Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WATTIE, prop. n. Also Watty, Watie. Sc. hypocoristic forms and usages of Wat, Walter. [′wɑte]

1. In phr. to look like Watty to the worm, to look disgusted or reluctant, to look with loathing (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.). Cf. O.Sc. proverb ‘Ye looked to me as Wat did to the worme' (Fergusson's Proverbs (S.T.S.) 117). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 97:
Lay by, man, thir humdrums, An' look na mair like Watty to the worm.

2. A piece of machinery in a windmill which adjusted the arms to suit the direction of the wind (see quot.). So called from the inventor, Walter Jamieson of Morham in East Lothian, c.1810. Hdg. 1883  J. Martine Reminisc. 324, 344:
When wind-mills for thrashing were in fashion, he invented a machine for easily turning the large flails in the direction of the wind. It got the name of “Wattie” after him. . . . It must have been a beautiful sight to see the large mill at full work, in a rattling windy day, with its widespread and powerful arms, going at a swinging rate, guided by the “watie,” driving the strong machinery inside.

3. Transf. An eel, Anguilla (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 208).

4. One of the intestines of a sheep prepared as tripe, phs. from a fancied resemblance to an eel (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), also in comb. wattie-bag, id. (Ib.).

5. A native of Fordell parish in Fife (Fif. 1973).

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"Wattie prop. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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