Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MAUCHT, n., v. Also maught; macht; mauch, mawch; mach; myach (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.). [mxt, mɑxt]

I. n. 1. Bodily strength, might, power (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Abd., Kcd. 1962); mental ability. Freq. in pl. form with sing. meaning. Abd. 1755 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 29:
The wile limmer was sae dozen'd an' funi'd wi' cauld, that she had neither farrach nor maughts.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 112:
Yet fearfu' aften o' their Maught, They quat the Glory o' the Faught.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Of a person who is paralytic, or debilitated by any other malady, it is said; He has lost the machts, or his machts.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 29:
Then to the Loch, and Ward, they swarm'd To try their maught.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 142:
Ilk man fornent the tither straucht, Sat meditatin' deeds o' maucht.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 223:
She hisna mauchts noo for a sair turn.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ ii. xii. 73:
I' the Cross is maught o' min'.
Abd.4 1928:
He has nae machts o' 'imsel, i.e. his faculties are impaired.

2. Phr.: to mak a maught, — maughts, to make a move or effort (to do something), to take steps, exert oneself (Ags. 1962). Ags. 1893 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. xiii.:
Ye see, it was just on the chap o' nine, and we were makin' maughts for oor bed, when I thocht I heard a bit stir i' the back-room.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 82:
“Hech! dear me!” sighed Marget, as she made mauchts to tak the bowl an' spune frae me.
Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 75:
If ever more I make one maught Your grief to throttle.

3. Derivs.: (1) mauch(t)less, maughtless, ma(a)ch-, maich- (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 257), mauchterless (Ork.), feeble, without strength or energy, limp, helpless; sluggish, lethargic, lackadaisical (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I., n. and em.Sc.(a) 1962); (2) mauchtlessly, feebly, without power; (3) mauchtly, of wind: strong (Sh. 1962); (4) maughty, powerful, mighty, bold (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). (1) Abd. 1723 W. Meston Poet. Wks. (1767) 17:
In substance poor, in numbers few, A maughtless and unarmed crew.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 17:
If Lindy chanc'd, as synle was his lot, To play a feckless or a wrangous shot, Jeering they'd say, “Poor Lindy's mauchtless grown!”
Edb. 1795 H. MacNeill Scotland's Scaith xliv.:
Now grown mauchless, dowf and sweer aye To look near his farm or wark.
Mry. 1824 J. Cock Hamespun Lays 79:
She's maughtless, doited, auld, an' crazy, An' tint a' spirit.
Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket 264:
He took sic a fit o' laughin' himsel' that he was perfectly mauchtless.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 27:
Flat on the floor . . . Where mauchless he in beastly stupor fell.
Mry. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 19:
It wis the lauch o' a machless body.
Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.):
With setting up wet sheaves only to be knocked down again — one is apt to get mauchterless, or forfoughten sair eneugh, as Burns has it.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 134:
Wirkin da pumps nicht an' day fill dey wir juist maachless.
(2) Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 117:
It had better been aff Than hae maughtlessly hung by this auld oxter staff.
(3) Sh. 1892 Manson's Sh. Almanac:
“Da carry is comin frae da nor-wast”, says Lowrie; “an if he hings up dat wy it widna be a fairlie if he sud be mauchtly thro da swaar o da dim”.
(4) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 23:
Amo' the herds that plaid a maughty part, Young Lindy kyth'd himsel wi' hand an' heart.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 38:
Whairat the mauchty Knicht took fire.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. vi. 92:
Jesus sal be wi' me as a maughty weiriour, an' ye'll staun sparrow-blastet.

II. v. To deprive of strength, found only in ppl.adj. maucht, maught, worn out, exhausted to the point of losing heart, puzzled, defeated (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

[O.Sc. macht, strength, power, from a.1400, maucles, a.1585, Early Mid.Eng. maght, O.N. mátt-r, < *maht-r. In the pa.p. the -t of the ending has coalesced with the final consonant of the word.]

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"Maucht n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Jul 2021 <>



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