun cauld is apt to be troublesome. Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 233:
There's naething waur than a sittin' doon cauld. Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 33:
To get some physic frae the doctor for his faither, who had a sittin'-doon cauld. Fif. 1952 R. Holman Behind the Diamond Panes 106:
She was aye feared o' thae sittin' doon caulds as it often led to pneumonia. Rxb. 1952 W. Landles Gooseberry Fair 19:
His is nae mealy-mooth, He's a sutten-doon drooth. (viii) Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 121:
Fa wud a' thocht o' Sawney Mutch sittin' doon noo! Bnff. 1891 W. Grant Anecdotes 159:
I am thinking tae sit down. I mean I'm thinkin' tae brak. (3) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie x.:
The Jude wife bade Andrew sit in and partake. Bnff. 1837 J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 52:
Noo, sirs, sit in aboot an' say awa an' tak a bit crumb bread an' cheese. Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 8:
Oh! mem, ye're unco far ootby; Jist sit into the fire. Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls viii.:
“Sit into the fire, Sam'l,” said the farmer, not, however, making way for him. Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road ii.:
Alan, sit ye in, and pass the bannocks. Fif. 1931 Glasgow Herald (8 Aug.):
Ye maun hae a lang spoon gin ye sit-in tae sup wi' the deil. Arg. 1946 1 :
The nicht's cowld: sit intae the fire an warm yersel. (4) (i) Cld. 1882 Jam.:
Are ye to sit on the year?, i.e. are you to remain for another year. Fif. 1893 L. Keith Lizbeth II. ii.:
Isabella was fidgeting for fear I should be sitting on till the bell rang. (iii) Sc. 1826 M. Dods Manual II. 79:
Taking care that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot — (Scottice, “sit on”). Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 21:
Quick an stur thae taatih-brui, or thay'll be aa suitten-on. (5) (i) Sc. 1935 B. Marshall Uncertain Glory i.:
The Haggis Club and its ‘sit-ooteries'. (ii) Sh. 1970 :
Deil sit out anunder him! (6) (i) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 264:
Nothing makes a man sooner old like, than sitting ill to his Meat. Spoken when People sit inconveniently at Table. To sit ill to ones Meat in Scotch, is to be ill kept. Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (May) 633:
Sit to your sowens wiselike, ye great slabber. Abd. 1966 :
Come awa and sit tee and help yersels. (ii) Sc. 1882 Jam.:
Dinna lat the kail sit to. (iii) Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister x.:
“It's sitting to snaw,” Waster Sunny said. (7) Sh. 1952 Robertson and Graham Sh. Grammar 31:
So, sit up itil him an his onkerry.
5. In combs. forming nouns and adjs.: (1) sit(t)-box, the stuffing-box of a water-pump; (2) sitfast, (i) n. (a) a hardened or indurated scab in a sore or abscess which prevents it from healing (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Cf. Eng. sitfast, a callosity on a horse's back; (b) a stone deeply and firmly embedded in the earth (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., Wgt. 1970). See adj. below; (c) in reference to plants with roots clinging tenaciously to the soil, e.g. the creeping crowfoot, Rannnculus repens (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1896 Garden Work cxiv. 112; Uls. 1904 E.D.D.). Cf. (4); the rest-harrow, Ononis arvensis (Sc. 1808 Jam., 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 1119; Mry. 1882 Jam., sidfast); (ii) adj., sitting firmly; stationary, fixed; of stones: earthfast, firmly embedded in the ground. Cf. (i) (b); †(3) sit-house, ¶set-, a residence, a dwelling-house, esp. on a farm (Fif., Lth. 1825 Jam.); (4) sitsicker, -siccar, -sikker, a name for various species of crowfoot, esp. Ranunculus acris, which roots itself very firmly in the ground (Kcd., Slg., Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 19; Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 965; Nai. 1900 R. Thomson Nat. Hist. Highl. Parish 286; ne.Sc. 1970). Cf. (2) (i) (c); (5) sittie-fittie [ < sit o(n) fit(tie)] , the wagtail or seed-bird, Motacilla (Slk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 287). This appears to be intended as an emendation on Jam.'s 1825 entry: “the sea-bird called Lady-bird”, which is not identifiable. Presumably the name derives from the bobbing movement of the bird's feet and tail, as if it momentarily sat on these. This applies even more appropriately to the corrupt form Sinnie-Fynnie, q.v., a name given to the black guillemot whose feet are placed far back and bent as it sits. For a sim. type of name cf. futinas s.v. Fit, n.1, III. 45.
