Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MUITH, n.1, adj., v. Also meuth; muth; mooth; meith, meeth; mui(f)f, muph, møf, muff, meef (I.Sc., Cai.). Cf. Moch. [møθ, ne.Sc. miθ; I.Sc., Cai. møf, mif (see P.L.D. § 158)]

I. n. A warm, moist atmosphere, oppressive humid weather, a close oppressive heat (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 149, 1908 Jak. (1928); I.Sc. 1963); a disagreeable smell (Id.).Ork. 1929 Marw.:
What a muif o' heat's in here.

Derivs.: 1. muithy, moothy, meichie, meighie, muify, meefy, of the atmosphere: oppressively hot and moist, sultry and humid (Ayr. 1919 T.S.D.C.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Ork., Edb., Ayr. 1963); 2. meichness, meethness, an oppressively hot and moist atmosphere (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).1. Ork. 1951 R. Rendall Ork. Variants 30:
The ulie-lamp reeks in the muify byre.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 10:
Oot i' the muify stable She socht a place to lie.
2. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 28:
She to fag began; Wi' wae, an' faut, an' meethness o' the day.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 137:
There cam a heavy rain and a meighness of the air.

II. adj. 1. Of the atmosphere: oppressively close and humid (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; †Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; e.Rs.1 1929); of persons: oppressed or exhausted by heat (Jam.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 78, 93:
An' they are posting on whate'er they may. Baith het an' meeth, till they are haleing down . . . But meith, meith was the day; The summer cauts were dancing brae frae brae.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads II. 363:
The day is meeth, and weary he.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
A muith morning, a close, dull, warm, foggy morning.
Slk. 1830 Hogg Tales (1874) 211:
The night is that muth an' breathless, I'm maist like to swairf.
Cai. 1961 “Castlegreen” Tatties an' Herreen 16:
Fan ye're feelan' clean beit an' ye're meef wi' e' heit.

2. Soft, calm, comfortable (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Hence deriv. ¶moothlie, -lye, in a soft, smooth manner.Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 110:
I harde ane chylde unhaspe thilke sneck, as moothlye as ane snail quhan scho gaungs snowking owir thilk droukyt swaird.
Sc. 1927 H. McDiarmid Lucky Bag 3:
Moothlie as snails when they come snowkin' Oot owre the drookit swaird.

3. Cheerful, genial, jovial (Lnk., Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Also 1782 Caled. Mercury (4 Sept.):
Weil fell her o' yo'r mainsome nater, Sae mieth ti' awn a poer auld creater.

4. Mild, gentle (s.Sc. 1825 Jam., meeth). This form is irreg. and may be a different word. ? Cf. Mid.Eng. methe, gentle, courteous.

III. v. To oppress with heat (Sh. 1903 E.D.D.); to find difficulty in breathing in close, sultry weather (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). Ppl.adj. müffin, close and sultry (Sh. a.1914 J. M. Hutcheson W.-L.).

[O.N. móða, condensed vapour, mist on a warm day, cf. Norw. dial. mo, warm, close. The variants show substitution of f for th. See F, 1.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Muith n.1, adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: