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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.

SHUIT, v., n. Also shut(e) (Sc. 1808 Jam., m.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-head 36, Ags. 1961 Dundee Courier (17 June) 6), schute (Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms v. 10), schuut (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms xi. 2), schuit (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 207), sheut (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 4); shit (Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw 41), shate (Fif. 1937 P. Smith The Herrin' (1951) 5); sheet (Abd. 1715 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion (1869) 36; ne.Sc. 1783 Bonny Birdy in Child's Ballads No. 82. v., Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 8, ne.Sc. 1970). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. shoot. Some of the meanings of the v. are also shared in the pr.t. with Shot, v., q.v. [m. and s.Sc. ʃøt, ʃyt, ʃɪt; n.Sc. ʃit. See P.L.D. § 35.]

I. v. A. Forms: Pr.t. shuit (m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 103; Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 52), etc., as above (Gen.Sc.). Pa.t. weak shot (Gen.Sc.); †shut; sheetit (ne.Sc. 1970). Pa.p. weak shot(t) (Gen.Sc.), sheetit (ne.Sc. 1970); strong shotten (Rxb. 1876 D.S.C.S. 207, in sense 3.(1); Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of Wilderness i.; Per., Avr. 1915–23 Wilson; ne.Sc. 1965), shuten (e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 239), schuten (Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xxxii.), shuitten (Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 169).

Pa.p. strong. Ags. 1993 Mary McIntosh in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 112:
Thar wis a spladge o orange i the sky aa shotten through wi a crammasie glowe, an he shiddered as the nicht creepit roon him.

B. Usages: 1. As in Eng., in comb. and phrs.: (1) shootin-brod, a target for shooting at; (2) to shoot a craw, to order drinks without paying for them (Edb. 1957), to abscond without paying one's debts (wm.Sc. 1970). Also in Eng. slang; used of coalmen: to contrive to cheat a customer of a bag of coal (Edb. 1958); (3) to shoot amang the doos, to exaggerate, “draw the long bow,” talk big (Sc. 1875 A. Hislop Anecdotes 123). See also Doo, n, 3. (12).(1) Ags. 1897 F. MacKenzie North. Pine viii.:
He'll hang round aboot John Morrison's shootin'-brod the hail day.

2. To shoot by magical means, esp. of cattle found to be ill or dead from some obscure cause, popularly ascribed to wounds from flint arrow heads shot by the fairies. See Elf-shoot, -shot. Vbl.n. shooting. Freq. in phr. shute-to-dead, shute-a-dead, id., also pass. of cattle: to die suddenly of some obscure, supposedly supernatural, cause. Also used imprecatively as a n.phr. and in ppl. form shot-a-dead, adj., shot to death by the fairies; n., death by such means (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 155). See Deid, n.Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 50:
Shute to dead come on them, an' they get a bit frae me.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 167–8:
For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perish'd mony a bonie boat.
n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
To shute-a-dead, to die; a phrase used concerning cattle. When they are very bad in any disease, it is said they are like to shute a-dead.
Dmf. 1812 W. Singer Agric. Dmf. 355:
What is called the shooting, or elf-shot, among cows giving milk. Warm aromatic drinks, and medicines that bring a perspiration, are the remedies for the last.
Bnff. 1887 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 60:
I remember hearing an old farmer, long ago dead, when one of his cattle had died in the hill, from what I take to have been some sudden disease of the heart or lungs, conjecturing, among other casualties that might have happened to it, that perhaps it was ‘shot o' dead.' He said it was the work of the fairies, and that the flint arrow heads were the weapons used by them for the purpose.

