Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THIRTY, num. adj. Also therty (Sc. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballads 3; Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxix.; Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 39; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; I., m., s.Sc. 1972); threttie, -y (Ayr. 1703 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (3 Nov.); Sc. 1705 Lord Seafield's Letters (S.H.S.) 181; Ayr. 1785 Burns 3rd Ep. J. Lapraik viii.; Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.; Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 32; Abd. 1904 W. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 134; Gall. 1928 Gallov. Annual 45), thretie (Peb. 1706 Burgh Rec. Peebles (B.R.S.) 174), thretty (Ags. 1794 “Tam Thrum” Look before Ye Loup 23; em.Sc. 1898 H. Rogers Meggotsbrae 210), threty (s.Sc. a.1784 G. Caw Museum 150); thritty (wm.Sc. 1882 Songs and Ball. Cld. (Nimmo) 135); and I.Sc. forms terty (Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 222), tretti (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), tretty (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 33). Ordinal forms †threttieth (Lnk. 1707 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 13, Fif. 1867 D. Cook Pittenweem 119); thirtiet (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.). Sc. forms and usages. [m. and s.Sc. ′θɛrte; I.Sc. ‡′trɛte] Sc. combs.: 1. thirty-two, a plait of straw rope made up of thirty-two straws; 2. thirtytwosome, a Scots reel danced in sets of thirty-two dancers. Cf. Echtsome, sixteensome s.v. Six, 7. 1. Ork. 1920  J. Firth Reminisc. 49:
The narrowest kind of plait had seven straws in its breadth, and was therefore called “sevens”, another was termed “elevens,” while the widest was known as “thirty-twos”.
2. Sc. 1938  St Andrews Cit. (13 Aug.) 9:
He is much in request to teach foursomes, eightsomes, sixteensomes, and thirty-twosomes.
Sc. 1954  H. A. Thurston Scotland's Dance 51:
A spectacular further development gives us the thirtytwosome reel, which breaks up into four separate eightsomes at points where the quadruple figure would be too clumsy. This dance seems to have been invented in the army.
Sc. 1970  G. M. Fraser General Danced 85:
I have been told that back in the Nineties the First Black Watch sergeants danced a thirty-twosome.

[O.Sc. thretty, 1375, O.E. þrītiȝ. The met. form therty appears first in 1436.]

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"Thirty num. adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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