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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CAUTION, CAITION, Cation, Caishen, Cashon, Kaishin, n. and v. [′keʃ(ə)n; ′kɑʃ(ə)n]

I. n.

1. Security; bail. Gen.Sc. Still used in Sc. law (Abd.16 1939, caution), and in U.S.A. E. C. Smith in Braid Haaick (1927) 13 gives the form kaishin.Sc. 1707 First Earl of Cromartie in Earls of Crm. (ed. Fraser 1876) II. 53:
The Lords made Gordon also enter the pannel, which makes men to thinke that whoever is persued criminally wil, in example of this precedent, draw all persuers in to the pannel with the criminals, and oblidge him to find caution.
Sc. 1743 Records Conv. Burghs (1915) 131:
They shall renew their caution whenever they shall be required thereto.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xx.:
That is to say, in plain terms, ye are for withdrawing your caution with the folk of the house.

2. The person who becomes security, a surety. Now obs. in St.Eng. (N.E.D.). Known to Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Kcb.1 1939. Also in phr. to come caition (cation), to stand security (for a person) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., — caition). Also fig. = guarantee.Sc. 1894 R. L. Stevenson Letters (1899) II. 332:
He was caution to Robert the Second's will.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 57:
Ded, I'll cut the rop'; an' I'll come cation I'se no' touch thee leg wi' the gullie.
Ags. 1824 Literary Olio (24 Jan.) 29/3:
I'll be cashon for ye.
Fif. 1898 “S. Tytler” Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses i.:
Gentlemen who had faith in her were “caution” for her.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Scots Prologue (Cent. ed.) ll. 41–42:
Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caition Ye'll soon hae Poets o' the Scottish nation.

II. v. To be surety for, to wager, guarantee.Abd.(D) 1929 W. Robbie Mains of Yonderton 19:
If he thocht there wis onything a-gaen he widna be lang o' pittin in an appearance aw'll caishen 'im.
wm.Sc. [1835–1837] Laird of Logan (1868) 465:
“The kail winna keep — they'll be sour gin Sunday.” My reply to that is, “put ye neither sybos nor leeks in them, and I'll ca'tion them.”
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 216:
I'll caition ye for tippence, he put in nae mae after 'at.

[O.Sc. cautioun, causioun(e), security or surety for the performance of an obligation (D.O.S.T.). The Latin diphthong au must have been levelled to a at an early date but retained in school and pulpit. See etym. note to Cowshin.]

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"Caution n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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