(1) Gsw. 1732 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 371:
Timber, suckers, sit boxes, leather, nails, &c., all for the said well. (2) (i) (b) Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 35, 356:
Some are even of many hundred weights, and are called sit-fasts. . . . These are sometimes large nodules or irregularly globular masses of whin, trap, basalt, or granite, either appearing above the surface, or discovered by the plough. (c) Lth. 1765 A. Dickson Agric. 114:
Some species of the thistle, and what the ploughmen call sit-fasts. (ii) m.Lth. 1795 G. Robertson Agric. M. Lth. App. 102:
The sit-fast stones discovered by the plough. Sc. 1807 G. Chalmers Caledonia I. 165:
An immense round whin-stone, which the cultivators of the soil have not yet been able to dig up from its sitfast hold. Sc. 1837 Carlyle Fr. Revolution I. ii. vi.:
No man but will trot à l'Anglaise, rising in the stirrups; scornful of the old sitfast method. Inv. 1861–3 Trans. Highl. Soc. 208:
Where the boulders or sitfast stones occur in the drains, cut well round them. Per. 1880 W. Marshall Hist. Scenes 312:
The land contains numbers of sit-fast stones. Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 126:
When, tho' I do my very utmost, He leaves me as I were a' sitfast. (3) e.Lth. 1713 Country-Man's Rudiments 28:
Let all Sit-houses, as they call them, stand East and West. Rxb. 1756 Session Papers, Petition H. Hall (22 July 1761) 22:
To take down the old Set-house that was then upon the Farm of Linthaughlee. Kcb. 1785 Session Papers, Gordon v. McGill (4 Jan.) 3:
Instead of building houses and sheds, and every thing proper to accommodate the stock and crop of the farm, Mr. Gordon built only a sit-house. Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 245:
He never built a sit-house for any other gentleman of landed property. Sc. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 71:
The sit-house or dwelling . . . consisted always of two main divisions, distinguished by the names of the but and the ben. Sc. 1833 Chamber's Jnl. (May) 136:
Ae night it [wind] uprooted the auld clachan-tree, And I thought that the roof of our sit-house would flee. (4) Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (29 July):
The sit-siccar, or buttercup, infects damp pastures as well as the arable land. It is well named in Buchan, for once rooted, it almost defies extermination.
6. Phrs.: (1) to sit awhile, to pay an evening visit (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork. 1970); (2) to sit (doun) on one's knees, to sink to one's knees, to kneel, remain kneeling (Sc. 1887 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Lth., w., sm.Sc. 1970); (3) to sit in the britchins, of a horse in the yoke: to hang back, not to pull equally with its neighbour, also fig. of persons: not to do one's full share of work, etc. (Ork., Arg., Kcb. 1970). See Britchin, 3.; (4) to sit near the door, fig., of a tailor: to make up for lost time by sewing with long stitches (Per. 1970); (5) to sit on (another's) coat-tail(s), to depend on or make use of (someone else) for one's own convenience or advantage, to lack self-reliance (Sc. 1882 Jam.; Bnff., Abd., Ags., Per. 1970); (6) to sit one's market, of a woman: to be too fastidious in the choice of a husband and so miss marriage. Also in n.Eng. dial. See Mercat, 4.; (7) to sit one's wa(y)(s) doun, to sit down, take a seat, settle oneself. See Way; (8) to sit upon (apo) coals, to be restless from anxiety, be on tenterhooks.