3. (1) To push, shove, jerk forward, thrust suddenly or roughly (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh., Ork. 1970). Obs. or dial. in Eng.Fif. 1704 in G. Sinclair Satan's Invisible World (1871) Suppl. lix.:
They are pricking me and shutting something down my throat.
Gall. 1735 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 237:
She saw her husband, William Smith, bring the said Mary down the house out of the chamber before him and shut her to the door, and upon the said Marys endeavouring to come in again to seek something she said she wanted the declarant shut her to the door again.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 88:
But whan I shoot my nose in, ten to ane If I weelfardly see my ane hearthstane.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 30:
Out she goes shooting Jockey before her.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. xv.:
A lord! set them up and shute them forward.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 360:
Until ye're shot aneath the mools.
w.Lth. 1842 Children in Mines Report II. 475:
After shuting up the brae, I throw the coals over with a shovel into the hurley.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 168:
The auld, meddlin', donnert dotard ettles to shute his snoot until this pie too!
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (28 Aug.):
I shot da pockie wi' da Dutch i' William's haand.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 55:
It's nae ilka wye 'at ye'll sheet yer niz in t' sic a het nest.
Abd. 1916 T.S.D.C. II. 44:
About 100 years ago a draper in Huntly was named “sheet the elvin,” from his alleged practice of drawing back the yard-stick in measuring cloth.

Phr. to shuit out one's fit, -feet or -hand, to give a convulsive flap or kick, as in a fit or the death-agony.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 26:
An' for a while shot out baith hand an' foot, As she had been wi' the elf-arrow shot.
Abd. 1847 Gill Binklets 122:
She'll be a braw tochered maiden fan her auld aunty sheets out her fit.
Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 53:
O it shot out its feet and died.

(2) To turn out or produce hurriedly, to “rustle up” (Bnff. 1970).Abd. 1964 Buchan Observer (1 Sept.) 6:
If she wants fite breid, she can sheet a flour scone.

(3) To reject after selection, to separate out the bad from the good, esp. in buying or selling cattle or sheep (w. and sm.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1970). Cf. Shot, n.2 Also in n.Eng. dial.Wgt. 1758 Session Papers, Petition P. Dunbar (4 Jan.) 1:
He prevailed with Machermore to shoot him twenty of the Cows, and to give him three to the Bargain.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 252:
Drovers, in purchasing these, will sometimes take the good, and leave the bad; this is called shooting.
Dmf. 1904 J. Gillespie Humours Sc. Life 69:
The practice of putting out or shoving out the poorer sheep from a flock periodically was invariably followed. The process is popularly spoken of as “shuting” them out, and the inferior sheep so put out are known as “the shots.”
Slk. 1920 P. Sulley In our Burgh 137:
The poorest, oldest ewes are “shot” as unfit for further use.

(4) To reject, discard, get rid of, in gen., esp. in ppl.adj. shot o(f), ¶on, rid of, free from. Gen.Sc., dial. in Eng. Cf. Shut, v., 2.Sc. a.1787 Herd's MSS. (Hecht 1904) 110:
Now she is dead, and I'm fairly shot of her.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxxii.:
Are you not glad to be fairly shot of him?
Dmf. 1837 Carlyle Life in London (Froude 1884) I. 95:
I am shot of it [a book], and you are shot of it.
Lnk. 1895 A. G. Murdoch Readings ii. 57:
I want shot o' her, can ye advise me?
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin x.:
We're weel shot on him.
s.Sc. 1926 H. McDiarmid Penny Wheep 45:
I shall be shot O' the warld's wecht soon.
Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 10:
But sune we're shot o' murnin'.

