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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CUT, n.1 Also cutt. Used as in Eng. The following meanings are peculiar to Sc.

1. (1) A certain quantity of woollen or linen yarn, gen. 120 rounds of a 93 in. reel, i.e. 300 ells or 310 yards. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 Rec. Conv. Royal Burghs (1885) 273: 
The short reel be one quarter long, one eln about, have six score threeds in every cut, three cuts to the hank, and eight hanks in the spindle.
Sc. 1896 Fleming Reid & Co. Price List 5: 
Our Wools are retailed in England by Weight, and in Scotland by "Cut." There are 120 threads to a "Cut."
Sc. 1949 Sample Card from Messrs Tulloch, Lerwick
The price is 3/- per cut post free. (A cut is a measure of 300 yards but it weighs approx. two ounces.)
Abd. 1889 Bon-Accord (9 Feb.) 21: 
About 40 spindles of Strong 4-Ply Fingering Worsted to be sold at 2d per cut.
Abd.29 1947
My mother tells me that fifty years ago or so women used to get sixpence per cut for knitting socks.

(2) A term used in spinning to indicate the grist or thickness of woollen yarn (see quot. and cf. Galashiels cut s.v. Galashiels).Sc. 1947 A. Sharp (Patons and Baldwin Ltd.) in Letter (27 Jan.):
A one cut woollen yarn means one hank of yarn measuring 300 yards weighing 24 ounces. A two cut yarn would be two hanks each measuring 300 yards weighing together 24 ounces, and so on.

(3) A section of a haddock line, a quarter of the total, of 60 fathoms length (Mry. 1933).

2. Temper (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.13, Kcb.10 1941).Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood 18:
She's terrible short i' the cut.
Ags. 1927 (per Ags.9):
The auld man's in an ill cut the day.

3. “A lot or piece of ground, as ‘a cut of turnips or potatoes'” (Uls.2 1929); “the pasture-ground which a sheep adopts” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. U.S.A. cut, a cultivated field or portion of one (D.A.E.).

4. “A pack or lot of sheep or lambs, especially as allocated to a particular pasture” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also found in Nhb. dial. (E.D.D.).Bnff.2 1941:
When a flock of sheep are being sold by auction, any given number separated from the rest at random is called a “cut.”
Rxb. 1914 Kelso Chron. (11 Dec.) 4/1:
A shepherd coming to a new place, of course, at first has to become acquainted with how the sheep go in cuts, and what ground each cut pastures over each day.

5. “A score (ranking less than a Hail) gained by cutting the handball in the river opposite the goal” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Known to Lnk.111941 for Rxb.Rxb. 1909 Jedburgh Gazette (5 Feb.) 3/3:
Result of the day's play — Uppies, three hails; Doonies, one hail, one cut.

6. (See quot.) Phs. abbrev. of Eng. cutting.Mearns 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 278:
The plants or cuts [of potatoes] are dropt in at a distance of nine or ten inches in the rows.

7. “The open side. In longwall working, one face in advance of another gives it cut” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 22).

Comb.: cut shot, “a shot designed to bring down coal which has been sheared or opened up on one side” (Ib.).

8. In pl.: (1) “the iron mountings on a swingle-tree” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 156, cutts; Kcb.10 1941); (2) the clevis of a plough (Kcb.10 1943).

9. In phrs.: (1) a cut of a man, “a sturdy middle-sized man” (Cai.8 1934; Cai.7, Bnff.2 1941); (2) cut-an-dry, ellipt. for cut and dried tobacco (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1941); last quot. in N.E.D. a.1735.(2) Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1817) 220:
There'll be plenty of pipe, and a glorious supply Of the good sneesh-te-bacht, and the fine cut-an-dry.

[Cut, a quantity of yarn, containing 120 rounds of the reel, appears in O.Sc. from 1624 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cut n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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