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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HET, adj. Also hett (Abd. 1739 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 39, 1768 A. Ross Helenore 6; e.Lth. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes and Sk. 52); hate (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1909 Old-Lore Misc. II. i. 25); haet (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 158; Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 15); hait; heyt (Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 Oct.), Cai. 1957); hoat. Adv. hetly (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 52, Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 67; Sc. 1808 Jam.). [Sc. hɛt, hæt; het; Cai. heit; hot]

1. Used as adj. and adv. in all senses of Eng. hot.Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 54:
It was slapped against the sufferer's throat, and yells of, 'It's too hoat!' met with the invariable reply, 'It has to be hoat to do ye ony good.'
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 31:
If you were barescud-nakit, aye and geared
Up guid and proaper, staunin' hoat for houghmagandie
I could lukk and lukk ett you, and no get randy.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 71:
An the whisky-flask aye seemed tae be hauf-fou, or hauf-tume, an the chips were aye het in their creishie pock.
Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 52:
"thon wiz a right brah summer, nineteen sixty fehv! Lang het days. Nichts tae."
Sh. 1994 Laureen Johnson in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 171:
He axed me what ta hell I wis playin at, haet wan meenit an cowld da next?

Sc. combs.: (1) het drink = (4) (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 261); (2) het fit, Sc. form of Eng. hot foot. Sc. phr. to play het fit to, see Play, v.; (3) het hands, a children's game in which the participants pile their hands one on top of the other, those underneath being consecutively withdrawn and placed as quickly as possible on top of the pile (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. Dishaloof, id.; †(4) het pint, a drink made from hot spiced ale to which sugar, eggs and spirits may be added, served at christening, wedding, or New Year festivities (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (5) het-skinned, fiery, irascible (Sc. 1825 Jam.; n. and em. Sc. (a) 1957); (6) het spurred, in hot haste, impetuous, eager. Cf. Eng. hotspur, id.; (7) het stoup = (4) (Sc. 1808 Jam.); †(8) hot-trod(d), -tred, -trade, the tracking down and pursuit of Border marauders by the aggrieved party; the signal for such pursuit. Common on both sides of the Border (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Now hist. See Trod, Trade; (9) het tuik, see Teuk; †(10) hot-wall, a wall heated by flues against which fruit trees were trained in order to assist ripening; (11) het waters, spirits (Sc. 1902 E.D.D.). Also in n.Eng. dial.(1) Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 77:
Hait Drink, frush butter'd Caiks and Cheese, That held their Hearts aboon.
(4) Edb. 1727 A. Pennecuik Poems (1787) 16:
I took a rest at Pepper-mill, A het pint and a double gill.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 191:
A het pint in a cup maun neist be made, To drink the health o' her that's brought to bed.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 34:
The lads, weel kennin what is due, Their new-year gifties take; Het-pints to warm the cauldrife mou, An' buns an' succar-cake.
Mry. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 295:
And gossips, and het pints, and clashin', And mony a lie was there.
Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 31:
A Het-pint, or caudle, was made of ale, spirits, sugar, and nutmeg, or cinnamon, mixed together in appropriate quantities, and boiled; and was carried about, on the first morning of the year, in the tea-kettle in which it was prepared.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xix.:
As to our het-pint, we were obligated to make the best of a bad bargain, making up with whisky what it wanted in eggs.
Dmf. 1836 J. Mayne Siller Gun 9:
Het-pints, weel spic'd, to keep the saul in, Around were flowing.
Sc. 1849 A. Bell Melodies 80:
Het-pint “a caudle made of spirits, milk, eggs and sugar.”
(5) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (1925) 52:
The twa war het within, An' het-skin'd fock to flyting soon begin.
(6) Dmb. 1868 J. Salmon Gowodean 117:
I'm aff, het spurred, to gain the prize.
(7) Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 147:
Het-stoups an' punch around war' sent, Till day-light was a-missin.
(8) Sc. 1774 T. Pennant Tour 1772 68:
Persons who were aggrieved . . . were allowed to pursue the hot-trode with hound and horn.
Sc. 1800 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) XII. 165:
I hope in God he has escaped the Sleuth hounds and the Hot Trade.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws v.:
For the law of the “hot-trodd” is this; that within six days of the lifting of any cattle, the harried parties may . . . cross the Border without let or hindrance . . . and recover their gear . . . if . . . they can lay their hands on it.
Rxb. 1937 Border Mag. (April) 60:
The warriors . . . could ford the Kershope Burn . . . penetrate the enemies' country, and lift what gear came to their hand, while with wry faces they could follow the “hot-trodd” with hue and cry, with horn and hound, as if they themselves had never broken a letter of the eighth Commandment.
(10) Sc. 1754 J. Justice Sc. Gardiner 12:
On Hot-walls I would choose to have no other Fruits than Vines.

