Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DOITER, v. Also †doitter, dighter, †dytter, doither; ditter. [′dɔɪtər, ′dɪtər Sc., Abd. and Ayr. + ′dəitər]

1. To walk or move unsteadily, to totter, stumble; to flit about; to potter, hang about (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 223, dytter; Bnff.2, Abd.9 (doiter, dighter), Fif.10 1940; Slk. 1947 (per Abd.27), ditter; Uls.2 1929, doit(h)er). Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick I. xi.:
I wan up wi' a warsle an' fan' I could doiter o'er the stenners.
Sc. 1934  Scotsman (25 Aug.) 10:
Through Jùly gloamin ditterin, A silly baukiebird alang The deid-quate ruifs is chitterin.
Abd. 1929  P. Baxter in Scots Mag. (March) 451:
Noo, I gaed ditterin' roon the biggin', and I cam' on a lean-to shed far the boiler was.
Fif. c.1942 14 :
“Is that no him A hear doiteran alang the road?” said a St Andrews Home Guard contemptuously of his platoon commander, who walks with a very slight limp.
Fif. 1947  (per Fif.14):
He was kept back or delayed or something of the kind “ditterin for ma mate.”
Bwk. 1897  R. M. Calder Poems 262:
Auld care gangs doiterin' by my door.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 263:
We totter through the birkie bank, an doiter owre the brae.

2. (1) intr. “To dote, to become superannuated” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2). Now only in ppl.adj. = stupid, confused, witless, gen. from old age (Fif.10 1940; Ayr.4 1928, dightered; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn., doithered). Also in Nhb. dial. Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi.:
I gaed aboot the hoose like ane daivert an' doitert.
Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet viii.:
Auld, doitered, donner't, daidlin' creature.
Lnk. 1927  G. Rae Where Falcons Fly xiii.:
Whaur water gangs, shairly twae men, though yin is an auld doitered fule, can lippen on twae-three strong boards weel bund wi' rapes o' straw.

(2) tr. To bemuse, make witless. Dmf. 1844  E. Sloan in Sc. Songs (ed. Whitelaw) 463:
The pawkie wee quean has doiter'd me clean.

[Freq. of Doit, v. Ditter may be merely imit. Cf. Didder, Dotter.]

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"Doiter v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2019 <>



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