Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SUDDENTY, n. Also -ie, suddainty (Sc. 1808 Jam.). [′sʌdənti]

1. Suddenness, a sudden manner, a sudden act or incident, gen. in phrs. in, of, (up)on or wi a suddenty, all of a sudden, extremely quickly and unexpectedly (Sc. 1808 Jam.; n.Sc. 1971). Slk. 1744  Session Papers, Emmond v. Magistrates Selkirk (19 June) 28:
What was the Throng with the Council the Night, on such a Suddenty?
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
It is not likely that he should have joined them on a suddenty.
Sc. 1820  Scots Mag. (May) 92:
In a suddentie, on the firie-flaucht. The stately stag is gane.
Ags. 1823  A. Balfour Foundling II. iii.:
It was an awfu' whup — a sair straik a' of a suddenty!
Abd. 1837  J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 25:
It jist cam' upon's wi' sic an extraordinar suddenty.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 245:
I forgathered on a great suddenty wi' Pate Glunch.
Ags. 1888  Brechin Advert. (11 Dec.) 3:
She gaed aff a' in a suddenty.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Upon a suddenty, and wi' the ae dreidfu' skelloch.
Bnff. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 9:
She can be the missie on a suddenty.
Abd. 1959  People's Jnl. (19 Dec.):
The puir sowls that the past week his brocht sorra tae wi' sic suddenty.

2. Esp. in Sc. Law: a sudden outburst of rage, an act done in hot blood, freq. in phrs. of or on (a) suddenty, without premeditation. Sc. 1737  Session Papers, H.M. Advocate v. Macfarlane (25 Nov.) 5:
Where the killing was only a Suddenty, and not proceeding from any former Grudge.
Sc. 1757  J. Maclaurin Crim. Cases (1774) 179:
The slaughter was not done of a suddenty.
Sc. 1785  H. Arnot Crim. Trials 173:
Distinction between murder and manslaughter, between deliberate assassination and killing of a suddenty.
Sc. 1797  D. Hume Punishment of Crimes I. 365:
The manslayer on suddenty was to have the benefit of the girth or sanctuary.
Abd. 1880  W. Robbie Yonderton 157:
Upo' the suddenties 'at he eest t' gie you sometimes fan ye wid a latten the beasts in amo' the corn.

3. Mishap, harm, mischief, esp. when sudden and unexpected (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Abd. 1943  W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 51:
A suddenty upon ye fa'.

[O.Sc. suddante, = 2., 1469, = 1., c.1533, Mid.Eng. sudeynte, O. Fr. sodeinete, suddenness.]

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



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