Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SAITHE, n.1 Also saith, se(a)th(e), seeth(e), seythe, scaithe, s(c)yth(e); sa(i)d(e), sade, saed, sed (Sh.); †s(e)ay, sey (Sth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 290; Arg. 1800 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (1 Oct.) 318), sye (Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 149). The full-grown coalfish, Gadus virens, in its third or, in some places, its fourth year (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. [se:ð; Sh., ‡ne.Sc. se:d] Sh. 1701  J. Brand Zetland (1883) 197:
The Seths are a greater and older Silluks.
Fif. 1710  R. Sibbald Hist. Fife 52:
The Cole-fish of the North of England; our Fishers call it, a Colman's-Seeth.
w.Sc. 1787  The Bee (23 May 1792) IX. 89:
Took some large sythe, called lord-fish, as big as salmon.
Ork. 1806  P. Neill Tour 39, 209:
When full grown, the same [coal-] fish is called a sethe . . . In different places, termed a sey.
Kcd. 1813  G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 415:
There is a fish resembling a herring, but larger, that comes occasionally to the mouths of the rivers . . . it is called sed, or seath.
Bte. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 V. 110:
There is, besides, a regular fishing of haddocks, whitings, scaithes, and soles.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders iii.:
There was nothing except lythe and saithe in the nets.
Abd. 1917  Scotsman (9 Nov.) 7:
Cod, 6s. to 9s. each; saithe, 3s. 6d. to 7s. 9d. each.
Arg. 1949  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 334:
A fish for our tea, a saithe or a whiting.

Combs. and Phr.: 1. saide-an-gree, see quot.; †2. seathfish, a saithe; 3. said-fool, the lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus (Sh. 1861 Zoologist XIX. 7344, Sh. 1969); 4. saithe gull, id. (Sh. 1896 Trans. Edb. Naturalists'Club 158); 5. saide piltik, a saithe before its final year of growth. See also Piltock. 1. Sh. 1914  Old-Lore Misc. VII. ii. 74:
Saide-an-gree was the saith boiled with its liver till the oil floated on the water. When the fish was dished the “gree” was skimmed off and poured over the fish.
2. Sh. 1774  G. Low Tour (1879) 187:
Seathfish, which are here caught in great plenty, and cured with the heads on, like Scotch cured Keeling.
5. Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 243:
It'll gaeng ill ta wark if we canna yaag twartree saide piltiks.

[O.Sc. seath, 1632, O.N. seiðr, Norw., Dan. seid, sei, id.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Saithe n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: