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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

THING, n.1, v. Also ¶thyng (Inv. 1911 Buchan Observer (10 April 1962) 7. Cf. P.L.D. § 147); and I.Sc. form ting (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 40). See T, letter, 9, (1) (v); hing. The pl. form thing (O.E. þing) survives in certain locutions. See I. 5. Sc. forms and usages. [θɪŋ; I.Sc. tɪŋ]

In. 1. Sc. form of Eng. thingGsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 34:
hing Broad Glaswegian version of thing: 'Ah'm gauny get wanny they hings, whit d'ye cry thum?' The final g is often dropped in compound words like anyhin, everyhin, nuhin, sumhin.
Sc. 1991 Robert Crawford in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 173:
When Strathgawkers or Strathgowkers
blether aboot jinin thegither
an a tourist hinks baith
waant thi wan hing
m.Sc. 1999 R. Kawalsky in Sarah-Jane Lovett Oral 59:
This guy's got off in the high court
Killed ees wife
Bit the court accepted the hing wis pre-menstrual at the time
An puttin an awfy strain on thur marriage
w.Lth. 2000:
Goin tae the stables on a Setturday mornin is ma favourite hing.
Sc. 2000 Scotsman 30 Nov 5:
"...Ah canna see a hing like 'at 'appenin ere," he added, lifting his bunnet and scratching his head.
Slg. 2001 Janet Paisley Not for Glory 50:
'Banks're nothin like pals' 'Never said they wur. Said pals's like banks. Different hing'. 'Ye're talkin shite'.

2. Reason, cause. Obs. in Eng.Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxiv.:
He has done that, they say, for less thing.

3. Kind, sort, stuff (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), with reference to a previous noun specifying the material or object and used to avoid repeating the noun (Per., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1972). Thing is here unstressed and almost equivalent to a suff. as in Eng. something, nothing.Slk. 1832 Hogg Altrive Tales cxiv.:
The lang sheep hae the short woo, and the short sheep hae the lang thing.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 68:
It's a real pleesure gettin' a toothfu' o sic guid thing.
s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 198:
I've some mair paper, but it's no sic guid thing as that. Wad ye like some black ink, or some blue thing?
Edb. 1886 R. F. Hardy Within a Mile xii.:
Here's a' yer healths in guid spring watter. It'll maybe dae ye as muckle gude as if I had drank i' the ither thing.
Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 78:
I dinna like saut butter; hae ye nae sweet thing?
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 22:
Mask iz a pickl new thing.
Ayr. 1960:
At table: “Will ye hae white breid or the broun thing (i.e. brown bread)?”

4. Amount, quantity, number, extent, cost, gen. preceded by some defining adj. as unco, gey, awfu (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 192). Gen.Sc. Formerly occas. without the indef. art., and sometimes without o(f) following. See O, prep., 1.(5).Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 151:
It does not run over it when there is a moderate thing of water in the river.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) v.:
We can get plenty o' that for little thing.
Rxb. 1825 R. Wilson Hist. Hawick 75:
I understand little thing can be brought against you o' this day's mischief.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan 131:
What an awfu' thing o' port the doctor drank.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb x.:
My uncle made jist an ondeemas thing o' Siller.
Per. 1881 D. Macara Crieff 89:
Great show he made, wi' a wee thing o' wark.
Per.4 1972:
Will ye hae a wee thing soup? I could dae wi a wee thing sleep.

Hence phr. a wee or sma' thing(ie), used adv. modifying an adj., somewhat, rather, a little (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.Dmf. 1810 R. H. Cromek Remains 13:
Tho' she may gang a wee thing high kilted at times.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales 97:
The lad wis a sma' thing affrontit.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 116:
Ye'll jist haud a wee thingie better again.
Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (26 Oct.) 3:
Ye micht hae come hame a wee thing earlier.
Kcb. 1912 W. Burnie Poems 99:
Had she been a wee thing mair humble Or maybe a wee thing less blind.
Sc. 1948 Scots Mag. (August) 344:
Some folks thought he was getting a wee thing big for his boots.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 197:
"Yoke him a wee thing looser, Bryce. You'll lose him if you dinnae mind that he's a man grown, aye and his faither's son forby," ...
Sc. 1996 Herald 11 Mar 13:
What you hear is what you get and they worked their magic on schoolkids, shoppers, and students alike even if they were a wee thing mesmerised about being ferried round the gigs in a posse of stretch limos.
Sc. 1997 Herald 30 Dec 14:
...thinks that there should be a column in Scots in your paper. I agree, but whitna kin o spellin wad be yaised? Until, and nae afore, a richt wey o scrievin this leid is forrit, yir readers wul be a wee thing bumbazed gif ony o the orra phonetic weys o spellin Scots is waled.
Sc. 1998 Herald 8 Jun 13:
Actually their analysis is a wee thing out of date. Scots fans have long found themselves in love at first sight with England's latest opponents in any given tournament.
Edb. 2004:
Whit a show she maks o a wee thing o charity.

5. As in Eng., an animate or inanimate object, used, esp. in Sh., of persons as a term of self-depreciation, endearment or pity. Phrs. the thing that's awa, used of a dead person, phs. with taboo significance; ting o' lass, — bairn, etc., affectionately of a girl, child, etc. (I.Sc., Cai. 1972).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44:
That things o' buns hae nae farrach at a' i' the noo.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 50:
Bit tings o lasses flinks aboot Wi aa dis cüreis bits o cloot.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 5, 9:
I thocht hit a sin Ta brukkle da sweet ting o flooer. . . . Du lauchs at da thing at leks dee weel.
Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 1:
Every livan' t'ing o' folk kind 'at was eeble tae pit ae fit afore anither.
Sh. 1918 T. Manson Peat Comm. 121:
Blissins poored ipo da ting o bairn.
Sh. 1948 New Shetlander (Oct.–Nov.) 22:
Juist whit can keep da wan ting a coo, an a dizen lambs.
Sh. 1959 New Shetlander No. 52. 30:
Taking a child “to view da Dust” — and asking the child to lay its hand on the dead. It was understood that the touching was “so that the Thing-at's-awa shouldna staand afore you.”

6. Used as a pl. in special usages: (1) as in A'thing, q.v., aa ither thing, everything else (ne.Sc. 1972), a'thing, everything —, ‡monie thing, many things, the thing that, those that. See article heading above; (2) and thing, and so on, et cetera (s.Sc. 1972).(1) Abd. 1825 Jam.:
Send me mair bukes; I've read the thing that I hae.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 27:
Bare eneuch, an' fou o' a' ull thing.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A've other thing adae.
Abd. 1960:
There's monie thing ye dinna ken, laddie.
(2) Rxb. 1914 Hawick News (31 July) 4:
Watchin' them catchin the sawmon an' thing.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 19:
She'd a graund set-oot for oo — aa her guid cheenie an thing.

II. v. Used as a substitute for the correct content-word which has been forgotten or avoided, “to what d'ye call it.”Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 60:
A young man who purposed marriage said, “I want to be thing'd as my brither Georthie was fernar.”

[O.Sc. thing, amount, c.1500. For the form thyng cf. O.Sc. theyng, 1488. ]

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"Thing n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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