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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

SHOT, n.3 Also shott. A small opening in the wall of a house, freq. on a staircase, acting as a window but closed by hinged wooden shutters, sometimes with small panes of glass at the top, a kind of small casement (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Also given, but prob. erron., as “a projected window” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), as from Shuit. This appears to be the sense intended in 1836 quot. Cf. Outshot, II.Edb. 1707 Town Council Order (2 May):
Such persons as shall be guilty found of throwing over any kind of Filth at Shots, Windows or Doors.
Abd. 1710 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VII. 126:
When I closed the shots in my forestair.
Sc. 1722 R. Wodrow Sufferings iii. vii. s. 2:
With Windows called Shots, or Shutters of Timber and a few Inches of Glass above them.
Gsw. 1756 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1911) 477:
The timber for shotts should be pottied and painted.

Hence combs.: (1) shot-hole, the opening for such a window. Scott uses the word freq., evid. under the impression that it was used for shooting through. as a gun-loop; (2) shot-window, = above. Freq. in ballads.(1) Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. x.:
A small projecting window, or shot-hole, through which, in former days, the warders were wont to reconnoitre those who presented themselves before the gates.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet v.:
A narrow window, which seemed anciently to have been used as a shot-hole.
Sc. a.1832 H. Miller Scenes (1857) 135:
Dallas undid the covering of the shot-hole that looked down on the manse.
Knr. 1895 H. Haliburton Dunbar 89:
Shot-holes a' doun, an' double stanks beneath.
Sc. 1927 W. M. Mackenzie Med. Castle 105:
A shot-hole was not a hole for shooting through but a small type of window with a shot or shutter.
(2) Sc. 1776 Sweet William's Ghost in Child Ballads No. 77 B. ix.:
Up she has tain a bright long wand, . . . She has given [it] him out at the shot-window.
Sc. 1822 Scott Pirate v.:
Go to the shot-window instantly, and see how many there are of them, while I load the old Spanish-barrelled duck-gun.
Sc. 1829 R. Chambers Sc. Ballads 242:
By shot-window is meant a certain species of aperture, generally circular, which used to be common in the stair-cases of old wooden houses in Scotland, and some specimens of which are yet to be seen in the Old Town of Edinburgh. It was calculated to save glass in those parts of the house where light was required, but where there was no necessity for the exclusion of air.
Lnk. 1836 J. Struthers Poet. Wks. (1850) II. 64:
Its braw shot window, where to th' e'e Shines Snuff, Tobacco, and Bohea.
Sc. 1848 D. Wilson Memoirs Edb. II. 122:
Rude little shot-windows admit the light to the decayed and gloomy chambers therein.
Abd. 1925 Greig and Keith Last Leaves 119:
The King lookit ower his shot window.

[O.Sc. schot(-wyndo), 1513, Mid.Eng. shotwyndowe, id., of somewhat uncertain orig. But cf. Mid. Du. schotdore, sliding door, schotpoorte, a portcullis, where schot means orig. a partition, M.L.Ger. schot, a board for closing an opening. See Shot,n.4]

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"Shot n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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