Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SMIT, v., n. Also smitt. Pa.t. smit; pa.p. weak smit, smittit, -ed; and strong pa.t. smet, smat (Sh.), pa.p. smat, smitten from Smite, v. [smɪt]

I. v. 1. To affect with, alter by the agency of, assail, smite, freq. in fig. expressions bordering on sense 2. Obs. in Eng. exc. n. dial. Ayr. 1786  Burns Farewell J. Kennedy 3:
If e'er Detraction shore to smit you.
Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 17:
O deeply runkled was his brow, His cheeks too smit wi' years.
Sh. 1888  B. R. Anderson Broken Lights 87:
I smit a' da bairns wi' madram an' glee.
Ayr. 1879  J. White Jottings 212:
The weirdly spell that smittit me.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 254:
A sleekie, weel-penn'd billet-doux, Wi' love's burnin' ardour, wad smit them.
Abd. 1961  P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 13:
There's cures for ills that smit the hert.

2. Specif. of infectious or contagious disease or patient: to affect by contagion, infect, taint (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 93; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), smitt; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 267; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. and n.Eng. dial. Freq. used fig. and jocularly. Ppl.adj. smittin, infectious, “catching” (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 267). Sc. 1736  Ramsay Proverbs (1777) 10:
Ae scabbed sheep will smit the hale hirdsell.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 210:
Is't smittin', like sma' pox?
Ags. 1891  Barrie Little Minister xlv.:
He said “I'm smitted” and went home to die.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (4 June):
If doos slipped dem [sick lambs] ta da hill ta smit da caa.
Edb. 1900  E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 35:
A byre at Kelso that had been smitten.
e.Lth. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 59:
A hundred pound cash doun! — besides, gif a' The cattle smat were kill'd, anither ane!
Fif. 1912  D. Rorie Mining Folk 405:
“Wha smittit the first ane?” is often said contemptuously as an argument against instructions to isolate an infectious case.
Gsw. 1915  H. W. Pryde M. McFlannel's Romance 127:
You French people must be awful polite. I wish you'd smit Mr McFlannel.
Abd. 1956  J. Murray Rural Rhymes 10:
I was vera nearly smitted Wi' Mains' disease masel.

Derivs.: (1) smitsome, adj., contagious, infectious (Ork. 1970); (2) smittal(l), smittle also rarely smittable, smittl(e)ish, adj., id. (Sc. 1808 Jam., 1887 Jam., smit(t)lish; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. and n.Eng. dial. Also fig. and (rarely) as n., infection. Hence smittleness. infectiousness; †(3) smittral, infectious (Fif. 1825 Jam.). (1) Per. 1878  R. Ford Hame-spun Lays 120:
I' the pulpit, smitsome fair, I saw her face, an' no' the preacher's.
Kcd. 1929  Montrose Standard (20 Sept.):
Ye're no that smitsom.
(2) Sc. 1705  R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 60:
It will not only be dark and sharp, but very smittle.
Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 177:
The covetous Infatuation Was smittle out o'er a' the nation.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xii.:
Our trouble seemed a smittal one; the infection spread around.
Sc. 1867  N. Macleod Starling xxvii.:
Is't true that Sergeant Mercer has got a smittal fivver?
Lnk. 1880  Clydesdale Readings 92:
I was laughin' tae mysel' on the smittleness o' slidin'.
Kcb. 1895  Pall-Mall Mag. (Aug.) 599:
Whatna trouble did ye say the laddie had on him? Is't smittable, think ye?
m.Sc. 1927  J. Buchan Witch Wood xii.:
Fearfu' lest ye have got a smittal o' the pestilence.
Slg. 1935  W. D. Cocker Further Poems 79:
A smittle thing the mawk, Yae flee contaminates a flock.
Gsw. 1951  H. W. Pryde M. McFlannel's Romance 103:
Mumps! That's smittle, is it no'?

3. To hit, strike. Phr. to smit thumbs, “to form a contract by each person wetting the fore-part of his thumb with the point of his tongue, and then smiting or pressing their thumbs together, which confirms the bargain” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Hence n. comb. smit-thumbs, this method of sealing a bargain or pledging one's good faith (Ib.). See Thoum, n., 2.

II. n. 1. A smiting together, a clash, clap. Sc. 1803  Scott Minstrelsy III. 265:
She heard a smit o' bridle reins, She wished might be for good.

2. Infection, contagion (Sc. 1887 Jam.; m.Sc. 1970), gen. with def. art. in phr. to gie or get the smit, to infect or be infected by a disease. Gen.Sc. Also fig., esp. of falling in love. Combs. smit-feerie, an infectious disease, smitt-sickness, id. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). See Feerie, n.1 Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 275:
Ower uncivileez't tae tak the smit [of gentility].
Rxb. 1912  Kelso Chron. (22 Nov.) 4:
They tell me that ye've got the “smit”.
Ags. 1927  Brechin Advert. (25 Oct.) 3:
They spread like the smit ben Clooty Wynd.
Lth. 1934  A. P. Wilson Till 'Bus Comes 22:
If I had measles I'd sit on your doorstep till I gied ye the smit!
Edb. 1955  Edb. Evening News (23 May):
Awe-stricken children kept a respectful distance away, for fear they “got the smit”.
Sh. 1967  New Shetlander No. 83. 24:
Yun smit feerie 'at wis gyaain i'da toon.

3. A smut, smudge, black spot (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). Also in Eng. dial. Adj. smitty, smudged, smutted, phs. rather a mistake for smutty. Poss. a different word. See note to Smite, n.1 Edb. 1869  J. Ballantine Miller 44:
Would you daur put your sooty smitty blut in comparison wi' the pure blut o' a Ross?

[O.Sc. smyt(t), to taint, stain, a stain, a blemish, a.1400, smitten, infected, 1575, O.E. smittian, ablaut derivative of smītan, to smite. For II. 1. cf. Mid.Eng. smytt, M.L.Ger. smit, a blow, stroke, cogn. with smītan. For smittle, cf. O.Sc. smittell, 1583, and Mid. Sw. smittol, id.]

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"Smit v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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