Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TEA, n. Also tae (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.; Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. I. 155), tay (Abd. 1863 G. MacDonald D. Elginbrod lxxi.; Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 97; Uls. 1953 Traynor), tey (Cai. 1703 J. B. Craven Hist. Episc. Ch. Cai. (1908) 156; Sc. 1824 Scots Mag. (April) 403). [te:, now chiefly Sh., n.Sc., obsol. (the orig. pronunciation in Eng. but now only dial.); s.Sc. təi. See P.L.D. § 103.1.]

Sc. usages in combs. and phrs.: (1) tea and eating, tea accompanied by a cooked dish, high tea; (2) tea and till't, id. (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 271; em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc., Dmf. 1972); (3) tea-blade, -blaed, a tea-leaf (em.Sc.(a) 1972); (4) tea-bread, fancy bread of the scone or bun variety, eaten with tea. Gen.Sc.; (5) tea-broe, tea-juice, tea as a drink. See Broo, n.1; (6) tea-chaffer, a tea urn. Cf. Eng. †chafer; (7) tea-chit-chat, teacakes, used with disparaging force. Cf. Chit, n.1, Chat, n.2; (8) tea-dinner, a meal, usu. lunch, consisting of a main course and tea with scones, etc.; (9) tea-doin, a tea-party, a tea-‘do'; ‡(10) tae-drinker, a light or dress shoe, such as might be worn at a tea-party (n.Sc. 1972); (11) tae flour, sneezewort, Achillea ptarmica (Sh. 1972); ‡(12) tae-girse, the wild thyme, Thymus serpyllum, which may be infused as a drink, also occas. the bog asphodel, Narthecium ossifragum (Sh. 1947 Shetland Folk Bk. I. 87); (13) tea-hand, one who is addicted to drinking tea. Gen.Sc.; (14) tea-jenny, id., applied to men as well as women (n. and m.Sc. 1972); (15) tea-kitchen, a tea-urn. See Kitchen, n., 4.; (16) tea-man, = (13) (Gall. 1905 E.D.D.); (17) tae-plate, a saucer (Sh. 1972); (18) tea-rocking, a tea party. See Rock, n.2, 1.(2); (19) tea-shine, id.; (20) tea-skiddle, -skittle, id., used somewhat derisorily (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; Slg., wm.Sc. 1972); (21) tae-twine, the string with which packets of tea were tied; (22) tea-water, water for making tea, the water in which tea is made, tea itself; (23) tae well, a well of water supposed to be good for making tea (Sh. 1972); (24) towsie tea, see Tousie. (1) Lth. 1882  J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 272:
A “towsie tea”, or “tea and eating”, followed the ceremony.
(2) Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 204:
Sittin' doon to their tea and till't every nicht o' the week as regular as the clock chaps five.
(3) Ags. 1853  W. Blair Aberbrothock 69:
A tea-pat withoot the nose, an' a pucklie o' wat tea-blaeds intill't.
Ags. 1950  Forfar Dispatch (12 May):
He lookit a fel raggit bundle o' tea-blades.
(4) Edb. 1827  M. & M. Corbett Busy-Bodies II. iv.:
Neither more nor less than tea-bread, for I saw both seed-cake and Naples biscuit on the plate.
Ayr. 1895  H. Ochiltree Redburn v.:
Twa dizzen and a half o' tea-bread.
Lth. 1925  C. P. Slater Marget Pow 216:
Tea-bread for the afternoon.
Abd. 1947  Press & Journal (5 April) 3:
Aberdeen Master Bakers' Association will increase the price of all Tea Bread on and after Monday to 1d each.
Gsw. 1957  Bulletin (25 Feb.):
Loaves and tea-bread by the dozen.
(5) Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 29:
The folk are a drownin themsells in track-pots and teabroe.
(6) Abd. 1718  Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VIII. 9:
For a tea chaper [MS. chaffer] . . 4⅕ libs.
(7) Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 50:
Waes-zucks! that ever tea-chit-chat, Soud ever fill your halesome plate.
(8) Fif. c.1900  Readings and Dialogues 35:
That's an ootrageous oor [5 p.m.] for denner, excep' it be a tea-denner.
Wgt. 1956  C. McNeil Auld Lang Syne 59:
A comfortable tea-dinner at Cairnweil of a boiled hen, scones in great variety, butter and honey.
(9) Lnk. 1853  W. Watson Poems 47:
A wheen o' yer doun-leukin dominie sinners, Wha flatter the lairds for tea-doin's an dinners.
(13) Ayr. 1896  H. Johnston Dr. Congalton 168:
The doctor was no tea-hand, he was fond o' a glass o' toddy wi' the guidman.
Abd. 1920  :
Ye'd better pit on the kettle for she's a great tea-hand.
(14) Gsw. 1953  J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth ii. iii.:
“I am a tea Jenny,” he said.
m.Sc. 1956  Bulletin (17 Sept.) 5:
T. T's letter about Tea-Jennies.
(18) Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 20:
There's scarce a tea-rocking tak's place i' the toon.
(19) Sc. 1838  J. W. Carlyle Letters (Froude) I. 98:
Two tea-shines went off with éclat.
Lnk. 1858  G. Roy Generalship 15:
A sixpence-worth o' London-buns, for an extempore tea-shine.
(21) Sh. 1901  T. P. Ollason Mareel 60:
Ae peerie barefitted urchin, da prood possessor o' a' buisim haandle, wi' twa yaerds o' tae-twine an' a haddock hook attached.
(22) Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxvi.:
Breakfast wi' us yoursell — ye ken how to manage the porringers of tea-water.
Abd. 1901  Weekly Free Press (15 June):
1 gaed doon tae the stripe for a pan o' tea water.

[Tea appears to be first mentioned in Scotland c.1679 (see R. Chambers Domest. Annals II. 405.]

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"Tea n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Dec 2018 <>



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