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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LICHT, adj.1, n.1, v.1 Also lecht (Abd. 1926 L. Coutts Lyrics 5); lycht (Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 48 26); licght (Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (1 Jone)); liecht (Rxb. 1919 Hawick Express (7 Feb.) 4); leet (Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake 51) is derived from n.Eng. dial. [Sc. lɪçt, Sh., s.Sc. ləiçt. In I. and s.Sc. the pronunciation ləiçt is now most prevalent.]

I. adj. As in Eng., light in colour, bright, pale, fair. Derivs. lichtly, adj., lightish (m.Lth. 1960); adv., brightly. Obs. in Eng.; ¶lighty, adj., id. For phr. as licht a blue, see Blue, n., II. 4.Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 232:
By this time it was turning lighty.
Lth. 1866 J. Smith Merry Bridal 41:
Luna's radiant e'e Shone lichtly.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 32:
His coat an' breeks war' o' a lichtly blue.

Sc. combs.: licht-avized, -advised, fair-complexioned (I.Sc. 1960, -advised). Cf. Black-aviced; light crottles, see Crottle, n.1, 3.Sh. 1862 Shetland Advert. (29 Sept.):
Du maybe hasna a blue een nor yet is du licht-avized.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 140:
He wis a brawly licht advised shield.

II. n. 1. Sc. form of Eng. light. wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 7:
"Hae you ever," asked Tinto urgently, "in the lang braw licht of summer, wi the licht and sweetness of manhood in your bluid, laid a woman on the wavering grass up yonder, and violets all round her, till you couldnae be sure what were violets and what were her een?"
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 44:
An infinity o lichts
That ding oor human cantrips intae smachrie -
A pucklie smush
Ooto the wallopin faulds
O the pooch o time.

Hence lichtless, licht-house, etc. For Lichtie see (v). Sc. usages: — in combs. (i) licht coal, splint coal, formerly used to give illumination as well as heat; (ii) licht-hol, the window-opening in an old Ork. house; (iii) licht o' day, (a) daylight. Used fig. in phr. no to see the licht o' day to, to be blind to a person's faults (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne., em. and s.Sc. 1960). Cf. Daylicht; (b) the white phlox, Phlox paniculata (sm.Sc. 1897 Garden Work 112); (iv) licht o' da year, the period of mid-summer in Shetland when daylight is almost continuous, the simmer-dim; (v) Red Lichtie, a native of Arbroath. See Red.(i) Rnf. 1782 G. Crawford Hist. Rnf. 133:
Light or splint coal, which would rise in pieces six feet long, nine inches broad, and six thick.
Lnk. 1864 J. B. Greenshields Lesmahagow 244:
The name formerly given to the Lesmahago gas coal was the one common to all coals of that description — namely, “Cannel”, or “Licht Coal”, the origin of which is evident.
Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 40:
The bit of “cannel,” or “splint,” or “licht” coal that spluttered and crackled in the fire.
Lnk. 1889 Northern N. & Q. III. 28:
In the low country, especially in and around Lanarkshire, cannel coal was used to give light long before gas made its appearance, and it was on account of its being so used instead of candles that it got the name of cannel coal. It was first broken into splinters and then laid on an iron bracket attached to the front of the grate, so that it might be sufficiently near the ordinary coal to be kept blazing. The bracket was called the “coal airn,” and the coal burned on it was called the “licht coal.”
(ii) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 38:
The reek-hol, the licht-hol, an de cat-hol o the hoose hed a been hard stappid wi Black Jock's ain hands.
(iii) (a) Edb. 1803 Sc. Mus. Museum VI. 576:
Till we were married, I cou'd nae see light till her.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
“She canna see the licht o' day to him”, she cannot discern a fault in him; “daylight has no brightness in comparison with him.”
(iv) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (9 Oct.):
I' da light o' da year lamps is no needid.

2. Freq. in dim. lichtie: the will-o'-the-wisp, jack-a-lantern, looked upon as an omen of death (ne.Sc. 1960).Bnff. 1891 A. Gordon Carglen 270:
“Lichts”, “candles”, “ghaists”, “fairies”, and everything uncanny.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 28:
The light which is seen before death.
Abd. 1904 W. A. G. Farquhar Fyvie Lintie 106:
But warst o' bygane terrors was The lichtie kent as Spunkie.
n.Sc. 1911 T. W. Ogilvie Poems 2:
And throo the wa'-cracks lichties trip, Dance down the haugh a twinklin' train.
Abd. 1922 Banffshire Jnl. (11 Nov.) 2:
Their ghosts, their “lichties”.

3. Daylight, day. Between lichts, between day and night, twilight (ne.Sc., Fif. 1960). Also in Eng. dial. See also 1. (iii) (a).n.Sc. 1957 N. B. Morrison Other Traveller v.:
People caught glimpses of him [a brownie], glisks and glimmers between the lights.