2. Phrs.: (1) a het hert, a heart which is suffering from a bitter disappointment; hence applied to the disappointment itself (Abd.4 1931; ne. and wm.Sc. 1957). Phr. to gie one a het he(a)rt, to grieve deeply, disappoint bitterly. Cf. similar usage of sair hert s.v. Sair, and Hertscaud; (2) as lang as one's mou is het, while one is still on the subject, before the topic is dropped; (3) het beans and butter, a children's game resembling hunt-the-thimble (Teviotd. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sc. 1951 Sunday Post (23 Sept.) 11), the seeker becoming “hotter” as he nears the hidden object; (4) het rows and butter baiks, a boys' game (see quot.); (5) to get a het coat or sark, to be overheated through exertion, etc., to be thrown into a perspiration (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 129; Abd. 1957, sark); (6) to get (gie one) a het skin, to get (give) a sound thrashing (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.; (7) to get (gie someone) it het (an' reekin,), to scold or beat severely, to be scolded severely (Mry.1 1925; ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Lnk., Uls. 1957). Cf. sim. colloq. use of hot in Eng.; (8) to have one's kail het, see Kail, n.; (9) to keep the puddin' het, to keep the pace up, to maintain continuity, keep things going (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em.Sc., Ayr., Rxb. 1957). Cf. Eng. to keep the pot boiling, id.(1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xxi.:
No that I think the less of the het heart that Charlie has gi'en to us baith.
Ags. 1912 V. Jacob Songs of Ags. 12:
And my het he'rt drouned the wheel wi' its heavy beatin', “Lass, think shame.”
(2) Abd. 1928 A. Black Three Sc. Sk. 53:
Hiv ye onything else tae inform me as lang's yer mou's het?
(4) Ags. 1894 J. Inglis Oor Ain Folk 110:
Another good game was known as “het rows and butter baiks” . . . One boy stood against the hillside or against a wall, and another boy, putting his head against the first one's stomach, made a “backie,” which was immediately mounted by one of the boys from the crowd. . . . The captain of the game would now address the bowing lad. . . . “Lanceman, lanceman lo! Where shall this poor Scotchman go? Shall he go east, or shall he go west, Or shall he go to the huddie craw's nest?” [When all had been sent to various positions] . . . The three chief actors, and all who had remained in “the crow's nest,” ranged themselves in line . . . armed with a . . . stout Glengarry bonnet . . . the captain now yelled out: “Het rows and butter baiks,” whereupon all those who had been banished to the outposts came rushing in, attempting to touch number one, who was surrounded by his legion of bonneters.
Sc. 1903 R. Ford Children's Rhymes 83:
“Het Rowes and Butter Cakes,” in some places called “Hickety, Bickety,” is a purely boy's game.
(6) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
Mony a het skin ye hae gi'en me.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xi. 17:
He'se get his ain skin tichtlie het for him sune or syne.
(7) Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry xix.:
But gie him't het, my hearty cocks! E'en cowe the cadie!
Sc. 1826 Scott Journal (26 Feb.):
D—n me but I would give it them hot.
Abd. 1887 R. S. Robertson On Bogie's Banks 24:
Puir Jamie; to raise sic a “Shirramere,” He got it het an' reekin'.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 42:
He's a perfec' ne'er-do-weel. I'm thinkin' I gaed him't het an' reekin' this time.
Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 102:
A let 'im have it, het an' reekin'. I tel't 'im fat I thocht o' 'im.
(9) Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 118:
Their wives, instead o' flytin', help to keep the puddin' het, Weel kennin' gin ae word they said, a broken head they'd get.
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 30:
“Hae, laddie! keep the puddin' het,” whispered a good-natured farmer to the Speldrin, thrusting a handful of coppers into his hand.

