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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SEMMIT, n. Also sem(m)et, se(a)mit, semmad (Cai.); seemit, simmit, -et. A vest, orig. a man's (or ‡woman's) undershirt usu. of wool or flannel (m. and s.Sc. 1869 Athenaeum (13 March) 382, Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 352; Gall. 1904 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. [′sɛmɪt]Sc. 1865 Justiciary Reports (1868) 126:
1 knitted woollen semet.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 127:
His seamit an' his drawers werena there.
Gsw. 1915 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor Enlists ii.:
This semmit's had its day.
m.Sc. 1932 O. Douglas Priorsford iv.:
I'm at ma twelfth semmit, an' I've made six pairs of socks.
Gsw. 1939 Edward Gaitens in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 16:
He lept from bed, as he was, in pants and semmit, and seized the broom handle.
Cai. 1951 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc.:
They [bullocks]'d chow 'e semmad off yer back.
Gsw. 1953 J. J. Lavin Compass of Youth ii. iii.:
Yer semit an' drawers, Professor, are gey the waur o' wear.
Gsw. 1980 Christine Marion Fraser Blue Above the Chimneys (1985) 42:
That morning of Christmas '51 Da was sitting up in bed, dressed in his 'simmit' and a pair of long drawers, smoking his pipe, ...
Sc. 1989 Scotsman (7 Aug) 20:
The load of scrap has wheels. It is pushed into the garden by four men wearing dirty semmits, who bawl at one another.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 1:
The Blackshirts, the Brownshirts, the Blueshirts, fascists of every colour and country came up against the men an women ae no mean city, against grey simmets and bunnets and headscarfs, against troosers tied wae string an shoes that let the rain in, against guns that were auld enough tae rememeber Waterloo.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 15:
Sic slaisters, yon table wi bottles
a glesses aa owre the place.
In the efternuin tae if ye plais.
Ain had a dug held up til her mou.
The faggot near gied me the boak.
An men in thir semmits,
juist lik they'd come aff
the back shift an hour syne.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 30:
OK, he slagged the food, but he waxed lyrical about the waiters in their galluses, collarless granpa simmets, big tweed bunnets and hobnail miners' boots, plus the waitresses with their neatly rolled hair, crossover peenies and - a lovely wee touch this I think - stockings rolled down to the ankles and Maw Broon slippers
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 14:
Sit up oan the jaw box.
Jist take aff your semmit
Watch ye don't faw aff
Ah'll be wi' ye in a meenit.
Abd. 1993:
A seemit's nae a sark - it gangs in anaith.
Gsw. 1997 Dorothy Paul Dorothy: Revelations of a Rejected Soprano 14:
There I was in a cot, wearing only a wee short 'simmit', with a little boy who was playing with an appendage to his anatomy, a thing I'd never seen before and something I didn't like the look of.
Sc. 2000 Herald (18 Apr) 32:
Described as a "shrewd, cunning little warrior", [Asterix] is, in fact, quite a complex little fellow, resplendent in simmet, body-builder pantaloons, and winged helmet, wandering the world in search of cultural inspiration and the finer things in life ...

[Orig. doubtful. Phs. orig. the same word as Eng. samite, a fine silk cloth, or a garment of the same, phs. worn as an undergarment and thence extended in meaning to any garment worn next to the skin, but the semantic development is not clear. O.Sc. has semat, of a Roman tunic, 1456. Semmet is found as a form of samite in 18th c. Sc. (see A. H. Dunlop Anent Old Edb. (1890) 38.)]

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"Semmit n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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