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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AGENT, n. Also awgent. [′e:dʒənt Sc.; ′ɑ:dʒənt n.Sc., sm.Sc.; ′ǫ:dʒənt m.Sc.]

1. Sc. law: a solicitor. Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian II. viii.:
There's no a cleverer agent than Nichel Novit e'er drew a bill of suspension.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The Presbytery's legal awgent's up fae Cromwellside.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Auld Reikie 11. 65–66:
While busy agent closely plies, And a' his kittle cases tries.
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 99:
Syne ane they ca'ed his Counsel, that his awgent Bow-Wow had ready forrit, the Judge alloo'd to speak for the auld villain afore he gied him his sentence.

2. As in Eng., one who acts as the representative of a business firm, etc., but is not wholly employed by them. Formerly bankmanagers and railway station-masters in rural areas freq. acted on this basis and the word agent is still occas. used for these informally (Sc. 1927 Dict. Occupational Terms 791). The Institute of Bankers in Scot. officially dropped the word in favour of manager in July 1946. Sc. 1774 Session Papers, Scott v. Stewart (12 May 1796) 1:
In the year 1774, the pursuer was appointed agent for the Bank of Scotland at Kelso.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. v.:
Mr Thomson the banker - agent, that is, for the County-bank.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 199:
The Factors is geyan affen Bank-Agents forbye.
Rxb. 1916 Border Mag. (Jan.) 17:
The "agent" of this North British outpost only booked 7½d as the fare total.

[Lat. agens, agentem, pr.p. of agere, to do.]

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"Agent n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



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