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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLET, adj., n.1, v. Also flett, flate; †flit (Sh.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. flat. See also Flat.

I. adj. As in Eng. (Sc. 1887 Jam.; e. and wm.Sc. 1952).Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 117:
Ye canna ca't hairsh, . . . ye canna ca't sherp, . . . and flett it cud never be.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 38:
“Is it her,” sez I, “the cross-lukin, lanky, flet-fitted crater.”
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 69:
Lift up the flet stane that I tauld ye o'.
Gsw. 1931 H. S. Roberton Curdies 832.:
They ironed his back wi' flet irons, jist like a shurt.
Lnk. 1982 Duncan Glen in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 57:
I'm flet on my back ablow a wee stane
and the blue sky growes paler
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 35:
"Oh, it's yersel, John!" syne s'she,
an lukit-up at him, tae see
whit garred him caa ben hoose lik that,
as black as onie luckie cat,
yit lukin duin an doon an flet.

II. n. 1. A broad, flat piece of arable land (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.), “cultivated by different occupants in alternate strips” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., flit), now gen. as an element in place-names (Sh.10 1952) [cf. Faer. fløttur, id.]; a flat stretch of road, a level.e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 16:
The road's nae flet.

2. A saucer (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915, Fif., Lth. 1926, Ayr. 1923 Wilson; m.Lth., wm.Sc. 1951); the under-plate of a flower pot (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.).Rnf. 1861 M. Barr Poems 218:
Braw china cups and china flets, Wi' coarser ware o' delf.
Lnk. 1877 W. McHutchison Poems 210:
Cup after cup, flet after flet, Till nane were left o' a' the set.
Gsw. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 14:
She pit ma cup on the flett upside down.
s.Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 782:
In course the hostess would announce she was going to “wat a cup o' tea.” Then she would get out the “cups an' flets”

3. In pl.: the generic term for flat fish at markets (Fif.17, Bwk.3 1952). In sing. specif. of the skate, Raja batis (Ork., 1929 Marw.).

4. A floor or storey of a house, “most commonly written flat” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). See Flat, n., 3.; a part of a textile works where one particular operation is carried on, as spinning flet, warping flet, etc. (wm.Sc.1 1952).Edb. 1884 R. F. Hardy Glenairlie ii. v.:
The Gallowgate, No. 197, third flett, and the richt-hand door in the stair.

III. v. To pour (tea) into one's saucer (Slg.3, m.Lth.1 1952; Edb., Ayr. 2000s).Gsw. 1937 Bulletin (9 March) 12:
She's unco fine, she'd raither sca'd her mou' nor flet her tea.
Gsw. 1991 Anna Blair More Tea at Miss Cranston's 34:
... we used to see them flettin' their tea. D 'you know what that is? It's pourin' it into your saucer to drink.
Edb. 1992:
My grandad aye fletted his tea - an take what I got if I tried to copy him.

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"Flet adj., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Dec 2022 <>



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