Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THINK, v., n. Also tink (I.Sc.). See T, letter, 9. [θɪŋk; tɪŋk]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. think. Neg. thinkna (Abd. 1788 Abd. Mag. (3 July) 412; Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 7; Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 85). Pa.t. thocht (Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.); thoucht (Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona i.); to(u)cht, tought (I.Sc.); thowt (Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chronicle (10 Dec.) 4); tout, towt (Ork. 1909–10 Old-Lore Misc. II. i. 29, III. i. 32) [θoxt; I.Sc. toxt; s.Sc. θʌu(x)t, Ork. Tʌut]. Pa.p. thocht (Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.), thoucht (Uls. 1900 T. Given Poems 144), towt (Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 185) [θoxt, toxt; Sh., Ork. Tʌut].

B. Usages. 1. As in Eng., in phrs.: (1) I, etc. can't think enough of, I, etc. am surprised, astonished at (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 32); (2) I'm thinking, used gen. parenthetically, I presume, imagine, rather think, it's my opinion (Sc. 1799 W. Mitchell Scotticisms 79). Gen.Sc.; (3) think at, to be offended, take something amiss (Sh. 1966 New Shetlander No. 76. 37, Sh. 1972); (4) think a wunner, to wonder, think it strange (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 198); (5) think (one) for (another), to take in error, mistake; (6) think ill to, to be unwilling to, have scruples about (Sh., Cai. 1972); (7) think lang, to weary (I., n.Sc., Per. 1972). See also Lang, I. 7.(7). Appar. orig. from Mid.Eng. it thinketh long, it seems long: (8) think on, to think of or about (Sc. 1888 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.; to consider, ponder, reflect seriously about; to remember, recollect, call to mind (Sc. 1880 Jam.), also with on of (Wgt. 1904 E.D.D.). See On, adv., 2.(6): to devise, hit upon, work out in the mind (ne.Sc. 1972); to value, esteem. Phr. ill thocht o(n), not in high regard, not held to one's credit. All now obs. or dial. in Eng.; (9) think shame, to be ashamed (Sc. 1752 D. Hume Polit. Discourses 56; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 192). Gen.Sc. See also Shame, n., 1.(3). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Often in intensive phrs. to think (muckle) black (burnin) shame (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 192; Cld. 1880 Jam.); (10) think tae, -till, to think of, apply the mind to (Abd., Fif. 1972); (11) think weary, to feel bored, = (7); ¶(12) think wi oneself, to cogitate, ponder. (2) Ayr. 1789 Burns Tam Glen ii.:
I'm thinking wi' sic a braw fellow, In poortith I might mak a fen'.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxv.:
“What was he to that Argyle that suffered in the persecution?” “His son or grandson, I'm thinking.”
Cai. 1871 M. McLennan Peasant Life 107:
The waddin' canna gang on wi' oot ye, I'm thinkin'.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters i.:
He's owre often in his gig, I'm thinking.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
It'll seen be risin time, A'm thinkin'.
(5) Sh. 1898 J. Burgess Tang 216:
Willa looked up, thinking Bob for Oli.
(6) Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 32:
Some wha had skill, an' a wheen wha had nane, Thocht ill to let Janet be lyin' her lane.
(7) Sc. 1711 S.C. Misc. (1841) 198:
Drinking a dish of tea with yow, which I am already beginning to think long for.
Sc. 1745 D. Nicholas Intercepted Post (1956) 39:
I think very long for you.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 170:
The lass . . . bade John gae ben, Wha the event thought lang to ken.
Sc. 1828 Lord Livingston in Child Ballads No. 262. xxxiii.:
When seven years were near an end, The lady she thought lang.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 185:
I hae been thinkin lang or ye cam hame!
Dmf. 1910 R. Quin Borderland (1933) 65:
Whene'er we think lang For a drink an' a sang.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 19. 32:
I have towt lang for Shetland very much.
(8) Sc. 1766 in J. P. Muirhead Inventions James Watt (1854) I. 14:
I have thought on a simpler circular steam-engine than what I mentioned to you.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 106:
In troth, the jillet ye might blame For thinking on't.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 7:
We think na on the lang Scots miles.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
I hope your honour will think on what I am saying.
Sc. 1825 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) VIII. 490:
They had neither of them it seems forgotten their intercourse but had in our Scottish phrase which I think a good one thought on untill during our Christmas gambols out cam little Cupid with his linstock.
Abd. 1854 Laird of Logan 462:
It would be ill thocht o' me to hurt my bit beastie.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
He couldna sleep for thinkin' on't.
Fif. 1894 J. W. McLaren Tibbie and Tam 19:
Tam was sittin' thinkin' on the mony happy days o' langsyne.
Kcb. 1902 Crockett Dark o' Moon xxxiv.:
It was indeed none so ill thocht on.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 88:
I thocht on ye, bairn, on the road through the muir.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 16:
When motor cars and aeroplanes had never yet been thocht on.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
I can't think on where I put it.
(9) Ayr. 1787 Burns Guidwife of Wauchope iv.:
She, honest woman, may think shame That ye're connected with her.
Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 202:
No thinkin shame to lauch at dooble-entendres!
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xvi.:
I think shame to mind it.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 10:
Thinkna ye shame o' yersel', ye daft, doited frailty?
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 88:
Fowk at first thocht shame o' tay, an' thocht it aneth them to be seen takin' 't.
(11) Abd. 1899 G. Greig Logie o' Buchan vii.:
And we will marry at Whitsunday, And syne we'll ne'er think weary.
(12) Sc. 1824 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 175:
A process of what is commonly called ratiocination, but which [he] termed ‘Thinking wi himsel.'
Fif. 1871 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 67:
The prince thocht wi' himsel' he wad like to hae a wife.

2. Used parenthetically after a question, = Eng. I wonder. n.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Fat's that, I think?

3. To feel, experience. Cf. 1.(9). Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 8:
Dinna think . . . Tho' now I wipe my face, And drop the heart-felt friendly tear, I think the least disgrace.

4. Used absol.: to expect, anticipate. In Eng. only with direct or indirect obj. Sc. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfellow xxiv.:
Mebbys ta same stirks wull putt fin she's no thinkin'!
Abd. 1971:
Trouble gey an aften comes fan a bodie's nae thinkin.

II. n. Thought, opinion, esp. in phr. one's ain think, one's own private thoughts or opinion. Dial. or colloq. in Eng. Sc. 1834 A. Picken Black Watch II. 26:
The Highland gentleman said extremely little in reply; but every man had his ain think.
Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Trad. (1887) 37:
While Calzie, who had always his “ain think”, took a southward route by Doune.
Rnf. 1873 J. Nicholson Wee Tibbie's Garland 51:
Though my tongue may be still, I hae aye my ain think.
Abd. 1972:
I'll say nae mair but ye can juist think your ain think about it.

[O.Sc. think lang, 1475.]

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"Think v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2021 <>



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