Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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STA, n., v. Also staa, staw, stau. Sc. forms of Eng. stall, in a stable, a booth at a market, etc. Dim. stallie. [stɑ:, st:]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. (Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 187; Rnf. 1801 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 11; ne.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 33; Ags. 1924 A. Gray Any Man's Life 50; Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (19 Jan.)). For phrs. stirkie's sta', stook an' sta', see Stirk, Stook. Combs. sta' room, accommodation for an animal in a byre; sta-tree, the stake in a cow-stall to which the animal is bound (Kcd. 1825 Jam.); the cross-beam over the manger in a stable (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.). Cf. ravel-tree s.v. Ravel. Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man III. vii.:
Hearth-room and ha'-room, steed-room and sta'-room.

2. See quot. (Ork. 1971). Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gaz. (19 Nov.):
In the ‘belly of his stall' — as the shoe-makers call the hollow box on which they sit.

3. In dim.: one of the compartments on the deck of a flshing-boat (Bnff. 1971).

4. A surfeit, a feeling of nausea, disgust or aversion caused by satiety (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 129; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 268; Uls. 1929; m. and s.Sc. 1971); a jollification involving much eating of tit-bits. Also fig. and freq. in phrs. to get, gie or tak a staw. Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 70:
An' we to haud our Fastren's staw.
Lnk. 1824 Sc. Peasants ii.:
I am no sure about this Union business at a'. Luke Martin has gi'en me a staw o't.
Sc. 1825 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) IX. 333:
Talking of Moore he [Hogg] said his songs were written wi' owr muckle melody — they gied him a staw of sweetness.
Ayr. 1892 Kilmarnock Stand. (30 July) 5:
But charmin' nane harmin', Nor giein' them the staw.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Men of Moss-Hags v.:
He had gotten a staw of the red soldiers.
Sc. 1924 J. Innes Till a' the Seas xlii.:
It gave me a staw and scunner at lawyers.
Fif. 1948 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 20:
They'd sent doon for the doctor, wha said he'd got a staw.
Gsw. 1955 Bulletin (26 Nov.):
Ay've taken a pairfaict sta at grated carrots.

5. An annoyance, nuisance; a pest, bore (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 167:
It's a perfeek staw the like o' this wark.
Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Confessional 180:
What does ane live for but to eat? This gairness is a perfect staw.
Dmf. 1917:
She bides that lang, she's a perfect staw.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 18:
Nae pictur's, dances. It's a staw To turn a stirk, man.

II. v. 1. In vbl.n. stalling, the setting up of a stall at a market or fair. Hence comb. stalling-maills, the dues paid to the local authority for this privilege. Cf. Stallenger. Rs. 1712 N. Macrae Romance Royal Burgh (1924) 206:
There was produced by the Treasurer a list of stallingers liable in payment of stalling maills.

2. tr. To surfeit, satiate, sicken or disgust with excess of food (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 438; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; m. and s.Sc. 1971). Also refl. and fig. to tire, weary, bore with monotony, constant repetition, etc. (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 198; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Freq. in ppl.adj. stawed, staut (with o' wi), having had enough (of), sated (with). Compar. stawder. Vbl.n. stawin. Also in Eng. dial. Ayr. 1787 Burns To a Haggis v.:
Is there that o'er his French ragout, Or olio that wad staw a sow?
Sc. 1806 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 696:
Whan onie glaiket wish Stechs an' connachs till it's staut.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 27:
When the edge o' the appeteet's a wee turned, and you're rather beginnin to be stawed.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 81:
Your sherny legs wad staw the town Ilka lirk wi' muck is fou.
Cld. 1866 G. Mills Beggar's Benison I. 152:
All the pastry in my shop would fail to staw the youthful appetite.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (6 Feb.) 321:
I was sune stawder o' lyin' than ever I had been o' risin'.
Ags. 1894 J. Paul Up Glenesk 74:
Contentment's better than great stawin'.
Rxb. 1914 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
Whan ma lugs are staaed o throapply blethers.
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown 107:
It's that stawed it can eat nae mair.
Sc. 1939 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 268:
Wouldna the life in yon place staw them?
Dmf. 1956:
They've stawed theirsels — they've sickened themselves by overeating.
Edb. 1960:
They get so much shorthand, they are stawed by the time the exam comes.

Adj. stawsome, -sum, nauseous, repugnant to the taste or appetite, of unpleasant or excessive food (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 180, -sum; m.Sc., Rxb. 1971); fig. tiresome, boring, wearisome. Bwk. 1801 “Bwk. Sandie” Poems 78:
Sic scrapin', an' shapin' Things out — to gar them sair, Is awesome, an' stawsome.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 90:
Downricht stawsome grows their din.
Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie and Madge 82:
It's turnin' as stawsome to me as castoroil wi' a bap.
Edb. 1915 J. Fergus The Sodger 20:
His meat seem'd wersh an' stawsome.
Bwk. 1943 W. L. Ferguson Vignettes 73:
O! whiles I think on Lesbia's sparrow, A stawsome bird — Catullus' sorrow!

3. intr. To become cloyed or sated with or nauseated by food, etc.; to become bored or fed up (Ags., Per., Lnk., sm.Sc. 1971). Dmf. 1730 Clerk of Penicuik MSS. (22 Aug.):
The sight of gleakry of the town, of which I fancy you would soon stau.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 137:
I'll gust ye till ye staw.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 9:
Whaur I gang I seldom staw.

[In sense II. 2. in E.M.E. as staule, from the notion of an animal kept in a stall and fed to repletion.]

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"Sta n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Aug 2021 <>



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