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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KNIT, v. Also knet; hnit (Sh.); tnet (Ags.). Pa.t. knitit; knet, knat (Ags. 1953 Forfar Dispatch (31 Dec.)); pa.p. knitten (Ib.), -ed. [(k)nɪt, Sh. hnɪt, Ags. tnɛt] Sc. forms and usages:

1. (1) To tie, bind fasten, unite. Lit. and fig. Now arch. or dial. in Eng.Ags. 1701 Carmyllie Session Rec. MS. (31 Aug.):
To Henry Scot 13 s. for knitting the couple; to Rob Allan for 4 great nails and 40 small . . . 6s. 8d.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 51:
“I was na ca'd”, says Lindy, “but was knit; An' i' the sett three langsome days did sit, Till wi' my teeth I gnew the raips in twa.”
Ayr. 1788 Burns Ploughman i.:
The ploughman, he's a bonie lad, . . . His garters knit below his knee.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxxiii.:
Here was another stone knitted round my neck to sink me into the pit of perdition.
Sc. 1820 A. Sutherland St Kathleen III. v.:
I maun knet up Gunner, else he wad be like to worrie ye ootright.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 156:
The wright . . . could “knit the cupples” and set up the whole roof timbers of a house, mainly, or indeed wholly, by the aid of stout wooden pins driven into wimble holes.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To knit de corn, to bind the corn into sheaves. . . . to knit de coo, to tie the cow in the byre.

Hence knittal, a fastening, cord, belt; pl., sack-strings (Per. 1902 E.D.D., nittles).Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 5:
His duds o' breeks are fairly split in twa, — The knittal braks ahin, an' doon they fa'.

(2) Phrs.: (a) a knit seck an' set by, one who is betrothed and hence out of the marriage market (Abd.4 1900, Abd. 1960). Cf. bun(d) sack (and set by) s.v. Bun, ppl.adj.; (b) knit it,! stop,! “shut up”! (Gsw. 1934 Partridge Dict. Slang).

2. tr. and absol. To “tie oneself in knots”, be doubled up with laughter; to line or reinforce one's inside, gorge, fill or stuff with food (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 98; Kcd. 1960). Vbl.n. knittan, a surfeit (Ib.).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98:
“He leuch till he near knit himsel,.” “He suppit sones till he wiz like t' knit.” “Afore he set oot, he knitit himsel' (or his ribs) weel wee brose.”
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) x.:
Mistress Kenawee, the bissam, was like to tnet hersel' lauchin'.

Comb.: †knit-kyte, adj., filling, of 1791 Caled. Mercury (29 Sept.):
Fow knit-kyte crowdy, meil an' thramil, Sud stap the guts, an' keir the wame-ill.

[O.Sc. knit, to tie, bind together, a.1400, knyttill, a cord for tying, 1529.]

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"Knit v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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