Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ABOOT. [ə′but]

1. adv.

(1) On the outside; on every side (like about in St.Eng.). Gen.Sc. Also, out of the way. Abd.(D) 1867 Mrs Allardyce The Goodwife at Home liv:
Haud by the luncart, at the strype; It's nae a bit aboot.

(2) In all directions round, through, or over a place; here and there (like about in St.Eng.). Gen.Sc. Lth. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger, etc. (1916) 5:
He throve on parritch . . . An' ran aboot bare-leggit in a wee bit tartan kilt.

(3) On the move, going about (a sign of recovery from illness). Gen.Sc. Lnl.1 1930:
Ay! Tam's aboot again.

(4) Turned. Sc. 1881 Alex. Mackie Scotticisms 27:
When my back was about — when my back was turned, or behind my back.

(5) Approximately, in respect of number, quantity or degree (as in St.Eng.). Gen.Sc. Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 10:
It [barrel of oil] was inwiced forty gallons, an' hoo muckle think ye did it measure oot? Jeist exac'ly forty gallons, a bottle, an' aboot half a tea cuppiefu'.
Rxb. 1924 Hawick Express 1 Feb. 3/7:
Now they're away aboot half-a-croon, an' mair, an' often mair stanes than coals.

2. prep. Meanings as for St.Eng. about.

(1) On every side of; round. Gen.Sc. Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings Among the Heather 45:
I hae a guid wheen braw silk goons, A hat wi' flow'rs aboot it.

(2) All over, here and there in. Gen.Sc. Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes I. ii.:
Supperstitious quean! . . . What business hae ye to gang greetin aboot the hoose?

(3) In the neighbourhood of (a place or person). Gen.Sc. Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 18:
Billy [Marshall] leev't tae be 120 year aul', an there's some o' his descendants aboot Stranraer yet.

(4) Relating to, concerning. Gen.Sc. Sh. 1886 G. Temple Britta 33:
I dinna ken onythin' aboot the rich.
Rxb.(D) 1923 Hawick Express 19 Jan. 3/7:
There used tae bei a great oot-cry aboot maist o' th' Cooncil business bein' cairried throwe in private.

3. Phrases: (1) Aboot ane, much the same. (2) Aboot it, much about the same. Gen.Sc. (3) Aboot one's han', in one's house or charge. (4) In aboot, (a) close to a person, into the house; (b) close together; (c) in control or strict discipline; (d) (get) round. (5) Oot aboot, (a) out of doors; (b) away near. (1) Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy vi. 51:
“Muckle aboot ane, Bawbie, as the deil said to the cobbler,” says Mysie.
(2) Abd.4 1928:
Back an' fore aboot it.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie A Window in Thrums vii. 60:
“Ay, hoo are ye, Jess?” Tibbie said. “Muckle aboot it,” answered Jess.
(3) Abd.(D) 1928 W. Robbie Mains of Yonderton 56:
Fat for sudna a'body 'at's aboot's han' be weel aneuch deen till as lang's he's t' the fore.
(4) (a) Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxiv. 243:
Ye'll maybe adverteese 'im to luik in aboot upo' me at's convainience.
Abd. 1874 Neil N. Maclean Life at a Northern Univ. ii.:
Come in aboot . . an' lat me say a fyou words to ye afore ye start.
(b) Abd.(D) 1914 A. McS. The Bishop 15–16:
Yer taes are nae made to be gripped in aboot, an' fin yer hose hinna taes, ye hiv a fine roomy feelin' i' yer beets.
(c) Abd.(D) 1929 Jas. Alexander Mains and Hilly 189:
Nae neen the waur o' bein' hauden in aboot a bit.
(d) Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish xix. 183:
He had a coothy way of getting in about folk.
(5) (a) Ags.1 1930:
He hasna been weel, an' he's no gaein' muckle oot aboot yet.
(b) Ags.1 1930:
He bides oot aboot Marykirk.

[O.E. abūtan, on-būtan for on-be-utan (“on-by-out”); Older Sc. abut(e), about(e), abowt(e).]

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"Aboot ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Jun 2021 <>



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