Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WITTIN, n. Also witting, witten, wittan (ne.Sc. 1832 A. Beattie Poems 138), wutten, freq. in plur.; also wittance ( < wittins), construed as sing. [′wɪtən(z)]

1. The fact of knowing or being aware of, knowledge, awareness, notion, conception (Sc. 1808 Jam., wittins; Abd. 1974); learning. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Phrs. gude one's witten, wise on one's part, a wise policy for, prudent of. Cf. Guid, I. 7. (30); to tak wittins o', to have cognisance of, take note of. Edb. 1787  Edb. Ev. Courant (23 June):
Nae thanks to your head an' wittin', Tho' you're nae fool.
Edb. 1801  J. Thomson Poems 165:
To bide awa is gude their wutten.
Rnf. 1876  D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 152, 167:
Bearin' an' forbearin 'll be mair general than ony ane can hae wittens o' at this present. . . . “Blackfoot” had been “best maid” to Sarah many long years before, — a circumstance which “Jeems, honest man, had tint wittens o'.”
Fif. 1883  W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 65, 88:
If sae be we could slip oor wa's without her wittens. . . . Rather prood to lat the warld tak' wittens that he has a creel on his back.
Ags. c.1900  Glen Anthol. (Michie) 10:
Methocht I had wittin' That the tane t' the tither said a wordie or twa.
Sc. 1913  H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. xxxi.:
Thar is a grit differ atween the wyssheid o' a lichten'd an' a gracie man, an' the witten o' a book-leared an' thochty clark.

2. Gen. in pl.: knowledge imparted, information, intelligence, news (Abd. 1925). Usu. in phrs. to get, gie witting(s), to obtain, give out, information (I., n.Sc. 1974). Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxii.:
What will come o' ye gin the baillies sud come to get witting?
Sc. 1836  Gsw. Journal (2 Jan.) 117:
Awaur o' this, now Hector's leuk Is keen for wittens o' the Duke.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
Still there was neither word nor wittin's o' Simon.
Ork. 1894  W. R. Mackintosh Peat-fires 128:
Mansie, however, had his scouts, and these gave him “wittance” of the nice little scheme that had been laid to capture him.
Lth. 1914  C. P. Slater Marget Pow Comes Home vi.:
You never can be sure of guns no' goin' off without word or wittens, whether they're loaded or no'.
Sh. 1962  New Shetlander No. 63. 4:
Wan nicht he got wittings we were a yard.

[O.Sc. wittine, = 1., a.1400, witting, = 2., 1375, partly ad. O.N. vitand, consciousness, knowledge, from vita, to know, but later treated as the vbl.n. of Wit.]

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



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