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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.

CLAITH, n. Gen.Sc. form of Eng. cloth and used with all senses found in St.Eng. Note, however, the peculiarly Sc. uses in 1. [kleθ Sc., but Abd. + klɛθ]

1. Sing.

 Sc. form of Eng. cloth. Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 11:
Davie pickit it up an pooched it. Inside his pooch, it daunced up an doon in a fine fizz, like a hen on a hett girdle, near caain a hole in the claith.

Sc. usages: (1) Clothing (Abd.9, Slg.3 1940). This meaning is obs. in Eng., last quot. c.1620 (N.E.D.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 14:
We're well enough, we hae baith meat an claith, An' o'er bauld to complain at ither skaith.

(2) Winding-sheet, in phr.: in 'e claith, dead and buried.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 225:
He wasna lang in 'e claith till she selt the farm.

(3) Comb.: claith kist, blanket chest.Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. Ork. Par. (1922) 96:
The tooth, if not greatly decayed, was carefully laid away in the shuttle of the “claith kist” until the death of the owner, when it was reverently placed in the coffin beside the remains.

2. Pl., claiths, claithes. Cf. Claes n. pl.

(1) Clothes, wearing apparel (Fif.1 1940).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 315:
Some shaw their Wit in wearing Claiths, And some in coining of new Aiths.
Ags. 1896 J. Barrie Sentimental Tommy x.:
I stood on many a dreich night at the corner of that street . . . and all the time the shrewd blasts cutting through my thin trails of claithes.
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 24:
Somewhair ah kin git tae dry clathes ... they Pearsons ... eywis in the dryin green ...

(2) Bed-clothes (Fif.10 1940).Sc. 1724–1727 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) 27:
With an auld bedden o' claiths, Was left me by my mither.

[O.Sc. has claith, claithe, from 1450, common variants of the earlier clath, which is found with all meanings except 1 (2) above; also pl. claith(e)s, etc., as above (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Claith n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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