Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WASTER, n.1, v.2 Also waister, weyster. Sc. forms and usages. [′westər. ′wəist-]

I. n. 1. An idler; an extravagant spender, a squanderer, spendthrift, profligate, ne'er-do-well. Now chiefly dial. in Eng. Also attrib. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 65:
Waster Wives, the warst of a'.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 149:
The witless waster is at her wit's end.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxviii.:
Ye will think I am turned waster, for I wear clean hose and shoon every day.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xlix.:
A hachel's slovenliness, and a waster's want.
Fif. 1891  R. F. Murray Scarlet Gown 117:
Never had these halls of knowledge Welcomed waster half so wild!
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 23:
The bizniss ull no lest lang wui that waister o a son.

Derivs.: (1) wasteration, extravagance, profligacy; (2) wasterfu(l), -fow, prodigal, wasteful, extravagant (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 274; ne.Sc., m.Sc. 1973). Derivs. wasterfulike (wm.Sc. 1973), wasterfuness (Fif., Slg., w.Lth., wm. Sc., Wgt. 1973); adv. wasterfully; (3) wasterous, wasteful, extravagant; (4) wastrification, = (1); (5) wastry, -ie, adj., = (2) (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1973). (1) Ayr. 1873  A. Aitken Poems 100:
He soon gar'd his father's auld mooly ha'f-crouns flee. [Chorus] Wasteration, wasteration, It was a wonnerfu' wasteration.
(2) Dmf. 1822  Scots Mag. (May) 636:
O thou wasterfu' slut!
Ayr. 1826  Galt Last of Lairds xxxii.:
Girzie, dinna be wasterfu', shake the spoon.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.:
The sheers, wherewith he whankit them [strings] aff . . . greatly to my mither's horification, wha said it was “sae wasterfulike.”
Ayr. 1891  H. Johnston Kilmallie I. 178:
The shepherd fares sumptuously and spends wasterfully.
w.Lth. 1892  R. Steuart Legends 39:
On accoont o' wasterfu'ness, an' haudin' tae ‘the King owre the watter'.
Kcb. 1903  Crockett Banner of Blue xxx.:
Baths, basins and siclike wasterfulness!
Fif. 1909  R. Holman Char. Studies 25:
My certes, he's awfu' wasterfu' on boots.
wm.Sc. 1932  J. Corrie A Man o' War 5:
Ye hae a fire on here that wad roast a bullock — damned wasterfu'ness.
(3) Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 160:
It's you wasterous cooks that get people's houses their bad names.
(4) Edb. 1872  J. Smith Habbie & Madge 63:
Tobacco, drink, cards, dominoes, an' general wastrification.
(5) Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 364:
To live wi' sic a wast'ry, braisant jade.
Kcb. 1898  T. Murray Frae the Heather 39:
Thae wild, wastry ways I now heartily rue.

2. The overflow of water from a sluice. Combs. wasterboard, a wooden shutter controlling this; wasterwear, a sluice. Rnf. 1790  Session Papers, Corse v. Houstoun (12 Aug.):
Altering the original outlet at the bottom of the tail-lead, carrying it farther up the river, and putting a waster board in this new outlet, which he raised or lowered as suited his conveniency. . . . Mr Houstoun's offset or waster-wear, of seven feet nine inches wide.

3. A foreign body or imperfection in the wick of a candle, which causes it to gutter and waste, a “thief” (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 131, 1825 Jam.; Ags., w.Lth. 1973). Also in Eng. dial. Sc. 1788  G. Wilson Masonic Songs 72:
Oft on the wick there hangs a waster, Which makes the candle burn the faster.
Sc. 1838  Chambers's Jnl. (29 Dec.) 388:
He resolved to snuff the candle, at which he was somewhat startled to oberve an ominous waster or death-spale.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 23:
Snot that cannl; it's aa gaun ti creesh — there's a waister on't.

4. A person, animal or object that is of no further use, one who or which is done for, from decrepitude, disease, etc., a “goner” (I., n., em., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1973). Also in Eng. dial. Kcb. 1885  A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe ii.:
Ye should hae weeded oot a' sic wasters as that.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 146:
I'm a weyster this time, Bawbee. I aye thocht that horse wud be the death o' me.
Abd. 1892  Innes Rev. (Spring 1956) 20:
We had the Bible and the Proverbs, they'll be fairly wasters noo.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 23:
A doot it's a waister; it's aa gaen geite.

II. v. tr. To waste, squander. Only in Galt. Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail liv.:
After wastering a' my jointure.
Ayr. 1826  Galt Last of Lairds xxiii.:
A bawbee that I saved out o' twopence that the laird sent me to waster on snuff for him.

[Freq. form of Waste, v.]

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"Waster n.1, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Oct 2018 <>



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