Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
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POT, n.1, v.1 Also pat; patt (Sc. 1733 W. Thomson Orpheus Caledonius II. 99), poat; dim. forms pot(t)ie, -y, potti (Jak.), pattie, -y; pottek, poitek, puttik, esp. in the sense of a pot for holding train-oil (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)).
Sc. forms:wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 5:
"Yon's a drunkert" "She's a hure!" Sich brattle
It's a' a case o' the poat cryin' the kettle.Ayr. 1999:
A pat o soup.
I. n. 1. As in Eng. Derivs. patf(o)u, a potful. See also Pottle, n.; adj. pottie, (1) pot-bellied, corpulent; (2) tipsy, drunk (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). For combs. such as kail-pat, maskin-pat, parritch-pat, etc., see Kail, Mask v.1, Parritch, etc. Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 104:
Patfous o' kale, thick wi' barley and pease.Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 145:
Meanwhile Maron provided herself with a puttik of tar.Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 10:
The laird's faither had howkit up a patfu' o' gear in the plantin'.
2. Special Combs. and Phrs.: (1) as black as the pot, very black or dirty. Gen.Sc. Also pot-black, id. (wm.Sc., Uls. 1966); (2) as timmer as a wudden pattie, of persons: having a tuneless voice, tuneless in singing (Fif. 1962); (3) gin (if) I be pottie ye're pannie, you are as bad as I am, you are in no position to criticise (Bnff., Abd. 1966); (4) pot-arse, a bulge in the roof of a coal-seam, caused by squeezing of the mineral; (5) pot-barley, barley from which the outer husk has been removed in milling, used for making broth, etc.; (6) pot-bool, -boul, the curved handle of a three-legged pot (Ork., Cai. 1966). See Bool, n.2; (7) pot-bottom, a name given by miners to a type of fossil tree stump. Cf. n.Eng. dial. pot-stone, id.; (8) pat-brod, a wooden pot-lid (Ags. 1903 E.D.D.; Sh. 1966); (9) pot-broo, the rim of a pot. See Broo, n.2, 5. Fig. in phr. near the pot-broo, of a woman: near her confinement, parturient (Kcb. 1900); (10) pat-brose, a kind of quickly-boiled porridge (see quots.) (ne.Sc. 1966); by extension, uninviting food, poor fare (Fif. 1966): (11) pot-bunker, in Golf: a deep pot-shaped sandpit or bunker; (12) pot-clip, -clep, a contrivance of hooks for suspending a handleless cauldron over a fire by the pat-lugs, see (18). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (13) pot fit, one of the legs or feet of a cauldron pot. Hence out like a pot fit, of persons: in a state of discord, at strife, not on speaking terms (ne.Sc. 1966), to stick out like a pot-fit, “to stick out like a sore thumb”, to be obtrusively manifest (ne.Sc. 1966); (14) pat-hap, pot luck; (15)pot-head, the caaing whale, Globicephala malaena, from its domed forehead; (16) pot-hot, of food: freshly cooked, very hot (Ork. 1966); (17) pat-lid, in Curling: a shot which exactly covers the tee; the tee itself. Used as a v., to patlid, to play a stone thus. Also fig.; (18) pot-lug, the ear or loop of a pot by which it is suspended with clips. See (12) (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 88; I.Sc., 1966). Also in n.Eng. dial. See also Lug; (19) pat-neuk, the place where household pots are kept (Sh. 1966); (20) potsker, pottskerd, a broken pot used for a variety of purposes, e.g. to hold the oil from fish-livers (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), pottskerd, Sh. 1966), as a drinking-water receptacle for hens (Ork. 1929 Marw.), a pot-sherd. Also in n.Eng. dial.; (21) pot-stick, a stick for stirring porridge or the like in cooking, a Spurtle (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.; sm.Sc., Uls. 1966). Now only dial. in Eng.; (22) pat-stuff, (i) vegetables grown for the pot; (ii) plants grown in flower pots (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.); (23) pot-tastit, -ed, adj., lit., tasting of the pot (Ork., ne.Sc. 1966). Hence fig., stale, unpalatable; (24) the pottie cries black to the pannie, “the pot calls the kettle black” (Abd. 1966). Cf. (3); (25) to gar one's pat play (broon), see Play, v., 2.(1) Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff iii.:
Sin' the laird's made maitters as black's the pat he'll pent them noo as white's the snaw.(3) Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm xxxi.:
Gien I be potty, ye're panny!(4)Lth. 1789 J. Williams Nat. Hist. Miner. Kingdom I. 64:
This protuberance sinks down into the upper side of the seam of coal, like the bottom of a great pot. These protuberances are called by Scotch colliers a bonnet case and a pot arse.(5) Sc. 1761 Faculty Decisions III. 15:
The mill was constructed solely for the purpose of manufacturing bear into pot-barley.e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. e.Lth. 145:
Mr. Fletcher [in Holland] had an opportunity of seeing the mill by which barley was shealed, or the husk taken from it, and made into pott barley.e.Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 119:
