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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

QUIT, v. Sc. forms and usages:

A. Forms: Pres.t. quit, whit (Sh.); quet (Sc. 1706 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 427), whet (Sh. 1959 New Shetlander No. 52. 16), whett (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.), hwet (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); quite (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 244; Ork. 1920 H. Campbell Island Folk Songs 12, Ork. 1967), quyte (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 86); hwite (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Pa.t. quat (Sc. 1706 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 446; Ayr. 1789 Burns On Capt. Grose v.; Abd. 1841 J. Imlah Poems 177; Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 48; Ags. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 30), whatt (Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 592, Sh. 1967); quate (Sc. 1750 W. McFarlane Geneal. Coll. (S.H.S.) II. 511; Abd., Per. 1967); quite (Sc. 1730 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) IV. 106); quittit (Abd. 1967). Pa.p. quat(t) (Ayr. 1786 Burns Vision i.; s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 206; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson), whaet (Sh. 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. 22), whet (Sh. 1970 New Shetlander No. 92. 27). Gen.Sc. See below; quite; quutten (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 206).

B. Usages: 1. As in Eng.: to leave, forsake, relinquish, free, let go. Ppl.adj. quat, †quite, free, clear, released; gen. with o': free of, rid or quit of (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 196). Gen.Sc.Peb. 1701 Peebles Burgh Rec. (B.R.S.) II. 164:
He drew his knyf and she quat his staff.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 374:
You are well away, and we are as well quat.
Slk. 1810 Hogg Tales (1874) 239:
Gin ye dinna tie him till a job that he canna get quat o'.
Sc. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu Intro. iv.:
I wuss I ware weel quite o't.
Sc. 1837 Chamber's Jnl. (20 May) 134:
It's no sae easy gettin' quat o' him as ye think.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff xx.:
If it was jist quat o' that blessed creddle, that it wud ne'er look ower the shoother o't.
Rnf. 1910 H. Maclaine My Frien' 13:
I was quat and hame early that nicht.
wm.Sc. 1931 N. Munro Para Handy 491:
Yince they got a fit in yer hoose ye couldna get quat o' them.

2. Absol. or tr. with gerund: to cease, give up, desist (Sh., Ags., Ayr., s.Sc. 1967).Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 93:
At nine they quat, nae lass gaed hame her lane.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 60:
The rain quat, and the sun shone oot.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 63:
Yieldin wasna in his e'e; But it wadna — e'en at that — Dae ava: at last he quat.
Ork. 1920:
He's klinked sin' he quat drinkin.
s.Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 782:
A visitor on calling at a house would ask, “Have you quat takin' in?” equivalent to asking if one might enter.

3. With wi': to part with, be done with.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality viii.:
Ye hae preached twenty punds out o' the Laird's pocket that he likes as ill to quit wi'.
Sc. 1819 Scott H. Midlothian ix.:
Davie Deans intimated to the Laird of Dumbiedikes his purpose of “quitting wi' the land and house at Woodend.”

4. To free, clear, exonerate, acquit (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., quyt, 1914 Angus Gl., hwite). Deriv. quittance, discharge, of a debt, etc., receipt, payment; hence fig. account, valid explanation, exculpating statement (Sh., wm.Sc. 1967). See also Cuttance. Comb. quit-rigg, a kind of feu-duty or quit-rent, a payment made for the use of a building site in lieu of services to an estate.Abd. 1778 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 274:
Some ither questions mair he speer'd, but she Cud of herself but little quittance gie.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 120:
To pay a sum to quit you then, Or free frae so[ve]rin.
Arg. 1884 Crofters' Comm. Report App. A. xcvi. 448:
The payments of my rent and quit rigg, from Whitsunday 1875 to the last term of Martinmas 1883.
Arg. 1898 N. Munro J. Splendid xviii.:
But for him we had no doubt got a short quittance from MacColkitto, who was for the tow gravatte on the spot.

[Quit is from Mid.Eng. quitten, Fr. quitter. The form quite represents the normal development from Mid.Eng. quiten, O.Fr. quiter, which survives in n.Eng. dial. The quat, quate forms have arisen by analogy with strong verbs of similar form, e.g. sit, sat, and have led by further misunderstanding to the development of the weak Sc. form Quat, q.v. The ppl.adj. quat, quite, corresponds in usage to the Eng. adj. quit, free, rid, Fr. quitte.]

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"Quit v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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