Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLINT, KLINT, n. and v. [klɪnt]

1. n.

(1) A cliff, a high crag, a precipice (Kcb.9 19–37); “a projecting rock” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). In Clydesd. it is restricted to “the shelves at the side of a river” (1825 Jam.2). Gall. c.1870 J. Campbell in Bards of Gall. (ed. Harper 1889) 111:
Dizzy heugh, clint, an' caves.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders xxii.:
Saw beneath us the whole of the land backwards, with its lochs and lochans, clints and mosses.
Rxb. 1875 R. Murray in Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 34/2:
“Katie Veitches Chair,” — a clint on a summit so called from it being the favourite seat of Katie who tenanted the grounds there.

Hence clinty, stony, rocky. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 28:
Nane but the clinty Craigs and scrogy Briers Were Witnesses of a' his Granes and Tears.
Rxb. 1855 A. Jeffrey Hist. Roxburghshire I. 270:
The country round being full of clinty knolls.

(2) “Any pretty large stone, of a hard kmd” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.2); stone in coal. e.Dmf.2 1917:
There's sic a lot o' clints in mee coal.

†(3) “A rough coarse stone, always first thrown off in curling, as being most likely to keep its place on the ice” (Clydes., Gall. 1825 Jam.2); “an outlying stone” (Tweedd. Ib., klint). Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 166:
But miss'd his aim, an' gainst the herd Dang frae his clint a flaw.

Hence clinter, “the player of a clint in curling” (Clydes. 1825 Jam.2).

(4) “A crevice amongst bare limestone rocks” (Sc. 1790 F. Grose Gl.). Also clintin. Obs. except in poetry. Sc. 1904 Rare Willie Drowned in Ballads (ed. Child) No. 215 B. i.:
She sought him east, she sought him west, She sought him braid and narrow, Till in the clintin of a craig She found him drowned in Yarrow. [Earlier versions of this ballad give clifting.]

2. v. Gen. of sheep: to be stranded (on a ledge of rock). Gall. 1930 Maxwell Place Names of Gall. 50:
“Yon sheep's clinted on a dass,” I have heard said when the animal had fed along a ledge till it could not turn.
Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 21:
When a sheep gets fixed among rocks it clints, and is often difficult to get out.

[O.Sc. clint, clynt, a crag, cliff, rock (D.O.S.T.), n.Mid.Eng. clint, id. A nasalised form from the same root as Clet, q.v. Cf. Dan. and Sw. klint, steep cliff, summit of a hill.]

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"Clint n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <>



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