In the beginning of the last century, the first mill for the manufacture of decorticated, or as it is familiarly termed, pot-barley, that was ever known in Scotland was erected in this parish.Sc. 1953 J. E. Handley Sc. Farming 18th c. 206:
There was a big demand for the grain as pot barley for broth — the national dish.(7) Lnl. 1925 H. M. Cadell Rocks w.Lth. 16:
On the top of the ironstone lay a bed of coal about a foot thick, locally known as the Craw Coal, in the roof of which there were many of these fossil tree stumps, called by the miners “pot bottoms”.(8) Fif. 1894 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxviii.:
Dinna ye be liftin the pat-brod an' glowerin' into the pat to spy oot ferlies.(10) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 229:
Pot brose. A dish consisting of milk and oatmeal; made by dashing compressed handfuls of meal into boiling milk, and boiling the mixture for a few minutes.ne.Sc. 1963 Scotsman (25 May) Suppl. 2:
Finally the views of two millers on porridge-making . . . one from the north-east says he approves of my method but himself prefers “pot brose” — oatmeal flung into boiling salted water and boiled briskly for two minutes at most. His portion is then poured, while the rest boils longer for his family.(11) Sc. 1954 Bulletin (28 May) 16:
His long drive finished against the face of a pot bunker and the best he could do was to loup the ball a few yards out.(12) Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswood Hope's Practicks 539:
A pair of Pot-clips.(13) Bch. 1929:
He'll stick oot like a pot fit — jist tae spite the lave o' ye.(14)Lth. 1791 R. Cumming Poems 131:
Ye's get pat-hap, And as guid ale as e'er reamed in a cap.(15) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (30 July):
The whales, which were found to number 108, are of the usual “caaing” species, or “pot-heads”.(16) Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 121:
It's pot hot. . . . often applied to any food that is very hot.(17) Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 55:
Lays down his stane plump on the tee, A fair pat-lid!Ayr. 1833 J. Cairnie Curling 122:
He's patlided the tee.Ayr. 1892 J.C.C.B. A. Boyd's Cracks 25:
Come up the white ice — Brek an egg on this — Play for my besom — Patlid on the tee.Dmf. 1904 J. Gillespie Humours 96:
They've landed the shot and it haps the pat-lid.Sc. 1914 Sc. Nat. Readings (Forsyth) 166:
Stuck hard and fast at the potlid of success.Dmf. 1937 T. Henderson Lockerbie 58:
The stone now lay on the top of the tee, and was guarded. “A patlid, weel soopit boys, weel soopit,” cried Nether Place.Sc. 1951 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 304:
The skip's last stone roaring up the slide to chap the other man's shot off the pot-lid.(19) Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms lxviii. 13:
Tho' ye had lien i' yer ain pat-neuk.(21) Sc. 1847 J. W. Carlyle New Letters (1903) I. 236:
A pair of stockings . . . which seemed to have been knitted for two pot-sticks rather than for well-shaped . . . woman's legs.Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xxvii.:
She turns roon' wi' the pat-stick i' her haund.(22) (i) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 183:
A wee bit yardy mete out square, Wi' a wheen pat-stuffs plantit there.(23) Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 186:
Cauld kail het again Is aye pat tasted.
3. A whisky still, orig. one made by adding a shoulder attachment to an ordinary cooking pot of the cauldron type; also pot-still, id. Comb. pot-hire, a charge made by a distiller for the use of a still.Cai. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 66:
I am sure they can have none [profit], but rather loss, considering the time spent, the duty paid, the whisky drunk, the pot hire, as they call it, and the want of the draff and burnt ale, which go to the distiller.Sc. 1799 Report Cttee. Distilleries Scot. 727, 730:
Private families distilled Whiskey for their own use; and the Still they used was a large pot, globular, that for culinary purposes it might be capacious; and to this pot, when they wishes to distil, they luted an occasional head. . . . Suppose then that Fig. 5 represents an old fashioned Pot-Still.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 94:
The pipies may rin now, by night and by day, The maut may be made, and the poties may play.Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 26:
Wi' the foreshot o' the pot rheumatics she removed.Abd. 1892 Innes Review (Autumn 1956) 89:
Inside were keepit the stuff for makin' whuskey and a muckle caadron or black pot. There was a thing ca'ed the shudder, which gaed o' the pot.Sc. 1951 R. B. Lockhart Scotch 58:
In 1826 Robert Stein took out a patent for a still which produced alcohol in one continuous operation as opposed to the two distillations of the pot-still . . . known as the patent-still.