(2) Sc. 1821 Scott Kenilworth xxxii.:
While he sat on his knees before me, mopping and mowing. Abd. 1950 :
Aa o a suddenty Jeems sat doun on's knees atween the trams o the barra and that was the eyn o'm. (4) Rnf. 1895 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 28:
Tam the while sat near the door. (5) Per. 1881 D. MacAra Crieff 143:
I've been wi' some chaps getting a dram frae them; but I cudna sit on their coat-tails ony langer. s.Sc. 1896 Border Mag. (May) 71:
He's none o' your sorners anyway — you don't see him sit on any man's coat-tails. Abd. 1966 :
He's sitten on ither folk's cwite-tails aa his life. (6) Abd. 1902 Weekly Free Press (8 March):
Ye may sit your market, ma lassie, like a wheen mair I ken o'. (7) Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 139:
Sit down your wa', — mak this your hame. Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 5:
Brunton, noo stripped o' his wat tapcoat, sat his ways doon. (8) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Feb.):
Dey'll juist sit apo' cols till I come.
7. To ignore (a command, request, etc.), to disregard, pay no heed to. Also in n.Eng. dial.
Wgt. 1700 Session Bk. Glasserton MS. (8 Dec.):
Grizel Mikleroy was rebuked for her sitting the former citation. Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace xi. iv.:
I never yet did know them sit my call. Sc. 1732 T. Boston Works (1773) 248:
Beware lest ye sit your time of humiliation. If ye sleep in seed-time ye will beg in harvest. Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 124:
I never sit your send — deny your summons — refuse your invitation. Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 43:
I sat that bidding, but I've rued it ay sin syne. Uls. 1890 D. A. Simmons Gl.:
‘Sit a summons', to disobey a summons by neglecting to appear in court.
8. (1) Of plants: to cease to grow or develop, to come to a standst'll, to be stunted (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Gall. 1970). Hence sitten(-like), stunted, undeveloped (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Bnff, 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 155). Cf. 4. (4) (ii) above.
Sc. 1734 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 4:
If they have not open earth for shooting their roots down in and also round, they will sitt. Fif. 1830 Perthshire Advert. (17 June):
They had the best crop, when the oats, after sitting, began to grow about the beginning of June. Bnff. 1930 6 :
My clean laan corn's fairly sitten doon.
(2) Of an abscess: to fail to come to a head, to indurate. Cf. 5. (2) (i).
ne.Sc. 1929 J. B. Philip Weelum o' the Manse 11:
A hae seen beelins without and within, and whan they were sitten wi' a'thing else, a poultice o' yella neeps did the wark.
9. tr., orig. with dative case: to fit, to suit, of clothes or their wearer (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 266) and fig. Rare and obs. in Eng. Cf. Set, v., 12.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 125:
The taylor tauld how weel I sat ye. Dmf. 1827 Carlyle Ger. Romance III. 129:
Her morning-promenade dress of white muslin will not sit her. Sc. 1887 Jam.:
“It sits ye weel” is said ironically of a person who attempts what is beyond his power or position.
10. To sink, subside, settle down, “as when a wall sinks or falls down in consequence of the softness of the foundations” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ppl.adj. sitten doun, sunk, subsided (Ork. 1970).
II. n. A sinking or settling down of the surface of the ground or anything built on it (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1970); specif., in Mining: a subsidence due to excavation below (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 61; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1970). Cf. I. 10.
Sc. 1762 Session Papers, Drummond v. Ferrier (29 Jan.) 8:
If a Sit happens in any Part of the Coal, the Rain or Water from above penetrates through the broken Metals. Ayr. 1776 Session Papers, Fergusson v. Earl of Cassillis (4 March) Proof 11:
A sit or fall in the roof, through which had fallen bits of burnt coal. m.Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 574:
The whole is excavated without any stoops being left to support the roof which gradually sinks as the workings advance, and by which the surface to a certain extent is affected, especially as this takes place unequally and produces what are called sits. Fif. 1868 St Andrews Gaz. (18 April):
I do not know how to account for the old cit in the railway. I think it is part of the old day level. Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Among the Miners 10:
We'll ne'er get through that cursed sit i' the rise in time tae save oor callans' lives. Lth. 1925 H. M. Cadell Rocks W. Lth. 345:
Subsequent danger from “sitts” or deep holes suddenly falling in on the surface. Ayr. 1951 Abd. Press & Jnl. (3 Oct.):
He went to the surface and found a “sit” about 10 ft. wide 30 ft. long and 2 ft. deep.
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