Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SKLENT, n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep. Also sc(h)lent, sklint, and, after Eng. slant, sclant, sklant. Pa.t. sklentit, ¶sklent.

I. n. 1. (1) A slope, incline, sloping surface (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., Lth., Dmb., Ayr., Dmf. 1970). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 22:
With easy sklent, on every side the braes.
Dmf. 1925  Trans Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 37:
We cam' on yin o' thae bare sklents o' rock — an there wis the otter slide.

(2) phr. on the sclent, on a slope, in a sloping or slanting direction. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 133:
Down on the sclent shall I fly.
Dmf. 1925  Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 37:
Tak' the hill on the schlent and you'll clim' easier.

2. A sideways movement, change of direction; a swerve, twist: (1) in gen. and also fig. (Sh. 1970). Ayr. 1786  Burns To J. Smith vii.:
This while my notion's taen a sklent.
Ags. 1872  J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 67:
By mony unco sklent an' turn, He steer'd through muir an' bog an' burn.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (11 Sept.):
Dy lang fause tongue has got a sklent.

(2) specif. of wind or rain: a slanting motion, so as to strike at an acute angle. Phr. a sklent o' win. Also in naut. Eng. Cf. Sklent, v.3 Ags. 1866  R. Leighton Poems (1869) 299:
And the sleet was sent wi' a sniftin' sklent.
Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 8:
It has been rainin wi a sklent ever sin' it cam on.
Cai. 1921  T.S.D.C.:
A sklent o' win, i.e. one that would help a boat turning dead to windward with a long reach.

3. (1) A sidelong glance or gleam of the eye (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Abd. 1921; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Ayr., Dmf. 1970). Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
I gae a sklent wi' my ee.
Sc. 1874  W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 67:
To tak' a sidlin' sklent at them.
s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xiii.:
Never sae muckle as a sniff of the air or a sclent of the e'e.
Sc. 1930  Weekly Scotsman (18 Oct.) 2:
Whar got he that far awa whimsical sklent At the back o' his eenholes uncanny?

(2) transf. A gleam, flash of lightning. Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 16:
Fleein' like a sklint o' livin' licht.

II. v. 1. intr. To slope, slant, lie awry or to one side (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr. 1928; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Kcb., Rxb. 1970). Ppl.adj. sklentin, sklentit, sloping, aslant, at an angle, awry. Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 22:
Wi' bonnet o'er his haffet sklentin laid.
Sc. 1845  W. Tennant Muckomachy 37:
The besom-heft cam sklentin' down.
s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 2:
The kipples stood upon the brae, And far in o'er they sclented.
Kcd. 1857  A. Taylor Lummie 2:
The gavel ends were thrawn and sklentit.
Gall. 1901  Gallovidian III. 70:
A great, lang steep hill, sklentin' fae the S.W. to the N.E.
Edb. 1917  T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's iv. 19:
But, fornent that, the wey o' the wicked Sklents doon, an' doon to the mirk.
Ags. 1921  D. H. Edwards Fisher Folks 53:
There's a gie sclentit carey, and some fish micht be got afore the morn.

2. intr. To move in an oblique direction, to turn sideways, to swerve, to zigzag (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Lnl., Kcb. 1970). Also in n.Eng. dial. Also rarely tr., to ascend (a slope) at an angle. Adv. †sclentine ways, zigzag. Abd. 1704  T. Mair Ellon Presb. Rec. (1898) 286:
He would cause a durk sklent upon his ribs.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 179:
Fu' fast the side o' Screel I sklented.
Ags. 1790  D. Morison Poems 136:
Sclentine ways his course he aften steer'd.
Lnk. 1827  J. Watt Poems 64:
[He] tummelt aften heals-o'er-head, As doun the brae he sklentet.
Cai. 1829  J. Hay Poems 24:
A glass o' whisky gat a ding, And in her een it sklented.
m.Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 240:
Sklent across till ye come to the threshie field.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 24:
The greedy kye gaed sklentin to the corn.
Lth. 1918  A. Dodds Lothian Land 15:
The infernal engine, in its glee, Will tak' a sudden, skentin' [sic] swee At some bad turn.
Gall. 1929  Gallovidian 58:
Its twists an' turnin's fill ma e'e, But ma thochts faur further sklent.
Ags. 1930  A. Kennedy Orra Boughs xxxv.:
The lang, thin finger sklented oot at ye.

3. tr. To cut on a slant, obliquely. Cld. 1825  Jam.:
To sklent a stane, a buird.

4. (1) in gen.: to aim (something) sideways or obliquely, to send across, lit. and fig. (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1970). Ayr. 1785  Burns To the Deil xvii.:
An' sklented on the man of Uzz Your spitefu' joke.
Slk. 1847  W. Crozier Cottage Muse 77:
How Satan shook his head an' vauntit, And o'er his beard a spittle sklentit.
Hdg. 1908  J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 48:
Maybe it was your better angel, Sir, That sklented o'er the seas this Yank to Bents?
wm.Sc. 1937  W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 11:
Willie, my lamb, and Johnnie and Tam, Sklent cantrips on us an you dare!

(2) with at, (up)on: to reflect upon in a damaging or sarcastic manner, to hint at by insinuation or innuendo (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Ayr. 1838  J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers 13, 18:
I never cud be certain sure whether Johnny was joking or sklent at ither folk. . . . I sud be sorry ye brought ony discredit on the Kirk, or that her disapprobation sklentet upon you.
Abd. 1884  D. Grant Keckleton 30, 38:
It was Jamie Lott that I sklentit at. . . . Sklentin' on him in your presence.

