Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FESH, v., n. = Eng. fetch.

I. v. A. Sc. forms:

1. Pres.t.: fesh (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 101; Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 41; Lnk. 1827 Jamie Douglas in Child Ballads No. 204 A xiv.; Dwn. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 89) mostly m.Sc., obsol.; fess (Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm I. i.; Knr. 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 40; Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxi.; ne.Sc., Ags., Wgt. 1951); †fash (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 90, 1793 Trans. Bch. Field Club XIV. 77); feetch (Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 30); faetch (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Oct. 25)). Fetch is the normal form in s.Sc.

2. Pa.t.: (1) Strong: fuish (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 51; Per., Fif., Peb., Bwk., Ayr. 1951); fush (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 75; Fif. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 68; Slg.3 1942); fesh (Ags. 1945 H. B. Cruickshank in Scots Mag. (April) 47); feish (Abd. 1809 J. Skinner Amusements 90), feesh (Abd. 1905 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 173), fiess (Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm II. xix.); feess, fies(s), feiss, fees(e) (ne.Sc. 1866–1951); foosh (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242; Abd. (Deeside) 1932 E. Dieth Buchan Dial. 162); fosh (Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 15; Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242); fotch (Ayr. a.1843 J. Stirrat Poems (1869) 12; s.Ags., Fif., s.Ayr. 1950). (2) Weak: feshed (Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 135); fess't (Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie 'Twixt Hills and Sea 15); feetcht (Sh.11 1951).

3. Pa.p.: (1) Strong: fuishen (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242; Bwk. 1951); fushen (Sc. 1820 Glenfergus II. 161; Abd. (Deeside) 1932 E. Dieth Buchan Dial. 162); fuschen (Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present 41); foshen (Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 235; Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242); feshen (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags.19 1951); †fashen (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 71); fessen (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 45; mn. and sn.Sc. 1951); faitchen (Hdg. 1889 J. Lumsden Lays Linton 108), -in; futchin (Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 35); fotchen (Rnf.1 1920; Ags. 1949 per Ags.18). (2) Weak: feshed (Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 64), rare; fesst (Abd. 1951). [fɛʃ, fɛs; Sh. fi:tʃ; pa.t. føʃ, foʃ, fuʃ, fi:s, fotʃ; pa.p. føʃən, foʃ-, fʌʃ-, fɛs-, fɛʃ-, fɛtʃ-, fotʃ-]

B. Sc. usages:

1. With advs.: (1) to fesh hame, to give birth to, assist the birth of. See Hame, III. 2.; (2) to fesh up, to bring up, rear, nurture, of children, animals, plants (ne.Sc., Ags. 1951). Vbl.n. fessin up. Also in n.Eng. dial. (2) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 123:
Just as their ain she's fashen up, and ta'en For Dick's ae dother, now by ilka ane.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 45:
He fesses up ten caar ilky year.
Kcd. 1900 “W. Gairdner” Glengoyne I. 26:
William didna fesh up his faimly weel.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 193:
They tell the bairns 'at they feese them up, an' they ocht to pey for that.

2. intr. To draw the breath with difficulty; to pant, gasp (Sh.10 1951); “of a dying person” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. fetchin, of the breath, drawn with difficulty (Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 56). Ayr. 1785 Burns To J. Goldie iv.:
Now she fetches at the thrapple, An' fights for breath.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 143:
Tam, fetchin fast to gain his win', Laid down the muckle haimmer.
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 67:
I wis standin' pechin' an' fetchin'.

3. Of a horse: to pull by jerks. Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Mare xii.:
Thou never braindg't, an' fetch't, an' flisket.

4. Phrs.: (1) fill an fesh ben (ne.Sc. 1951), fill an fesh mair (Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1951), applied as a n. to lavish or extravagant living; (2) sad fetcht, sorra feetcht, euphem. for deil fetch (h)it, s.v. Deil, II. 2 = nothing at all (Sh.10 1951). Also no a feetcht, id. (Sh.11 1951). (1) Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 12–13:
Thae flunkie trash wha ken naething but fill and fesh mair.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy vi.:
We hae mense and discretion, and are moderate of our mouths, but here, frae the kitchen to the ha', it's fill and fetch mair frae the tae end of the four and twenty till the t'other.
Abd. 1887 R. S. Robertson On Bogie's Banks 106:
'Twud be “fill an' fesh ben” ilka day o' the year, An' cauld carkin' puirtith wud cause ye nae fear.
Abd.27 1951:
They'll seen win throw their siller at “full an fess ben.”
(2) Sh. 1901 T. P. Ollason Mareel 94:
If I stüd ipo my croon Sad fetcht o' peace is wi' 'er.
Sh. 1901 Shet. News (30 March):
Hit's ill alaek fir man an' baest, An' sorra feetcht can trive atil it.

II. n. †1. A deep, difficult breath, a gasp, as of a dying person (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Sc. 1709 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 158:
In the midst of prayer he left his ratling, and the pangs and fetches of death began.

2. A pull, jerk, tug (Sh.10 1951). Sh. 1898 Shet. News (6 Aug.):
Bawby lat doo Magnus gie him a fetch, an' dan hit'll be ower a' da shünner.

3. A quantity. Cf. Eng. dial. fetch, a bundle. Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xl.:
I am as fond of a nimble fetch of adventures as any man.

4. “The face of an unworked area of coal between the lowest level and the outcrop or boundary of old workings” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 28).

5. In distilling home-made whisky: the reddish liquid that precedes the real whisky quasi “fetching” it, the foreshot; “kept to rub on sores, for rheumatics, etc.” (Ayr.4 1928). Also fatch (Id.).

[O.Sc. has fesche, from 1547, a variant of fetche, c.1420. The orig. weak conjug. has become strong acc. to the class VI type of O.E. v., appar. first in the pa.t. Hence fuish, fees, the other forms developing through various analogical back formations. In meaning 3. of the v. and 2. of the n., there may be some confusion with Fitch.]

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"Fesh v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2020 <>



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