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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAT, Cathe, n.2, v.1 As in St.Eng. = the pointed stick used in the game of tip-cat. Dim. cattie. The following uses are peculiar to Sc.

I. n.

1. “A light bat used in tossing or driving a ball” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6, cat, cathe; Slg.3 1938).

2. Phrases and combs.: (1) cat an(d) bat, catty and batty, the game of tip-cat (Cai.7, Edb.1, Lnk.3 1938; s.Sc. 1938 J. Keddie in Border Mag. (Jan.) 14; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (2) cat and dog, cattie an' doggie, (a) a game for three players, two of whom are provided with clubs, called dogs, with which they defend a hole, the holes being twenty-six feet apart. The third player throws the cat, a small piece of wood, from one hole to another, his object being to get it into the hole. If the defender strikes the cat, he changes places with the other defender and scores one point (Ags., Lth. 1808 Jam. (adapted), cat and dog; Kcb.1 1938); (b) another name for Eng. tip-cat (Abd. 1938 A. Keith in Abd. Press and Jnl. (26 March) 6; Ags.17, Fif.1 1938); (3) cat-an'-dog-hole, a game played by two (see quot.); not known to our correspondents; †(4) cat-beds, a game in which beds of turf of irregular size had to be cut up to a certain depth, determined by the throw of a knife. The player who was last in finishing his task had to carry all the divots a certain distance. If any were dropped, the rest of the players pelted him with them (Per. 1825 Jam.2 (adapted)); †(5) cat i' the hole, a game similar to rounders, but with holes instead of bases, into which the players had to place their sticks or “cats” when they had run from one hole to another at a given signal. One boy had a ball instead of a “cat,” which he tried to put into an empty hole. If he succeeded in doing so before the player with the stick reached the hole, then the latter had to take his place with the ball (Fif. 1825 Jam.2 (adapted)).(1) Dundee 1987 Norman Lynn Row Laddie Sixty Years On 59-60:
The delighted recipient of a Christmas pocket-knife was ever short of things to whittle, and what better than a 'Catty and Batty' the sizes usually determined by the material to hand. The ideal catty was around 3 " x 1 " square in section and tapered to a point at each end. The four sides were marked in Roman numerals, carved or burned out. The batty could be formed as a miniature cricket bat, but more often than otherwise, just a box spar, one end reduced for grasping. The rules were numerous but simple, the enjoyment obtained chiefly by the tipping of the catty smacking this by the batty. This activity known elsewhere as tipcat.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle i. i.:
She thought of the other children . . . who would be fraternising to play skipping ropes, rounders, cat and bat.
(2) (b) Abd. 1873 J. Ogg Willie Waly 76:
A famous resort for the “Cattie an' Doggie” — A game quite familiar to every young rogie.
(3) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 23:
Cat-an'-dog-hole. A hole is dug into which one of the players tries to roll a ball from a fixed point, called the stance. The other player stands in front of the hole with a small bat, called the catch-brod, and endeavours to prevent the ball from entering the hole.
(5) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 325:
Tine cat, tine Game. An Allusion to a Play called Cat i' the Hole, and the English Kit, Cat. Spoken when Men at Law have lost their principal evidence.

II. v. “To toss or drive by striking with the hand or with a light club or bat; also, to play handball” (Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

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"Cat n.2, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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