Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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QUESTION, n., v. Also queystion (Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 21), que(y)ston (Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer xiii., 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick vii.), questin (Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 112); queisten (Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 186), quistin (Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 118); quiestan (Ags. 1895 Caledonia I. 434); quaiste(e)n, -in (Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 87); quasten (Dmf. 1805 Scots Mag. (April) 296), quastin (Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 138), quastion (Ayr. 1885 R. Lawson Maybole 59); qusten (Sc. c.1805 in Child Ballads V. 217). See also Whestin. Sc. forms and usages. [′kwest(j)ən, ′kwɑst-; ′hw-, Sh.]

1. Gen. in pl.: (one of the questions in) the Shorter Catechism of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster (1648), so called from its form as a series of questions and answers on Calvinist doctrines and used as a means of instructing Presbyterian Church members and their children in the tenets of the Church. Gen.Sc. Phrs. and Comb.: pair o questions, a copy of the Catechism. See Pair; question-book, id.; to get one's questions, to memorise the Catechism. Sc. 1710 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 317:
The child is very promising; he is but six years, and he hath the questions very weel.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 182:
For he's among our formest scholars here, An' a' the parson's questions has per queer.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Inventory 41:
I on the questions targe them tightly.
Sc. 1808 E. Hamilton Glenburnie viii.:
“And what for are no ye ga'an, my dear?” says her mother. “'Cause I hinna gotten my questions,” replied Jean.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 171:
The saum, an' the chapter, an' questions were got, An' we screedit them aff like a parrot by rote.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 52:
“I declare!” cried Peggy Downie, “ef she's no quotin' the question-book!”
Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 222:
He “spiered at them their questions, from the ‘singles questions,' or the ‘carritch',” as the Westminster Shorter Catechism . . . is called in Scotland.
Bnff. 1893 G. G. Green Kidnappers ii.:
“What is the Third Commandment?” . . . Silence from the little scholar was the only answer. “Fat mair? Ah tell ye, say yer questan.”
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 36:
I was . . . tell't to get off Effectual Calling without a mistake. Oh, hoo I hated thae “Quastins”.
Sc. 1914 J. Mackay Church in Highl. 218:
The Friday fellowship or “question meeting” at Communion seasons gradually came to have a place which in popular esteem was second only to the Lord's Day services. . . . Footnote: Monthly “question meetings” were an established institution in Sutherland in 1727. . . . The “question meeting” was really meant to help the catechumens; to solve the difficulties of enquirers; to bring out and emphasise Scriptural marks of saving grace; and to encourage timid and ready-to-halt believers.

2. Used elliptically to express doubt or wonder, as in Eng.: “It is a question”, “I wonder,” “Goodness knows” (Lnk., Dmf., Rxb. 1967). Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 17:
“Quaisteen if hei can finnd the road i sic waather.” “Aye, quaisteen!” “Quaisteen how hei'll can finnd the road i sic waather.”

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"Question n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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