Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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COONT, v. and n. Sc. form of Eng. count. The Eng. form is also exemplified in Sc. usages. [kunt]

I. v.

1. To do arithmetic. Gen.Sc. Abd.(D) 1916 G. Abel Wylins fae my Wallet 31:
I leernt to coont, an' vreet, an' read.
Hdg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 105:
And generally they [the school children] are taught to read and count.

Hence (1) coonter, arithmetician; (2) coontin', arithmetic. (1) Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ix.:
A “byous clever chiel, a feerious gweed coonter.”
(2) Rnf. 1877 J. M. Neilson Poems 48:
At the schule he's in coontin', an' writin', an' a'.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Ingleside Musings 140:
There's no a feller loon At coontin', psalm, or carritch.

2. To settle (accounts), sometimes followed by to instead of with; “to have a yearly settlement with the landlord” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Bnff.2, Abd.19 1937). Sc. 1827 Scott Surgeon's Daughter in Chrons. Canongate II. iii.:
She was sure Dr Grey would count to him to the last farthing; for everybody kend that he was a just man where siller was concerned.
Bnff. 1728 Old Receipt Book (per G. J. Milne):
Counted with John Menrie who hath payed all his fouls excep one hen and two kapons.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
We can coont aboot the price o't [a school book] at the en' o' the raith.

Hence counting-dram, “the dram of spirits it was formerly the custom always to give after ‘counting.' The practice is still in use in some places” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

3. In phr. to count kin wi(th), to compare one's pedigree with (that of another) (Bnff.2, Abd.2 1937); “to be so near of kin that the degrees can be counted or exactly stated” (N.E.D.), to claim relationship. Sc. 1805 Scott Lay of Last Minstrel iv. xxiii.:
No knight in Cumberland so good, But William may count with him kin and blood.
Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
I'll count kin wi' him whenever he likes.
m.Sc. 1922 J. Buchan Huntingtower, Dedication 5:
There are coloured threads in Mr McCunn's pedigree, and, like the Bailie, he can count kin, should he wish, with Rob Roy himself through “the auld wife ayont the fire at Stuckavrallachan.”

II. n.

1. A sum in arithmetic. Gen. in pl. = arithmetic, sums. Gen.Sc. Abd.(D) 1920 G. P. Dunbar Guff o' Peat Reek 45:
The thocht o' coonts an' grammar gart him shiver a' the week.
Fif. 1905 “S. Tytler” Daughter of the Manse I. ii.:
Will you help me with the count the Master has given me, Neil?
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown v.:
What wi' her coonts, an' her history an' geography an' the rest o't, the bairn's never dune till the back o' eicht o'clock.

2. An account (Abd.19, Ags.1 1937). Obs. in this sense in Eng. Phr. to keep coonts, to do book-keeping. Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 5:
An' [he] richly train't oor han's an' min's . . . Tae makin' sneeds an' keepin' coonts.

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"Coont v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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