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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TENT, n.3, v.1, adj.2 Also tint; ¶dim. tentie, -y.

I. n. 1. Attention, heed, care, notice; ¶charge.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 127:
Zig-zaggin', wi' great tent and toil, Through the thick middens of Argyle.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 10:
Andy has Jess and a bairn to his tenty.

Gen. in phrs. and derivs.: 1. Phrs.: (1) to gie tent, to pay attention, give heed. Obs. exc. liter.; (2) to tak tent, — a tent (Sh.), (i) absol. or with n. clause or inf.: id., to be careful, beware (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 18, 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc., and in n.Eng. dial.; (ii) to notice, observe, take note. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; (iii) with for: to be concerned about; (iv) with o(f): (a) id., to take good care of, heed; (b) to pay attention to, keep watch on, mark carefully (ne.Sc. 1972); (c) to beware of, be on one's guard against, look at with caution and circumspection; (v) with tae: to listen to, give heed to (m.Sc. 1972); take into consideration, take care of, treat kindly.(1) Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. iii.:
Tae gie tent tae things whilk are coerious an' banefu'!
(2) (i) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 163:
Strick Tent they'll tak to stow them wi' strang Brine.
Sc. 1769 Grey Cock in Child Ballads No. 248. iv.:
He gently tirled the pin; The lassie taking tent unto the door she went.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 140:
Take tent case Crummy tak her wonted tids.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems II. 19:
Tak good tent whare ye can lean When nations groan.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary vi.:
Canny now — tak tent and tak time.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West (1939) 39:
Gin ye're no sleeping, tak tent, I hae something to say.
Ork. c.1836 Old-Lore Misc. I. vii. 265:
Tak tent ye cutna yere big thumb.
Sc. 1888 A. Lang Ball. in Blue China 42:
Tak aye tent to be up on the green!
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 238:
Tak' tentie, noo' my Johnnie lad, Ye mauna hurry thro'.
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. 65:
What aboot dis folk at winna take a tint?
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 23:
Takin tent no ti craek ma cantel as A claam in.
Abd. 1958 People's Jnl. (3 May):
Fint a sowl took ony tint.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 40:
Syne up he sprauchles an' wauchles owre
tae the pub door an' sweys a moment
an' craiks: "Mind me noo," wi near a glowre
i the mochie een, "Mind me, tak tent."
I could only gie ane o my peelie-wersh smiles
an' nod the heid. Whit can ye say whiles?
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 100:
'Tak' tent, William. It's a fell dark night and the wind screams; gin it's mutton you crave I'll bid them kill the finest sheep for your sup.'
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 26:
So - watch out Margaret Thatcher, and tak' tent Neil Kinnock
Or we'll tak' the United Kingdom and brekk it like a bannock.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 18:
The peelie mune blintin ower cauld stane,
Ower wally een o beast or hoodie craw
Or halie kists o' kings -
Tak tent - ye'll catch them keekin at ye - back!
(ii) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xiii.:
You must take tent that I have admitted naebody but you.
m.Sc. 1979 John Kincaid in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 28:
If his work is to be widely read, or even published at all, he must tak tent of the vocabulary-poverty of Scots words of most of his countrymen.
m.Sc. 1990 Douglas Lipton in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 63:
- an' yon Kennel Club gowks
winnae tak muckle tent o' us twa.
(iii) Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 21:
Wha tak's tent for a fadin' cheek?
(iv) (a) Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 84:
Nane taks tent o' gentle Fanny.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
Take tent o' yourself, for my horse is not very chancy.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 9:
Tak tent o' your feet in that worn windin' stair.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 309:
Up hill spare me, doun hill tak tent o' thee.
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken xxxiii.:
Anither lass 'at taks less tent o' her gude name nor I do!
Knr. 1895 H. Haliburton Dunbar 41:
Nor of puir waifs an wayfarers took tent.
Ags. 1918 V. Jacob More Songs 20:
Tak' tent o' an Angus lad like me.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 17:
Francie's wife, Beldie, tuik tent o the hens an the fairm buiks an the bakin, the laundry, the housewifery.
(b) e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 151:
Tak' tent o' me, my word rely on.
Ags. 1918 J. Ingles The Laird 20:
He wad hae to tak' mair tent o' his words.
Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (30 Jan.) 6:
He tookna tent o' fat wis gauin' on.
Sc. 1972 Proverb, freq. inscribed on sun-dials:
Tak tent o' time ere time be tint.
(c) Sc. 1765 Session Papers, Lord Advocate v. Baillie (13 June) 14:
You should take tent of [bank] notes.
m.Lth. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 119:
Tak gude tent O' yon white southlan tup.
wm.Sc. a.1836 Songs Cld. (Nimmo 1882) 19:
I rede ye tak' tent o' that chiel.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 9:
Fegs, I feel like Dr. Jekyll Tak'n guid tent o' Mr. Hyde.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in Wind 29:
Tak tent o' the hand that claws your back.
(v) Sc. 1705 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 72:
This is not Sabbath-work; I should tak tent to the Minister.
Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 38:
Soon to their Clamours Jove took tent.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
Girzie, tak tent to the honest auld man.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xviii.:
Tak tent to what I hae been tellin you.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet ix.:
Gin ye dinna tak' tent to yersel', ye'll maybes find yersel whaur Jock Gordon 'll no be there to serve ye.
Abd. 1923 B. R. McIntosh Scent o' Broom 53:
Tak tint to the coonsels I gie ye.