3. Warm, comfortable (Ayr. 1957).Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie xvii.:
I would take a rung, and thrash every ane o' your het and fu' flunkeys out o' the house.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. x.:
The jinketting and jirbling with tea and with trumpery that brings . . . mony a het ha'-house to a hired lodging in the Abbey.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 175:
Man, ye haena a' the wit the folk gie ye credit for, else ye wadna left your ain het hame to fright Robin Scobie this nicht.
Ayr. 1848 J. Ramsay Woodnotes 245:
I ance . . . Had cash, and had credit, a hame fu' and het.
Ayr. a.1878 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 198:
It's right, bee-like, to fill the byke, An' keep things het at hame.

Phr.: (ower) het at or a-hame, used ironically of someone who appears to have left the comforts of home for no apparent reason (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; n. and em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Kcb., Dmf. 1957). Also simply ower het (Cai.), and phr. to hae owre muckle het in one, id. (Ork. 1957). Cf. also hot in the house, id. (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 261:
It is said of those who wander abroad when they have no need to do so, and happen to fare ill, that they “war owre het ahame.”
Bch. 1874 W. Scott Dowie Nicht 54:
“Ower het at hame it comes oot on sic a mornin',” was the unkindly reply of the smith.
m.Sc. 1922 O. Douglas Ann and her Mother xvi.:
That man is surely het at hame that he's sittin' here so long clatterin'.
Dmf. 1957:
When you meet a person out on a horrid wet night, or on an errand which seems trivial, you say “By, you're het at hame,” implying that he must have wanted to get out of the house and trumped up an excuse.

4. Of plants: quick-growing, early-maturing, in combs. het peas, het seed, of peas and oats (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); het weeds, “annual weeds, as field-mustard, etc.” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 77).Rxb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 234:
Early pease, here called hot seed.
Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 6:
Hot or early pease [are sown] towards the middle and end of that month [i.e. April].
Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 243:
These [oats] are distinguished into hot seed and cold seed, the former of which ripens much earlier than the latter.

5. Of grain or root crops: fermenting, decayed, through being stored too damp, or in a diseased condition (n. and em.Sc.(a), Peb., wm.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1957).Abd. 1927 Abd. Book-Lover (May) 146:
Rucks aye het an' stooks aye dreepin'.
Abd. 1928 Abd. Press and Jnl. (15 Nov.):
Bit Aw wid houp Aw widna be baddert wi' het tatties, for they are a richt fine crap, an' gran' quality.

6. Of land: newly turned over, full of sap, in comb. hot-fur(r), a newly turned strip of earth, used in particular for sowing early peas (Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 450; Fif. 1957); also of early ploughing in gen. See also s.v. Furr, n., 6. (8).Sc. 1799 Trans. Highl. Soc. I. 117:
Both [oats and bear] ought to be seed-furrowed two or three weeks before sowing. . . . The effects of sowing hot-furr . . . are such that nothing but the dread of losing brearding sap will justify this practice.
Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 238:
After turnips or pulse it is sown with one ploughing only, and as quickly as possible, upon what is termed hot-fur, that is not al owing any time for the new turned soil to lose its natural sap.
Abd. 1968 Huntly Express (29 Nov.) 7:
That was a year when the benefits of the "het furr" were seen with a vengeance.

7. Of a sheaf of corn in harvest: full of thistles, prickly, “hot” to touch (Abd. 1957).

[The modern spellings obscure somewhat the double orig. of the word, the long vowel forms from O.Sc. hate, O.E. hāt, hot, and the short vowel forms from O.Sc. and Mid.Eng. hett, heated, pa.p. of hete(n), to heat, this last esp. in s.Sc. where the form [hjɛt], the normal development of O.E. hāt, is not attested. See further note to Heat.]

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"Het adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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