Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TEET, v., n.1 Also tete; †tit-. [tit]

I. v. To peep, peer, cast a sly, surreptitious or inquisitive look, to steal a glance (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 271; I., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1972). Also fig. Abd. 1767  Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. I. 121:
She shortly chaps at her ain door; The bridegroom he teets through a bore.
Ags. 1790  D. Morison Poems 185:
Stowlins teetin' wi' a wishfu' e'e.
Abd. 1836  J. Leslie Willie & Meggie 13:
Fan ye teetit oot at the door.
Mry. 1870  W. H. Tester Poems 77:
Tak tent hoo she teets roun the moo o' the close.
Fif. 1866  G. Bruce Poems 67:
Syne up among the rashes teet To spy oot ill.
Abd. 1931  D. Campbell Uncle Andie 21:
Leave the neck o't teetin' ower the edge o' yer motor.
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 25:
Yer shouthers, ribs, an' hunker-banes are teetin' throu' the skin.
Sh. 1948  New Shetlander (Jan.-Feb.) 6:
Moose-moose-meeserie, Whar is du teetin?
Bnff. 1968  Bnff. Advertiser (11 Jan.) 8:
Dinna ee come teetin' at oor windae again.

Combs.: 1. teet-about, tete-, a nickname for a prying person, a snooper; 2. teet-bo, tit-, tee-tee-, teetie(-y)-, (1) n., the game of peep-bo (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 106, 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 271; Sh., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lnk. Rxb., 1972). Also in reduplic. form tit-bo, tat-bo (Abd. 1825 Jam., obsol.). Also attrib. as an epithet = inconstant, untrustworthy, sly; (2) int. the exclamation in the game, peep-bo! (n.Sc. 1972, teetie-bo). 1. Abd. 1842  Justiciary Reports (1844) 174:
The general cry was ‘go home, horse-coupers,' ‘Tete-about is no to be minister here.'
2. Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 72:
But she maun e'en be glad to jook, An' play teet-bo frae nook to nook.
Ags. 1790  D. Morison Poems 95:
By teetbo-friends, an' nae a few I've rough been guidit.
Ags. 1831  Per. Advertiser (27 Jan.):
A whin haflin callants playin tit bo.
Ags. 1892  A. Reid Howetoon 15:
Playin' at gey angry teetie-bo roond an' roond the gairden.
Abd. 1921  Swatches o' Hamespun 7:
Sae wifickie laid by her shank, An' played at teetie-bo.
(2) Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 181:
John Grumphie, teet, teet bo' O willawins, where art thou, jo?
Abd. 1923  J. Gray Stray Leaves No. vi. 2:
I see ye, tee-tee-bo! tee-tee-bo! Is'na he a braw lad, noo.

II. n. A shy peep, a sly, secretive glance (Sc. 1808 Jam.; I., n.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1972). Ags. 1819  A. Balfour Campbell I. 331:
I saw Eppie stealing a teet at him.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 9:
A' thing wis that secure that Auld Horny himsel' widna gotten a teet in.
Cai. 1902  J. Horne Canny Countryside 229:
'E temptation till hev a teet.
Abd. 1952  People's Jnl. (26 Jan.):
Visitors will be able to have a teet at the trout.

[Etym. somewhat uncertain, poss. ultim. imit. like keek, peep. The word is now gen. restricted to n.Sc. where Mid.Eng. to(o)te, O.E. tōtian, to peep, would normally be represented by teet, but the intermediate history of the word is not clearly evidenced. The form tetand in Douglas Aeneis (1513) XII. Prol. 123 is a MS. variant for tutand. Mid.Eng. tuten, to peer, which seems to be cognate. Connection with Dan. titte, Sw. titta, to peep, is very problematical. For teetbo, tatbo cf. O.Sc. titbore tatbore, id.]

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"Teet v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <>



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