2. Derivs.: (1) tentie, -y, tainty, adj., (i) watchful, attentive, heedful, solicitous (Sc. 1808 Jam.), freq. with o. Also adv.; (ii) cautious, careful, prudent (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also adv., cautiously, warily, gently, gingerly (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 191; Abd. 1972); (iii) safe, easy; (2) tentilie, -y, adv., attentively, with care, gently (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (3) tentless, inattentive, heedless, careless, unobservant (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne., wm., sm.Sc. 1972). Adv. tentlessly, carelessly, n. tentlessness, carelessness; ¶(4) tentlins, gently, carefully.(1) (i) Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 20:
Fair winds and tenty boat-man.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 13:
To Norry he was ay a tenty beeld.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Cotter's Sat. Night iv.:
Some tentie rin A cannie errand to a neebor town.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 42:
Some ne'er doe weel, tho' e'er so tentie.
Bnff. a.1829 J. Sellar Poems (1844) 42:
Some lasses past sweet five-and-twenty, To wait a chance they were right tainty.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 110:
I mankind's ways hae marked weel Wi' tentie, watchfu' e'e.
Abd. 1895 G. Williams Scarbraes 41:
A braw servan' rael tenty o' the horses.
Ags. 1897 Bard Ags. (Reid) 300:
Though I've kept him baith tenty and snug.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse Sayin's xxxi. 27:
Wi' tentiest care she man's a' the affairs o' her hoose.
(ii) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 113:
To sing Nature, and with the tentiest View to hit Her bonny Side.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 124:
But patens, tho' they're aften plenty, Are ay laid down wi' feet fou tenty.
Dmf. 1836 J. Mayne Siller Gun 123:
While in triumph owr the ground They bore him tenty.
Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 18:
Bess spied his wanton squint, An' she gied him a tenty wink.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sketches 31:
Gudeman, be tentie o' yer tongue.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xii.:
With never a gun or a sword, but what tenty folk have hidden in their thatch.
Abd. 1909 C. Murray Hamewith 101:
She'll . . . tenty toom the creel O' lang hained heath'ry truffs to reist the fire.
Abd. 1950 Banffshire Jnl. (1 Aug.):
I cam' doon as tenty as I cwid.
(iii) wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 279:
That's a lang an' no verra tenty stair o' ours to come up.
(2) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 191:
He tentily Myrtilla sought.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 15:
Back with the halesome girs in haste she hy'd An' tentyly unto the sair apply'd.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 19:
Fu' tentily they're keekin' For Jock that night.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 1:
He spat on his lüfs, an clamb tentily ower.
Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 339:
Richt gentilie an' tentilie I bore her to a biel'.
(3) Ayr. 1783 Burns Corn Rigs i.:
The time flew by, wi' tentless heed.
Slk. 1802 Hogg Poems (1874) 96:
Aye when ony tentless lammie Wi' its neibours chanced to go.
Dmb. a.1853 D. Macleod Poet. Lennox (1889) 273:
And tentlessly the crowdie sweet They draible on the clean hearth stane.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 261:
She that fa's ower a strae's a tentless tawpie.
Edb. 1883 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) VI. 157:
Tho', fegs, his tentlessness he rues, In calmer mood.
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 104:
Tentless, I jist loot him claver on.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 19:
Noo where are they o' bygane years, Wha leuch at Fate wi' tentless sneers.
(4) Sc. a.1776 Herd's MSS. (Hecht 1904) 192:
Tentlins and fentlins.

