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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

SKETCH, n.1, v. Also skaetch, skaitch, skitch; skee(t)ch, skeatch, skeitch, sk(e)ytch; skatch (wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.); erron. skutch. [sketʃ; wm.Sc. skəitʃ; Inv., Mry., Ags. skitʃ; Sh. skitʃ]

I. n. 1. (1) In pl. Two sticks or poles crossed near the upper end, in the cleft of which rests one end of the spile-tree or beam for hanging fishing-lines on (Abd. 1929); (2) a sawyer's trestle, = II. 1. Deriv. (3) (Sh. 1970).

2. A skate (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags. 1970).

3. The act of skating, a turn or spell of skating (Sh. (skitch), Ags. 1970).Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (27 Feb.) 3:
Comin' oot to ha'e a sketch on the pond.

4. In dim. and deriv. forms ske(e)tcher, ske(e)tchie: a broken piece of earthenware, a flat stone or the like kicked from square to square in the game of hopscotch (Rs., Inv., Nai., Mry., Ags., Per., Fif. 1970); gen. in pl.: the game itself (Id.). See II. 2.Abd. 1965 Press and Jnl. (13 April):
The quines laid by their skipping ropes and skeetchies.

II. v. 1. To skate (on ice) (Sc. 1825 Jam. ske(y)tch; Sh. (skitch), Ags. (skeetch), Per. 1970). Vbl.n. skeetchin, skating.Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 142:
Awa' to skaitch, or see the curling.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
An oor or twa's sketchin' on the ice.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 83:
Miles o' strong up-bearin' ice, 'Lang which to skytch, or whusk the whirlin' stane.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 38:
I'm gaen oot to the skeetchin pond to hae some fun.
Slg. 1901 R. Buchanan Poems 158:
The Loch, and the Leddies' Cut were bearing, and in fine fettle for skitching.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xix.:
If ye canna skeetch on wan foot, hoo do ye expect to skeetch on twa?
Bnff. 1925 W. Barclay Schools Bnff. 250:
When winter came “skutchin'” [sic] was a favourite recreation.

Deriv. ske(e)tcher, ske(y)tcher, sk(e)atcher, ¶-et, skaetcher, (1) a skater, one who skates (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Ags. 1970); (2) a skate, ice-shoe (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rnf., Ayr. 1948; Ags. 1970, skeetcher, -et). Phr. like death on skytchers, having a lean, gaunt appearance (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 165). See Death, I. 2.; (3) in pl.: two wooden legs joined together by a cross-bar on which a log to be sawn rests in a saw-pit, a kind of sawyer's trestle (Bwk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 200). Cf. I. 1. (2).(1) Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 196:
An' owre the Loch's clear frozen face, On skytchers thrang, in airy chace.
Ayr. 1828 J. Dunlop Curling 40:
The skeitchers fleeing cleave the air.
Sc. 1892 Royal Caled. Curling Club Ann. 79:
The pond look'd grand for skytcher's sport.
Fif. 1909 Colville 129:
Frozen pools in the woods resounded to the clang of the “skætchers.”
Ags. 1946 D. Twitter Tales 31:
Ed wiz a grand skeecher — no' me.
(2) Sc. 1741 Caled. Mercury (15 Dec.):
The best double stockt Skeatchers, high Steil'd sold by Thomas Henderson.
Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. iii.:
I thought sketchers were aye made of airn!
Ags. 1840 D. Mitchell Montrose (1866) 63:
To “catch podlies” at the pier, or use our skatchets at the “Cruizers”.
Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xxiv.:
To get a new strap for my skatcher.
Ags. 1896 A. Blair Rantin Robin 43:
I sat on the ice lowsin Jamie's skeetchers aff my feet.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 15:
What fun on the ice . . . skimming on our skytchers.
Ags. 1945 S. A. Duncan Chronicles Mary Ann 36:
Eez skeetchers is in my great-aunt Jezebel's jeely-pan.

2. intr. To skim along the surface of water of a stone (Lnl. 1947); tr. to throw a stone in this way, to play at ducks and drakes (Rs., Inv., Fif. 1970). Hence skeetcher, (1) the stone so used (Rs., Inv., Mry., Fif. 1970), in pl.: the game of ducks and drakes (Per. 1950); (2) the flat stone, block of wood, etc. kicked in hop-scotch, in pl. the game of hop-scotch (Inv., Nai. 1970). Cf. I. 4.

3. To walk with the toes turned out, to shuffle, drag the feet in walking (Ags., Lnl. 1947).

[The orig. meaning is a stilt, O.Sc. scatch, 1653, E.M.E. skache, Norman-Fr. escache, id., to which I. 1. most nearly approximates. For the senses of skate cf. the sim. semantic development of Du. schaats, a skate (also a deriv. of Fr. escache), from which this meaning has prob. been directly derived. Eng. skate is a back-formation from schaats, which was erron. taken to be a pl.]

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"Sketch n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Feb 2023 <>



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