Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PERFIT, adj., adv., v. Also perfite, -fitt, -fyte, -fight, -fet, -feet, -fate; parfit; perfe(c)(k), pairfec'. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. perfect. [adj. ′pɛrfɪt, ′pɛrfəit, †-′fəit, ′pɛrfɪk; v. pər′fɛk, pər′fəit]

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. Hence perfiteness, n., perfection (Sc. 1808 Jam.), perfytlie, perfec(k)ly, adv., perfectly; ¶perfeckshous, of the nature of perfection, absolutely perfect. Nonce and obs. in Eng. Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 165:
Like Dian, they will seem perfite.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 303:
The tread of the troops was like the tread o' ae giant — sae perfate was their discippleen.
Ayr. 1833  J. Kennedy G. Chalmers xviii.:
Dinna be feart — practice maks perfiteness.
Sc. 1868  G. Webster Strathbrachan III. i.:
There was nothing but perfightness and regularity, pointedness, and elegant economy.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
The breid's a' perfeckly gweed — ate it this moment, sir.
e.Lth. 1876  J. Teenan Song and Satire 19:
He thinks the puir should perfek be, Models o' grace and purity.
Abd. 1880  W. Robbie Yonderton xi.:
Weel, man, afore aw gat throw wi' that aw wis jist perfytlie deen oot.
Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xxix.:
I'll be perfec'ly honest with ye.
Gsw. 1889  A. G. Murdoch Readings I. 15:
The rabbit itsel's jist perfeckshous, . . . as tender's a bit o' chicken!
Lth. 1890  M. Oliphant Kirsteen xli.:
It's a comfort to make the line of her gown perfitt if anything can ever be called perfitt in this imperfitt world.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A creeper-kivvert cottage wui its gairdeen a perfeet sotter o bonnie flooers.
wm.Sc. 1931  Gsw. Herald (14 March):
The scorin' wis jist as pairfec' as onything he could hae dune hissel'.

2. Perfected, completed, quite finished. Obs. in Eng. Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 118:
A Gentleman, perfyte and new.

Comb. perfect age, mainly in Sc. legal contexts: full age, the age at which one is legally competent for some specified function, gen. the age of majority, twenty-one years, a translation of Lat. perfecta aetas, in Roman Law the age of twenty-five; hence imperfect age, minority, Pupillarity. Sc. 1773  Erskine Institute i. vii. § 35:
The law indulges to a minor the space of four years after his perfect age, within which he can sue for the reduction of any deed he may have granted to his own prejudice while he was yet a minor.
Sc. 1773  Lord Monboddo Language I. 11:
When he comes to be of perfect age.

3. Skilled, proficient, expert, fully trained (Sc. 1808 Jam.); hence perfiteness, n., perfection, expertness, exactness (Sc. 1808 Jam., 1909 N.E.D.). Sc. 1736  Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 79:
Use makes perfyteness.
Sc. 1825  Jam.:
Perfit(e). The term is still used to denote one who is exact in doing any work, or who does it neatly. The accent is on the last syllable.

II. adv. 1. Perfectly, faultlessly. Edb. 1801  J. Thomson Poems 160:
Though aff-hand, nane cou'd them [verses] mend, Ye had them sae perfite.
Abd. 1828  P. Buchan Ballads II. 51:
I will write a broad letter, And write it sae perfite.

2. Completely, absolutely. Ayr. 1833  J. Kennedy G. Chalmers iv.:
The wee bodies are perfect daft about him.
Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 154:
I'm perfect vext tae be oot the road.
e.Lth. 1902  J. Lumsden Toorle 96:
Man! I'se be beggar'd — perfit penniless.

III. v. 1. To complete (a task, etc.), finish (a job). Ppl.adj. perfited, perfytit, completed, finished, done (Slk. 1825 Jam.). Ork. 1889  Ellis E.E.P. V. 809:
But no perfytin what he micht.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (4 Sept.):
I wis juist gotten dis perfytit whin Sibbie cries.

2. Specif. to train or instruct (a person) completely in some trade, skill, or profession. Obs. in Eng. Ppl.adj. perfited, thoroughly grounded in a subject, completely accomplished or adept, “finished”. Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Poet. Wks. (S.T.S.) 182:
An' gin he likes, can lear him too to write, An' in a thousand other things perfite.
Ags. 1819  A. Balfour Campbell I. lii.:
It will take five or sax years to perfyte him in that language.
Ayr. 1832  Galt Stanley Buxton II. x.:
I came to London to make myself more artful in the trade, intending when completely perfited, that is, up to a' things, to return to my native town, there to begin business.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan 136:
Your nearly perfited in your trade, doctor.

[O.Fr. parfit(e), parfait. The -c- forms are found in Eng. from the 16th c. as re-formations after Lat. perfectus. The pronunciation [pər′fəit] is found in Eng. till the 16th c.]

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"Perfit adj., adv., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



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