II. v. 1. tr. and absol. To pay attention, listen (to), take note (of), heed (Sc. 1808 Jam.; wm., sm.Sc. 1972). Vbl.n. tenting, heed, attention.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 190:
Wha tents what People raving says When in a Fever.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 6:
That is nae worth our tenting.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Ep. to Davie viii.:
But tent me, Davie, Ace o' Hearts!
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 108:
Says she, see this, and tent me Willie.
Per. c.1820 Lady Nairne Songs (Rogers 1905) 166:
Neebour wives, now tent my tellin'.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 5:
She winket aye, and hoastit aye, For me to tent the knurlin.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 43:
But tent ye, I'm no sic a duffert As mak' tae ye ony fraca.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 22:
The lave bizz'd roon' to tent his say.

2. (1) To watch over, take good care of, in gen. (Ags. 1972). Pa.p. tent.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 12:
A sp'rit o' puissant micht, Fu carefu' tents your mornin' sleep.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 26:
But tent your heart in case ye meet Sweet Ann of Aberdeen.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 6:
He that has but ae ee, maun tent it weel.
Ayr. 1851 J. Ramsay Woodnotes 110:
Just lea' thae chiels to tent the crap.
Sc. 1875 Stevenson Coll. Poems (Smith 1971) 106:
To be aye tosh was Johnie's whim, There's nane was better tent than him.
m.Sc. 1979 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 88:
Them that are leesit the tentin-o this land
Made - and murned - this music.
Deil tak aa defeat that dang the daed.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 32:
Exciseman Burns wannert the kittle toun,
his wame aw wersh wi drink, his hert wi gaw;
wha tentit him in this thrawn bit ava?

(2) specif. of animals or children: to herd, tend, take or have charge of, look after (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Dmf. 1917; Wgt. 1972). Now only dial. in Eng.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14:
Whiloms they tented, an' sometimes they plaid.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Twa Herds i.:
Or wha will tent the waifs and crocks, About the dykes?
Kcb. 1828 W. McDowall Poems 23:
Sure noble Dukes an' Lords are blessed They hae'nt the sheep to tent.
Rxb. 1868 D. Anderson Musings 8:
Where tenting ewes is a' the trade.
Hdg. 1887 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) X. 336:
Tentin' for my mither the wee bit wauflin' bairn.

3. To observe, watch, take notice of (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1720 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 158:
Tent how the Caledonians lang supine Began, mair wise, to open baith their Een.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 60:
Tent what's there! — a sturdie loun!
Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 189:
As if she had gaen by without tenting her.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 83:
Wi' shame I tent the reason For the ruin that I see.

4. To beware, be careful (of). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 68:
Tent wha ye take by the hand.
Ayr. 1793 Burns Whistle, an' I'll come to ye i.:
But warily tent, when ye come to court me.
Lnk. 1838 J. Struthers Poet. Tales 145:
I'd wary tent ilk flattering tongue.

5. To attend to the working of a machine, esp. a loom, to assist a power-loom weaver. Hence tenter, a weavers' assistant, a loom-boy, now specif. a loom-tuner (em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc. 1972). Also in n.Eng. dial. or technical usage.Edb. 1832 Fife Herald (22 March):
Two Tenters, thoroughly acquainted with Flax and Tow Spinning.
wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report (2) i. 3:
“Tenting,” (i.e. keeping the piece even as it goes into the machine,) carrying away cloth to hang up to dry, &c.
Gsw. 1878 W. Penman Echoes 111:
A tenter that wrocht in the mill.
Dundee 1986 David A. MacMurchie I Remember Another Princes Street! 53:
In the weaving department the workforce comprised a manager, a foreman or foremen, tenters (also termed tacklers or tuners), undertenters, cut-boys ...

III. adj. Watchful, attentive, keen, intent. Adv. tently, carefully. Rare.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 77, 90:
As tent upo' the after game As hounds loos'd frae a kennel . . . Up started Rosy Dougan As tent as if she had been a puss.
m.Sc. 1864 J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe 176:
Tently frae her bonny loof The thistle thorns I took.

[O.Sc. tent, to attend to, a.1500, tak tent, 1375, tenty, a.1570, tentless, a.1584, Mid.Eng. tent, care, heed, to pay attention, etc. Aphetic form of †attent (O.Sc. c.1470), attention, heed, or intent, †id., to give heed, O.Fr. atente, entente, the act of attending or intending.]

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"Tent n.3, v.1, adj.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Apr 2024 <>



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