5. tr. To cast (the eyes) sideways (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Rnf. 1804  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 70:
It e'en micht melt the dortiest she, That ever sklinted scornfu' e'e.
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 62:
[If ye] sclent that haitfu' sheep's e'e on a soldier.

6. intr. (1) To glance sideways, look askance, squint (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Bnff. 1920; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 185; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., wm.Sc., Dmf., Slk. 1970). Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 43:
Your wilie, selentin een declare Ye ha'flins doubt me!
Rnf. 1813  E. Picken Poems I. 66:
An [I] neither let ae e'e nor ither Sklent, wi' unkindness, on a brither.
Ags. 1880  Arbroath Guide (9 Oct.) 4:
An' he cud tell, the graceless loon, Tho' Jean micht sklent and mim, O.
Abd. 1922  J. P. Macgillivray Bog Myrtle 26:
Her een are just twa deils At sklintin throu' The tricks an' shifts that men an' feils Wad gar ye trow.
Sc. 1933  W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 21:
The whitrack, whan he saw the steer, Lauch't as he sklent alang his snoot.

(2) of light, etc.: to shine in a slanting direction (Sh. 1970). Ayr. 1785  Burns To the Deil vii.:
The stars shot down wi' sklentan light.
Kcb. 1797  R. Buchanan Poems 283:
Lang e'ening rays was sklentin.
Uls. 1804  J. Orr Poems (1936) 29:
A forket flash cam sklentin' thro'.
Sc. 1864  J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe 170:
The licht sklents saftly down on holm and ha'.
Knr. 1905  H. Haliburton Excursions 14:
Till I see the sun sklent aff the ruifs o' Balgeddie!
Ags. 1897  Bards Ags. (Reid) 200:
Hoo sweet sklent the sunbeams alang the brae-side!
Lth. 1966  Scots Mag. (Nov.) 174:
The drumlie storm cloods scuddan an' the sternlicht sklentan thro!

7. To deviate from the truth, to fib, prevaricate (Fif., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. a.1870 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924)). Ayr. 1786  Burns 2nd Ep. J. Lapraik xi.:
Do ye envy the city-gent, Behint a kist to lie an' sklent?
Per. 1809  Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 244:
He avails himself of his priviledge as a romance writer to sclent i.e. fib on occasion, painting scenes much bigger and gaudier than the life.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
He spoke for them a', and I whiles feared that he sclented a wee.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 209:
They'll be sklentin' frae fact.
Fif. 1875  A. Burgess Bk. of Nettercaps 11:
Indeed she is that without sklentin' or fibbin'.

III. adj. 1. Slanting, to one side, awry, oblique (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 185; Mry. 1925; Arg. 1932; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Ayr. 1970). Deriv. sklinty. Advs. sklently, sklentweys, -wise (Sh., Per. 1970). Edb. 1816  J. Aikman Poems 48:
Flickerin' as they fa' a while On the sere seggs lie sklently.
Ayr. 1828  D. Wood Poems 54:
Twa jam stanes stanin', something sclent.
Sc. 1834  Chambers's Jnl. (Sept.) 278:
To debouch from one of the sklinty close-heads.
Per. 1893  Harp Per. (Ford) 71:
It wasna till the sklent moon's shine Was glancin' deep in Mary's e'e.
Arg. 1917  A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 226:
The hat was cloured an' sclant a wee.
Dmf. 1921  J. L. Waugh Heroes 130:
To geng sklentweys doon the hillside.
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 70:
Ahint the big sclent stanes We got troot as lang's your arm.

2. (1) Of a look or glance: sidelong, cast askance (Sh. 1970). Lnk. a.1832  W. Watt Poems (1860) 166:
But ane whase coat is worn sae bare . . . Will meet the sklent disdainfu' stare.
Ayr. 1836  J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 187:
Nae mair the bardies then should thole Sklent leuks, and tongue's contemptuous roll.

(2) Of a fact: somewhat untrue, half-true, approximate, not quite accurate (Mry. 1925). Adv. sclant-weys. Arg. 1917  A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 20:
Maybe Baldy's richt, scriptural tae, sclantways like.

IV. adv. On a slant, at an angle, off the straight, awry, obliquely (Sh., Abd., Fif. 1970). Per. 1922 1 :
I've gaen a wee bit sklent.
Sc. 1923  Sc. Univ. Verses 69:
They pass by wi' their bonnets sklent for fear ye see their e'en.

V. prep. Athwart, across. Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poems 126:
We've lost our strength an' honest hearts, Sin' ye cam' sklent us.
Dmf. a.1820  Border Mag. (Oct.) 169:
Sklent the bogs wi' thy as'bucket feet.
Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 116:
Sklent the hills is cut for roads a bed.
Edb. 1900  E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 28:
“Sklent the bog, then!” quo' I, pointin' to the short cut to the highroad.

[O.Sc. sclent, to slip sideways, 1438, to aim, c.1560, to err morally, 1568, to deviate from truth, 1581, a slanting cut, c.1590, devious, 1610, Sc. variant of Mid.Eng. (now dial.) slent, a slope, to fall or lie on the slant, of Scand. orig. Cf. Norw. på slent, aslant, slenta, to slip sideways, Sw. stinta, dial. slänta, id. For sk- see K, 8. and S, letter, 3. Eng. slant appears to be cogn. but the vowel is not explained.]

Sklent n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep.

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"Sklent n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2018 <>



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