Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SEMMIT, n. Also sem(m)et, se(a)mit, semmad (Cai.). A man's (or ‡woman's) undershirt or vest, 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.
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.

[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 Jan 2022 <>



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