4. In the game of hopscotch or Pallall: (1) in pl., the names given to the seventh and eighth squares on the chalked diagram on which the game is played (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 132); also comb. kail-pots, id., see Kail, 5. (20) (b); (2) the game itself (Sth. 1897 E. W. B. Nicholson Golspie 118, pot; Mry., Bnff. 1966); (3) the counter used in the game, freq. a piece of a broken earthenware vessel. Also in form potchie. id. (Per. 1966). Cf. pitchie s.v. Pitch, v.Per. 1889 T. Edwards Strathearn Lyrics 34:
O' games there were mony an' pleasures an' a' — The “poachie”, the “skippin' rope”, bat an' the ba'.Sc. 1936 Gsw. Herald (10 Nov.):
“Hopscotch,” however, is an English name. We Scots called it “peever”, or “pallally”, or “pot”, or “the beds”, or “the pitcher”, or, most original of all, “teesy beesy beds” . . . In some parts of Scotland beds 7 and 8 were called “the kail pats”, and this may be one reason why the game is sometimes called “pot”. Another explanation is that a piece of broken pot or earthenware was often used as a peever.
5. Gen. in dim. form pottie, -y, a marble made of fine clay or earthenware, a pigger (Sc. 1903 E.D.D.; Abd. 1966). Also in Eng. dial. Combs. potty-bool, id. (ne.Sc. 1966).Lnl. 1880 T. Orrock Fortha's Lyrics 258:
The pattie game; nae jinks or jee.Abd. c.1900 Abd. Press & Jnl. (31 Jan. 1931):
An “eelie” was a “potty bool”, which in our schooldays was very rare.
6. The firing chamber of a flint-lock gun, the pan.Ayr. 1828 D. Wood Poems 75:
Again some mair about my lock — There's something wrang about the pot.
7. A deep hole dug in the ground, a pit, now only hist. in phr. pot and gallows, for which see pit and gallows, s.v. Pit, n., 1. (1); also applied to a natural pit or hollow in a rock, etc., as in 1797 quot., a pot hole. Also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1797 Trans. Royal Soc. Edb. IV. 195:
This pot is 940 feet above the level of the sea.Kcd. 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 200:
It has however the honour of being a royal burgh, with full power of Pot and gallows.Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.:
Sir Simon hasna the poo'er o' pot an' gallows noo.Abd. 1926 M. Argo Makkin o' John 4:
In my young day the laird hid pooer o' pot an' gallows; bit noo he can hardly ca' a bawbee his ain.
8. Specif. †(1) a coal-pit, coalmine, now only in comb. pot-coal, the coal excavated in the making of a pit-shaft, “the bottom coal sunk through in a shaft” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 49). †(2) an underground prison, a dungeon (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis). Cf. Pit, n., 3.
(3) an excavation in a peat-moss from which peats have been dug (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl., 1923 Watson W.-B.; Wgt., Slk. 1966). Combs. moss-pot, peat-pot, id.; pot-meat, a peat cut from the bottom of a pot (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 132).Abd. 1723 S.C. Misc. (1935) I. 45:
To fill up their pots, levell their lair behind them.Abd. 1776 Abd. Journal (22 Jan.):
In the Parish of Udny one James Henderson conveying a young Girl home, on his Return mistook his Way, and wandering into a Moss, fell into one of the Pots.Abd. 1794 J. Anderson Peat Moss 39:
The moss is sometimes cut out into little pits called pots, each of which is of a size just as much as one or at most two men have cut out in a day.Kcd. 1843 Trans. Highl. Soc. 352:
They [bogs] were covered with old “moss pots”, in which stood green stagnant water.
(4) a deep hole or water-filled chasm in a river, a pool (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis). Dim. pottie, id. Gen.Sc., common in placenames. Also applied to a pool in the rocks on the seashore (Abd. 1966). Combs. pot-hole, id. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), “a small depression in a field from which water is very difficult to drain ”, a Powk (Arg. 1937), a puddle-hole (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc.; pot-net, a net used for catching salmon in a deep pool or pot (Watson).Sc. 1748 W. MacFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 23:
There is a new stone Bridge...over Don at a Place called the Pot of Pool d'oylie.Sc. 1762 R. Forbes Jnl. Visitations (1886) 164:
You walk up the North-side of the water ...till you come to a deep Pool or pot.Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVII. 194:
It is a kind of pot net, fastened to a long pole, that is used here. . . . The fishing with the pot net is confined to a small part of the river, near the Keith.Sc. c.1800 Mother's Malison in Child Ballads No. 216. A. xix.:
In the depest pot in a' Claid's water, Ther she gat Suit Willie.Sc. 1812 J. Sinclair Systems Husb. Scot. I. 48:
In fields where the strata are not regular, there are often masses or pots of sandy soil, which absorb great quantities of water.Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 20:
Yet fan I min' fu she priend up her coatie To tak' the quick minnen that ran through the pottie.Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xii.:
The Swift wis clean frozen ower at a' the pots.Slk. 1908 W. S. Brown Ne'er-do-Weel 221:
At the village of Ettrickbridge . . . there is a famed salmon pool or “pot” known as the Loup.Edb. 1928 Robertson & Wood Castle and Town 16:
Those who were “crazed with grief or crossed in hopeless love” had only to take a “dook in the Pot” to find a respite from their sorrows.Abd. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 13:
Noo, ilka time I smell sea-waur I see a deep roun' pot, Wi' edges sharp.Slg. 1964 Weekly Scotsman (27 Aug.) 4:
A salmon leaps from the River Endrick out of the “pot” at Gartness.
