Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GUT, n.1, v.1 Also †gutt. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. In pl.: the stomach, as the seat of the appetite, the belly. Gen.Sc. Rarely in sing. Also colloq. or dial. in Eng.Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 24:
In frae the pleugh wi' toom, toom guts, Comes John . . .
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 172:
Wi' pangin' gut an' wizen fu' O' nasty Whisky.
Sc. 1858 Sc. Haggis 141:
Gang awa' to the soup kitchen, Willie, and get your guts fu' o' kail.
Bnff. 1903 Banffshire Jnl. (22 Dec.) 2:
Let Cockneys cruice wi' creeshy guts, Get beef, an' tripe an beer.

Deriv. gutsfu, something which will fill the belly, a stomachful. Sc. 1898 W. Sinclair Life & Humour 60:
The first bottle he came to contained beer, which he described as "a gutsfu', but naethin' in't - English Kirk".

2. In pl.: a glutton. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 29:
A greedy guts ne'er got a gude meltith.

3. Phrs. & Combs.: (1) gut an' ga', see Ga'; (2) gut-gullie, v., to eat gluttonously, overeat (Mearns 5 1955); (3) gut-haniel, colic (Sc. 1825 Jam.); see also Haingle: (4) gutpock, the stomach of a fish (Cai. 1955), see Cut, n.2; also in n.phr. gut-pock(poke)-herring, a herring which feeds largely on small crustaceans (Arg. 1955); (5) gut-scraper, a fiddler (Bnff.2 1940); also in w.Yks. dial.; not Sc. in orig. but popularised by Burns; (6) thick as guts, very dense, applied to fog or snowdrift (Ork.5 1955); (7) to gie someane the gut to gnaw, to give someone nothing at all, a contemptuous reply to a request or demand.(4) Arg. 1869 Proc. Nat. Hist. Soc. Gsw. 244:
At Tarbert, about the middle of June, I found the stomachs of the herring generally packed with entomostraca, and nothing else. The herring in this condition are called “gut-poke” herring.
Sc. 1884 R. Hogarth Herring Fishery 18:
It is universally thought that there are two classes of herrings, the “Gutpock,” or herring that feeds, and the herring that derives its nourishment from water only.
Ags. 1893 Brechin Advertiser (7 Feb.) 3:
An' syne she made something she ca'd fish an' sauce frae the heads an' gut-poks o' twa'r-three muckle haddocks.
Arg.1 1930:
Gut-poke Herring, poor-conditioned herring which have fed greedily on copepods and larval stages of other crustacea. This feeding decays rapidly and the whole stomach of the fish, especially in warm weather, rots and goes to pieces, and so such fish are useless and not marketable or fit for curing.
(5) Ayr. 1786 Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. vi. i.:
Her charms had struck a sturdy caird As weel as poor gut-scraper.
Mry. 1851 Lintie o' Moray (Cumming) 23:
Who of music . . . Beats every gut-scraper all hollow.
Edb. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 26:
For they needed nae “gut scrapers,” Their ain warblers were the choir.
(7) Abd. 1900 E.D.D.:
Gie ye a ha'penny? Gie ye the gut to gnaw.

II. v. As in Eng. Phr. to gut fish afore you catch (get) them, = to count your chickens before they are hatched, to anticipate events (Ags. c.1880 in Montrose Standard (29 March 1929).Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xxxvi.:
I redde you to consider weel what ye're doing, and gut nae fish til ye catch them.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) II. 123:
North. A fourth [woman said], “He [bachelor] has cruel grey-green een, and looks like a man that would murder his wife.” Shepherd. That was gutting fish afore you catch them.

Hence gutter, a woman employed in gutting fish. Gen.Sc. in all herring areas.Sc. 1854 H. Miller Schools (1860) iii.:
Bevies of young women employed as gutters.
Sh. 1883 Chambers's Jnl. 310:
His wife and daughters are “gutters” or packers or salters.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (11 Aug.):
Da gutters awa' at Baltasund left da cran boxes, or faarlins, as they ca' them, lipprin' wi' herrin'.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Gut n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: