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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CHEAT, v. To deceive, mistake; as used pass. or impers. found only in Sc. and n.Eng. dial. A contracted form of the pa.p. is found in the Cai. quot. below and is known also to Cai.7 1939. For Sc. forms, see Chate. [tʃet, tʃit]

1. Pass. use. Known to Bnff.2 and our Abd., Ags., Fif. and Kcb. correspondents (1939).Cai. 1929 Caithness Forum in John o' Groat Jnl. (13 Sept.):
Says A t' masel', if 'at's no' Willie A'm cheat.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick ii.:
He's a hamely chiel yon, or I'm cheated.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 289:
I'm sair cheatit gin some o' your warstlers dinna warstle you out o' ony bit virtue and maidenly mense that ye hae.

2. Impers. use. Known to Cai.7, Bnff.2 and our Abd., Ags., Fif., Lnk. and Kcb. correspondents (1939).Bnff. 1885 Bnffsh. Jnl. (8 Sept.) 6:
For it cheats me gin there binna a hully bullerrie our't a' yet.
ne.Sc. 1883–1886 D. Grant Chrons. of Keckleton (1888) 77–78:
It cheats me, gentlemen, gin the candidate fir your suffrages . . . dinna fin' oot . . . that the electors o' Hillside Ward prefer plain common sense in braid Scotch to empty rant in nairrow English.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff xxii.:
But it cheats me if a' er coortin poors will woo'e a wink the nicht.

3. In n.phr.: cheat-the-wud(dy) (woody, widdie), one who has cheated the gallows; a rogue, knave (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1939). Also used attrib.Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
You, ye cheat-the-wuddy rogue, you here on your venture in the tolbooth o' Glasgow?
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xxii.:
The same cheat-the-widdie wha sold me a new horse.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Up Noran Water 15:
But wait, ma birkie cheat-the-wud.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick vi.:
They ca'd ane anither leears, an' cheat-the-wuddies, an' muckle füles.
Ayr. publ. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. and Poems 189:
He boutit up an' swore an aith He was nae Caird, but some deceiver, A cheat-the-woody, hie-sea riever.

Combs.: (1) cheat-bag, a dishonest person, a cheat; (2) cheat-the-belly, a jocular name for some insubstantial kind of food (Abd. 1975).(1) Fif. 1900 S. Tytler Logan's Loyalty xiv.: 
Are you ashamed to be married to the cousin of a common cheat-bag?

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"Cheat v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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