Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GUEST, n. Also †gest. Sc. usage: The name given to any object considered to foretell the coming of a stranger (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Ork. 1955). Slk. 1807  Hogg Mountain Bard 27, Note:
If a feather, a straw, or any such thing be observed hanging at a dog's nose, or beard, they call that a guest, and are sure of the approach of a stranger. . . . They judge also from the length of this guest, what will be the size of the real one, and, from its shape, whether it will be a man or a woman.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 222:
“It's ill ta drook a laughin guest.” A brand standing by itself in the fire was called a guest; a smoking brand betokened an unwelcome guest, while a bright brand meant a friend. The coming of the unwelcome guest might be prevented by pouring water on the brand, but care was needed lest the act should bring misfortune on a friend, who might fall into a mire or burn.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
Gest. Half-burnt brand, standing right on its end, without any support, when the fire wastes away; this is considered as a fore-telling of a guest's arrival at the house; if, when touched with the fingers or tongs, the brand, “guest,” blazed up, then it was said: “dis is gaun to be a welcome gest.”

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"Guest n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2019 <>



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