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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

POTTAGE, n. Also potage (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 69), potta(t)ch, pottich (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 90), pottitch; ¶pothich. [′potətʃ] Sc. forms and usages: 1. Oatmeal porridge (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 22; ne.Sc. 1966). Obs. in Eng. exc. n. dial. In Sc. the word is freq. construed as a pl., and, as with Parritch, is often used to mean food in general, one's daily bread, or sometimes, one's breakfast, because of its important place in the Scottish diet. Freq. attrib. in such combs. as pottage-pan, -pat, -time, etc.Kcb. 1703 W. Mackenzie Hist. Gall. I. App. 44:
She would, it may be, take some of these pottage (Sarah having some pottage among her hands).
Fif. 1712 Two Students (Dickinson 1952) 17:
Ken[neth] and Th[omas] get a Chopin of good fresh milk and as much pottage as they can sup for their breakfast.
Sc. 1733 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 205:
My lairdship can yield me As meikle a-year, As had us in pottage And good knockit bear.
Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 430:
Their Breakfasts and Suppers are Pottage or Hasty-pudding made of the best Oat-meal.
Mry. 1756 Session Papers, Cramond v. Allan (17 Dec.) 8:
Her father would have her make the pottage for supper.
Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 76:
They look a-squint upon the auld goodman, That once were fain to lick his pottage-pan.
Sc. 1771 Weekly Mag. (4 April) 18:
His breakfast is a few pottage made of oatmeal.
Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 142:
The ordinary diet of farmer and servant may be described by the questions asked, viz. Have you got your pottage? i.e. your breakfast; Have you got your sowans? i.e. your dinner; Have you got your brose? i.e. your supper.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie vi.:
Noo, laddie . . . rin awa' t' yer pottage.
Bnff. 1953 Banffshire Jnl. (27 Oct.):
Fin the pottitch wis made an' meest she wid fess ben mine on a fancy widden tray.
Abd. 1993:
Ere's naething like a platie o hait pottitch!

2. In combs. and phrs.: (1) as plain as pottage, perfectly clear or obvious, self-evident. Cf. Parritch, n., 1. (1); (2) milk-pottage, porridge made with milk instead of water (ne.Sc. 1966); (3) pottage-meal, the meal used to make porridge, oatmeal, (4) to be ahin one's pottage, to be late for one's meal.(1) Sc. 1703 Reason against Presb. Prints 8:
Is not this (as we say) as plain as Pottage, as clear as Crystal, to speak in your Dialect?
(2) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xl.:
Plates . . . nately full't o' milk pottage wi' a braw dossie o' gweed broon succar i' the middle o' ilka dish.
(3) Abd. 1788 Aberdeen Mag. 537:
And claithes us a' frae head to fit, And buys the pottage meal.
(4) Abd. 1932 R. L. Cassie Scots Sangs 48:
We'll need tae turn an' gyang a bittie fester, or we'll be ahin wir pottage.

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"Pottage n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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