Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KNOTLESS, adj. Sc. usage: aimless, futile, ineffective (Lth., Bwk. 1960). This meaning arises from the fig. phr. a knotless threid, a thread that has no knot and tends to slip through the needle, hence esp. in similes of some person or thing that is useless, purposeless or unserviceable. Gen.Sc. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 112:
'Tis true, I winna say but I'll get blame, That like a knotless threed sae came frae hame.
Ayr. 1790 Burns My Tocher's the Jewel ii.:
Ye'll slip frae me like a knotless thread, An' ye'll crack ye're credit wi' mair nor me.
Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Dec.) 711:
“The weaving of rope-sands”, an allegorical expression, no doubt, to designate the manufacture of threadbare, knotless, endless, useless mysteries, tragedies, and dramas.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize lv.:
“I hope, Mr Witherspoon,” said she, “that we're no to part in sic a knotless manner.”
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
The appearance o' the needle was ower sair a sicht for her e'en to thole. Awa to the door she slippit like a knotless threed.
Dmf. 1894 R. Reid Rhymes 79:
A line in its kintra's memory bricht En't like a knotless threid i' the nicht.
Ags. 1942 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 455:
Sandy Graeme sang no longer. “Juist a knotless threid,” said old Geordie Brown to Jess, as they watched her father wandering along the hedge-side of one of his fields.
s.Sc. 1945 L. Derwent Tammy Troot 25:
Stop caperin' aboot like a knotless thread.

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"Knotless adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jul 2021 <>



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