Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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AIRT, ART, AIRTH, n.2 Point of the compass, quarter; also more gen., direction. Gen.Sc. [ert, ɛrt Sc.; erθ n.Sc., em.Sc.; e1rθ sn.Sc.; art + ert Uls.]

1. n. Sc. 1712 Prof. Blackwell Letters in Spalding Club Misc. (1841) I. 207:
Since Moonday last, Mr Carstares and I have been running amongst the members in all arts of the city, endevouring to shew the unaccountablenes of the same.
Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 253:
But frae that Airth we needna fear great Skaith.
Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 10:
What airt is the wind in — How is the wind? From what quarter does it blow?
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Airt is the general pronunciation in the West of S., airth in the Eastern counties.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 51:
That gate I'll had, gin I the airths can keep.
Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xlvi.:
There's naething nae mair to come ower me, Blaw the win' frae ony airt.
Ags. 1846 A. Laing Wayside Flowers (1878) 120:
An' wooers come frae ilka airth. [“Airth not airt is the common Montrose and Brechin form, and Laing was a Brechin man.” Ags.1]
Fif. 1896 “G. Setoun” R. Urquhart xii. 131:
He's awa' down to the manse. We might tak' a dander that airt thegither.
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop Poems, Songs, etc. 9:
It's your ain faut, Johnnie Mathison, for Kirsty Renton crosses ower the muir every ither day, an' you never look the airt she's on.
Edb. 1721 A. Pennecuik Streams from Helicon, Meditation iii.:
Till these come flying on the Wings of Wind, From diff'rent Airths no more to be disjoin'd.
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 97:
Sits the wind in that airt?
Hdg.1 1931:
Airth is the usual form in Hdg.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Of a' the Airts i.:
Of a' the airts the wind can blaw I dearly like the west.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Ringan Gilh. II. xxx.:
I arose and went towards the airt from which it had come.
s.Sc. 1730 T. Boston Memoirs 30:
They can have little hope from that airth.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn. 3:
Art, airt, point of the compass. “What art is the win' in the day?”

2. Phrase: Airt o' the clicky. The direction shown by the fall of a stick. Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 11:
Airt o' the Clicky. — When a pilgrim at any time gets bewildered, he poises his staff perpendicular on the way, then leaves it to itself, and on whatever direction it falls, that he pursues; and this little trait of superstition is termed the Airt o' the Clicky — the direction of the staff.

[Etym. uncertain. Art occurs in Mid.Eng. in 14th cent., and in Sc. in early 15th. Airt appears in early 16th cent., airth a little later. Cf. Gael. aird, point of the compass.]

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"Airt n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Oct 2021 <>



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