II. v. 1. As in Eng. The form pottie given by Jam. (1825) = to stew in a pot, may be a back-formation from pottie-heid below. (1) Deriv. patter, a maker of pots, a potter (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms ii. 9); (2) combs. pottit-heid, potted- (i) a dish resembling brawn made from meat from the head of a cow or pig boiled, shredded, and served cold in a jelly made from the stock (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 133; Sc. 1880 Jam., 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 139). Gen.Sc. Also in reduced form potty-heid, potie- (Cld. 1880 Jam.; wm.Sc., Kcb. 1966), id.; (ii) rhyming-slang for Deid adj.; pottit hough, see Hock, n., 1.(1) Sc. 1949 Proc. Falkirk Arch. and Nat. Hist. Soc. IV. 81:
In the early days a considerable amount of hollow-ware was made, and the “Carron Patters” were an exclusive body of men, highly skilled in their particular art.(2) (i) Sc. 1861 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. 104:
A large lump of potted-head, which he had received in a “present”.Cld. 1867 Sc. Nat. Readings (1914) 115:
Her, the big gomeril, gaun shake-shakin' like an animated hill o' potted-head.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) viii.:
Atween the warm weather an' the boilin' o' my pottithead, I'll be melted a' thegither!Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie vi.:
He had a wee baker's shop in Balmano Brae, and his wife made potted heid.Rnf. 1935 L. Kerr Woman of Glensenshiels ii.:
Macfarlane's manufactured cooked foods. Glenshiels named the factory “The Pottie Heid Works”.Abd. 1961 P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 19:
I'm sure my scared e'en wis big as bowls o' potted heid.(ii)Edb. 1987:
He's pottit heidEdb. 1990:
He's been potted heid fur twinty year.
2. To dig a (series of) hole(s) (in the ground) (1) in order to indicate a land boundary, to Meith, Pit, v.2, 1. Vbl.n. potting, the digging of such pits or holes, a hole dug for the purpose.Gsw. 1724 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 191:
To fix the marches . . . according to the pottings which were made the last year, and for that end to cause cast a ditch in a line from potting to potting.
(2) in order to extract peat. Ppl.adj. potted, of ground: studded with pits and holes, broken up with diggings; vbl.n. potting, a hole made in the digging of peats, a moss-hole, peat-pot (see I. 8. (3)). Hence by extension, to trample or churn ground into mud, to poach ground (Sc. 1880 Jam.).Bnff. 1719 W. Cramond Ann. Cullen (1888) 79:
The magistrates appoint a moss grieve and appoint that none pouk or pott the mosses or cast up the lairs or cut the briggs of the moss.Abd. 1740 A. Watt Hist. Kintore (1865) 115:
That some people pott the said tennents mosses after they have casten and led their peits.Sh. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Evid. LI. 231:
All tenants are bound in future to cast such peats as may be allotted, in a regular manner, and to lay down the turf in neat and regular order without potting.
(3) tr. Of the action of water: to make a hole in (the ground), to scoop out.Mry. 1733 Session Papers, Earl of Moray v. Duke of Gordon (8 July 1775) 8:
As the winter frosts and speats cut and pot these ebbs.
3. tr. To place or set in a pit or hole, specif. (1) of a surveyor or land-meither marking land boundaries: to set boundary-stones or pit-stones in pots or holes to indicate a boundary (Sc. 1887 Jam.).Sc. 1703 Session Papers, Petition H. Fraser (14 Jan. 1785) App. 12:
To pot the five march stones following on the fifteen stones, all marked with St Andrews cross, and formerly potted and set down as boundaries and marches.
(2) to put potatoes and other root crops in a pot or pit for winter storage (Sc. 1887 Jam.).
(3) refl. of salmon: to settle themselves in a pot or deep pool in a river for spawning purposes; also pot up, id. (Uls. 1966).Abd. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XII. 894:
The fish are in general so dull and heavy at the end of the season, that, having little inclination or ability to go far up the river, they pot themselves, as it is here called, in the first eligible pool, and shed their spawn on the low fords and shallows.
Pot n.1, v.
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