(5) With advs. (cf. sim. usages of Shuive): (i) shuit about, intr., to get through a period of time with some difficulty, to last it out, to manage somehow, to make a shift (Sc. 1808 Jam.); tr., to entertain at little trouble or expense, to keep supplied in a frugal or off-hand fashion. Hence shuit-aboot, n., (a) a makeshift meal (Kcd., Ags. 1970); also attrib.; (b) see quot.; (ii) shuit by, id. (Per., Cld. 1825 Jam.; Ags., Per., Slg. 1970). Also to shuit it by, to make do' to temporise; (iii) shuit ower, to last over (a period), to get through (a critical time); to tide one over, make scanty provision for (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. (i) and (ii).(i) Sc. 1808 Jam.:
To schute about, a vulgar phrase used to denote that one is in ordinary health. In a passive sense, one is said to be no ill to shoot by, or easily shot about, when he can satisfy himself with a slight or homely meal, when he is not hard to be pleased as to victuals.
(a) Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (11 May) 3:
I dae not like thae shoot-aboot kind o' dinners ava'.
Ags. 1946 Forfar Dispatch (14 Feb.):
My lodgers are awa and I wiz juist tae hae a shuit-aboot.
(b) Ags.19 1948:
Shuit-aboot or hop-tig. A form of tig, in which everyone hopped and “hit” had to knock you till you put the raised foot on the ground, keeping hopping himself as he did so.
(ii) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 20:
Gin ye wad but shoot it by a while.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. viii.:
The more lasting and substantial praise of being “easily shot bye wi' his victuals.”
Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 279:
In vulgar phraseology, a host, when his guest comes who is ill-provided. says “Ye've only got a shoot-by for a dinner.”
Gsw. 1862 St Andrews Gazette (19 Sept.):
I made myself some dinner, and got shot by.
Per. 1883 W. Cleland Inchbracken xxiv.:
Ye'd hae shotten't by wi' ait meal brue.
Ags. 1886 A. Willock Rosetty Ends 136:
To mak' a shoot-by a' nicht on a shak'-doon.
(iii) Sc. a.1724 W. Stenhouse Illustr. to Sc. Musical Museum (1853) 310:
Where shall our goodman lie, Till he shute o'er the simmer?
Dmf. 1822 A. Cunningham Trad. Tales II. 315:
He's going gear; he winna shoot over the coming midnight.
Fif. 1823 W. Tennant Card. Beaton 26:
He shoots auld decent folk ower wi' a pickle ait-meal, and a wheen cauld kail-blades.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 126:
I sent for some to shuit me ower.

4. Of walls or the like: to protrude, to bulge, be in danger of bursting and falling, to collapse, to avalanche (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork. 1970). Obs. in Eng. Phrs. a shot brae, a landslide, avalanche, a shot heuch, “a steep bank of which the sward or surface has fallen down through the undermining of a stream, or by the action of water from above” (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1717 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 620:
His yeard dyck is undermyned and shooting.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 321:
Build up the peat-stacks, if in winter shot.
Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 181:
The recent scar of some extensive ‘shot brae,' or “avalanche,” which had rushed into the flood below.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xvii.:
They're crackit in divers places; they're shotten out wi' infirmity in others.
Slk. 1832 Fraser's Mag. (Sept.) 166:
The snow had shot, as it is called; that is, rushed from the hillside into the hollow. . . . Sitting howling with a bow-wow of perfect despair on the top of the shot snow.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 380:
A farm-servant, who happened to pass the scaffold, noticed that it was beginning to shoot.

5. Of plants, as in Eng., to sprout; specif. in Sc.: to run to seed (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.; of grain: to come into ear, when the head rises clear of the foliage and the leaves droop (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Ppl.adj. shot, run to seed. Vbl.n. sheetin, coming into ear, comb. sheetin-blade, see quot. and shot-blade below.Abd. 1749 J. Cranna Fraserburgh (1914) 42:
Defender's wife got some shot carrots and turnips.
Bnff. 1774 Session Papers, Petition Reps. G. Gordon (19 July) Report 26:
The grass was old, and some of it shot.
Bnff. 1782 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1930) 42–3:
The corn was then in great fragrance and only beginning to shoot. . . . It was a mortifying sight that morning to see the corn half shot lying flat and green.
m.Lth. 1795 G. Robertson Agric. M. Lth. 110:
When more early, the turnips are apt to shoot before winter.
Peb. 1814 Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 393:
A good deal of Ryegrass, after it was shot, became withered, or frost bitten.
Lth. 1829 G. Robertson Recoll. 286:
Barley ripens in about four or five weeks from the time it is fully shot.
Mry. 1887 A. G. Wilken Peter Laing 40:
If the corn stoppit growin' fan it began to sheet the witches were aye blam't for't.
Cai. 1904 E.D.D.:
Corn is said to be in the sheetin-blade when the rachis or panicle is about ready to emerge from the sheath of the upper leaf.
Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (25 July):
Hundreds of the market-goers walked miles, and if in quest of a “hairst fee,” were early on the “fit market” stance, a “shot” corn in button hole, or cap, as an indication of the wearers being open for engagement.
Abd. 1962 Abd. Press & Jnl. (14 Nov.):
It his a guid bit to mak' atween the sheetin' an' the shearin' (said of a poor crop).

