Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BEET, BEAT, v.2 and n.3 [bit Sc.; bet Fif. (coast)]

1. v. Pa.t., pa.p., bet. [bet, bèt]

(1) To mend, repair, esp. nets. Sc. 1887  Jam.6 Add.:
He was quietly beetin his net on the green.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
Beet, to repair a boat, to tar and paint it.
w.Dmf. 1889  J. Shaw in Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 148:
In Tynron beeting a dyke means mending it.

(2) To help (1825 Jam.2), to comfort. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems II. 185:
This Man may beet the Poet bare and clung, That rarely has a Shilling in his Spung.
Rxb. 1826  A. Scott Poems 83:
An' at the muse, dear lassie, yet I've taen nae dorts, nor sullen pet, I own my needs, she's often bet.

(3) To supply something wanting — e.g. replace lost hooks on a fishing-line. Sc. 1823  Blackw. Mag. XIII. 314:
If twa or three hunder pounds can beet a mister for you in a strait, ye sanna want it.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
To fasten a bit of snoodline on to a hook to facilitate the fixing upon a line.
Bnff. 1930 2 :
Beet the line. To overhaul a line for the purpose of replacing lost tippens or hooks. “Beet th' line, Jonnie, till I rin ower to Findlay's for some new hyooks.”
e.Abd. 1881  J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 5:
Tae makin' sneeds an' keepin' coonts, An' splicin' lines an' beetin' wints.
Bwk. 1917  J. W. Downie in Kelso Chron. (1 June):
The husband “beats the wants” (replaces lost hooks).
Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B. 52:
Beet. To make up deficiencies of (yarn) in the warp by knotting in a piece.

(4) To kindle or add fuel to a fire (lit. and fig.). Transferred to a person, hence to warm, to warm up; perhaps, in quot. 2, there may be a confusion with Beek, v.1

(a) lit. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 273:
Now the Sun's gane out o' Sight, Beet the Ingle, and snuff the Light.
m.Lth. 1816  J. Aikman Poems 227:
She brought a stool, gar't him sit near, An' beet himsel aside the flame.
Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 25:
But beet the fire! — we'll mak a shift The infant year to welcome.
Rnf. 1835  R. Tannahill Poems and Songs (1876) 131:
Her sapless fingers scarce can nip The wither'd twigs tae beet her fire.
s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 351:
Forbye, I hae the kiln to beet, Wi' fuel late and early.

(b) fig. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 10:
But with mair wyles an' can [skill] they bet the flame.
Ags. 1820  A. Balfour Contemplation, etc. 276:
She ne'er forgot, that Love requires Mair skill to beet, than light, his fires.
Edb. 1838  W. McDowall Poems 198:
Haith, love I fear will soon grow cauld, If there's nocht to beet the lowe.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Cotter's Saturday Night xiii.:
Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poems (1897) 138:
Hope beets the youthfu' lover's flame Enjoyment gars us falter.

Phr. beet to, keep increasing the speed. Ayr. 1787  Burns Letter to W. Nicol (ed. Ferguson 1931) 94:
When ance her ringbanes and spavies . . . are fairly soupl'd, she beets to, beets to, and ay the hindmost hour the tightest.

(5) Comb.: beet master, a person or thing helpful in an emergency, hence a stop-gap. See Mister. Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality xl.:
Next she enlarged on the advantage of saving old clothes to be what she called “beet masters to the new.”

2. n. A needful thing, a want; gen. in pl. Sc. 1829  R. Chambers (ed.) Sc. Songs II. 588:
Sell hawkie, minnie, And buy the beets to me.

[Prob. a contr. for Beet-masters.] [O.Sc. bete, beit. G. Douglas Aen. vi. i. 15: beit thar myster, to ply their peculiar art or occupation. O.North. bta, W.S. bētan, to make better, and Mister, q.v., occupation, need.]

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"Beet v.2, n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jan 2020 <>



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