4. In Sh. sea-taboo language: the moon (Sh. (Foula) 1958, de light).

5. Fig.: mental illumination, enlightenment, doctrine, esp. in theological matters (Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 189), found in Eng. c.1650–1750 and in Sc. commonly in combs. auld licht, new licht, referring specif. in Sc. church history to (1) the Moderate or more latitudinarian element (New) as opposed to the stricter conservative and Evangelical section (Auld) of the Church of Scotland; (2) the two groups in the membership of the Secession Churches (Burgher and Anti-Burgher) which ultimately broke away from one another, in the Burgher Synod in 1799 and in the Antiburgher in 1806, the New Lichts in either combining in 1820 in the United Secession Church and the Auld Lichts in 1842 to form the Synod of United Original Seceders, both bodies being now reunited in the Church of Scotland. The essential differences lay in the more (or less) rigid adherence to the principles of Calvinism, the two Covenants and a national Church. See Auld, 9. (14).(1) Sc. 1713 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II. 169:
You have brought in a stranger, one of the neu-lights, among us.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson xxvii–viii and Note:
An' some, their New-Light fair avow, Just quite barefac'd. Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin; Their zealous herds are vex'd and sweatin. [New-light] a cant-term for those religious opinions, which Dr Taylor of Norwich has defended so strenuously.
Ags. 1793 Tam Thrum Look before ye Loup 3:
I took the advice of a newlight neighbour upo' this knotty point.
Sc. 1831 S. E. Ferrier Destiny I. vi.:
He was loud against all high-fliers, new-lights, gospellers, bigots, zealots, enthusiasts, saints, and so forth.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes viii.:
Nae mair bletherin' aboot yer Conversion, an' yer New Licht, an' a' the lave o' yer glib-gab havers.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 26:
Who or what the “New Lichts” were is somewhat difficult to define, as they might belong to any denomination; but, generally speaking, it was the “Revivalists” and their followers who came under the category of “New Lichts.” “Salvation made easy” was the head and front of their offendings.
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus Sodger (1916) 11:
He didna fash wi' “newer licht” or sic new-fangled stuff.
Sc. 1939 J. D. Ferguson Pride and Passion 22:
What neither they nor he [Burns] could foresee was that in 1843 it would be the Old Light clergy who would restore moral leadership to the ministry by daring to give up their livings for conscience' sake.
(2) Sc. 1799 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (4 Dec.) 391:
Some members … went to hear another Burgher preacher … whose sentiments were different from those of Mr Watson, he being one of those vulgarly called New-light Men; whereas Mr Watson has thought it his duty to walk in the good old path.
Sc. 1801 Ib. (20 May) 157:
The pursuers denominated themselves Old Light Men, who were for adhering to the doctrines of the Secession as they stood.
Sc. 1806 R. Forsyth Beauties Sc. III. 428–9:
The burgher associate clergy … have . . . resolved to expunge the offending passage from the Confession of Faith. Twelve or thirteen of their clergy … have wished to retain the Confession of Faith unaltered … They are called the adherents of the old light, in opposition to the majority of their brethern, whom they term new light men.
Sc. 1819 Lockhart Peter's Letters lxii.:
The Old Light Anti-burghers enjoy the ministrations of no less a person than Dr. M'Crie, the author of the Life of John Knox. … The New Light, on the other hand, are ruled in spiritualibus by Dr. Jamieson, the author of the admirable Dictionary of the Scottish Language.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls iii.:
The congregation, which belonged to the body who seceded from the Established Church a hundred and fifty years ago, had split, and as the New Lights (now the U.P.'s) were in the majority, the Old Lights, with the minister at their head, had to retire to the commonty.
Sc. 1943 J. Macleod Sc. Theology 229:
As a term, New Light came especially to be used in connection with the change that took place in the thinking of the Seceders towards the end of the 18th century.

6. In slang usage: credit, “tick”.Sc. 1838 Chambers's Jnl. (24 Nov.) 351:
The allowance of credit with Lucky Kerr was called “having light,” and the greatest pains were taken to keep the “light” from going out.

III. v. As in Eng. Vbl.n. lichtin, -en, (1) lighting. Gen.Sc.; (2) lightning. Cf. Lichten, v.1; (3) in comb. lighting pint, see quots.(2) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 12:
Swift as the lichtens fly, Whan thunners crash the clouds aboon.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 16:
Forbye, the news o' ilka forin lan' Wi' lichten's speed, they say, is brocht tae han'.
(3) Ags. 1887 J. McBain Arbroath 68:
The weavers, like the others, embraced every available opportunity for drinking. There was, in addition to the regular recurrence of the weekly pay, the “lighting pint,” the “blowing out pint,” the “footing,” when a new hand entered the shop, and the “foy,” when an old one left it.
Ork. 1929 P. Ork. A.S. VII. 47:
When the brief Orkney summer was on the wane and evenings darkened about Lammas, the cleaning of the cruizie or the laying in a stock of tallow candles was an excuse for the “lighting pint,” when tradesmen and merchants … are said to have adjourned to convenient ale-houses … to celebrate the carrying on of business by cruizie, or candle-light. And again, when artificial light was no longer required … the occasion was likewise marked by a “slocking pint.”

Pa.t. lichtit, Sc. form of Eng. lit.Sh. 1994 Laureen Johnson in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 166:
I set me doon, an sae did shö. Shö wis smilin, her face lichtit up. Shö wis come a lang wye.

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"Licht adj.1, n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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