Comb. shot-blade, the leaf which encloses the stalk of corn and from which it emerges at the shooting (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 403; Sh., ne.Sc., Slg., em.Sc.(b), Gall. 1970).Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. Per. 196:
Weeds are taken from the oats and barley when they are in the shot blade.
s.Sc. 1822 Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 376:
The heat brought the Oats and Barley into the shot-blade about ten days earlier than usual.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. iv.:
He would whet his sickle before the grain swelled in the shot blade.
Sc. 1869 J. C. Morton Cycl. Agric. II. 500:
On such land the plants grow beautifully, until the shot-blade or ear-leaf is formed.
Ayr. 1895 H. Ochiltree Redburn xvii.:
The feck o' the yits is a' in the shot-blade.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (8 Oct.):
As green as whin hit wis i' da shotblade.

6. Of a fish: to discharge its spawn. Rare or dial. in Eng. Freq. in ppl.adj. shot(ten), spawned, spent (e.Sc. 1970). Cf. Mid.Eng. shotten herring, Du. schoten haring, a spawned herring.Edb. 1827 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 245:
A straw bonnet wi' a feather in't as lang as a shotten haddie.
Fif. 1863 Chamber's Jnl. (11 July) 29:
After spawning they are called shotten.
Sc. 1884 R. J. Munro Herring Fisheries 39:
Fulls or full-herring, and spents or shotten herring.

7. Of weather: to precipitate squally showers, to rain intermittently with gusts of wind (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Abd. Ib.:
It's gude March weather, sheetin' and shinin'.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 150:
When there were alternate showers and sunshine, with a good breeze and large clouds fieeting across the blue sky, it was said, “It's an April day, it's sheetin an glintin.”

8. Ppl.adj. shot(ten) in combs.: (1) shot-cock, a young cockerel not fully fledged, one to be preserved for breeding, phs. an extension of 5. (ne.Sc. 1970); (2) shot joint, a joint deformed by rheumatism, an arthritic joint (I. and n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Lnk., Gall. 1970); (3) shot(ten) star(n), -stern, (i) a shooting star, a meteor; (ii) gen. in pl.: the alga, Nostoc commune, of a jelly-like appearance, found in pastures after rain and popularly explained in various ways, e.g. as the remains of a shooting star (Slk. 1825 Jam., -stern). Cf. also Fa, v., 9. (5), Foumart, 1. Combs., and Star. Also in Ir. dial.(1) Abd.15 1930:
He's a lang-leggit stump, like a shot-cock.
(2) Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 53:
A wis gaun ta get some intment for shot jints.
(3) (i) Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 116:
Not a comet but one of these exhalations which ordinarily they call shot starrs.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 159:
Like a shot-starn frae the lift!
Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
The frequent appearance of shot-stars is viewed by the peasantry in Teviotdale as foretokening lightning, thunder, and tempestuous weather.
Slk. 1874 Border Treasury (1 Aug.) 15:
For fear I should fa' an' be dasht to pieces like a shot stern.
(ii) Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 351 note:
The substance called shot stars is nothing else than frosted potatoes.
Dmf. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 403:
May I be suppered wi' shotten stars . . . gin they dinna win thx kirn.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 144:
The bird [heron] that vomits the shot star, that clear gluey matter found in fishy marshes; instead of being a production of the lofty regions of aether, as long fancied, it is now found to proceed from the greedy gizzerons of lang-necked or craig o' herons.

II. n. 1. A push, shove (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Comb. Shuit-thegether, a hastily-arranged marriage (Watson). Cf. I. 3. (1).Ags. 1878 J. S. Neish Reminisc. 113:
I just gae the poor chiel a shoot ower wi' the butt end o' my musket.
Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (21 May) 3:
Marget ga'e me a big shoot, an doon I cam'.

2. The act of throwing out the sinker and hooks in fishing (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., shut). Cf. Eng. shoot, to cast nets or lines into the sea.

[O.Sc. schute, to shove, push, a.1400, to crash, 1561, shot star, tremella, 1623.]

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"Shuit v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jul 2024 <>



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