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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

THOCHT, n. Also thoucht (Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xxv.; Per. 1908 Gsw. Ballad Club III. 207), erron. thoct (Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 36); and I. Sc. forms toucht (Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 31, 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. 226), tout (Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 323), tought (Sh. 1901 Shetland News (5 Oct.)), thowt (Ork. 1938 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 380). Dim. thochtie, -y. Hence thochtfu(l), (-ly), Sh. toughtfil(-ness), thochtless, Sh. touchtliss, Ork. toutless(-ness). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. thought. [θoxt; Ork., s.Sc. θʌu(xʍ)t; I.Sc. toxt, tʌut]

Sc. forms: wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 8:
"Leave it be till next Beltane's by. Then dependin' how you've done up to then I'll gie it serious thocht. But dinnae ask me again afore then Hugh."
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
Aboot the sairvant, I neither care nor ken
But Tartuffe his maister is a Man Among Men
His truth's sairness and shairness is mair than you can thole,
Yet his yin thocht is your immortal soul.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 40:
This is aa I hae (he uphint the dram)
an' weary thochts. Ach, I'm ready for yirdin.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 51:
'It's thocht like that that got us where we are now. Struggling along on hand-oots fae a foreign government. ... '
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 126:
He lives at ease that freely lives. Scotland and me, we are both thirled aboot wi gowks and thochtless fools.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 59:
Luik fit a single thochtie can dae: fitivir ye're at, be it gaun fur a daunder, or workin alane or wi freens, that thochtie cams inno yer min like something ye dinna unnerstaun. Preceesely because ye canna unnerstaun it, it keeps on comin an gyaun an ye niver stap frae turnin it ower.
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 12:
On me the thocht
o the lang, lang years o shot kail
flooerin owre aw Scotland.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 7:
A thae gowden lyrics liggin aside ye, Chris
Yirdit there i the moul wi yer best-loo'ed thochts

1. Sc. derivs. (1) thoch(t)-bane, -been, the merry thought or wish-bone of a fowl, the furculum (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Buff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 192; ne.Sc. 1972); ¶(2) thochter, v. tr., to ponder, cogitate upon. Only in Carlyle and phs. his invention; (3) thochtiness, seriousness, melancholy. Cf. (6); (4) thouchtish, serious, pensive, gravely thoughtful (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1972); (5) thochtit, ppl.adj., with qualifying word or clause: inclined to think, of the opinion specified. Comb. ill-thochtit, -toughted, having evil or suspicious thoughts, tending to think the worst, nasty-minded (Sh., Ork., ne.Sc., em.Sc. 1972), weel-tochtid (Sh. 1972). See also under 2.; (6) thochtsome, Thoughtful (Bnff., Ags., Edb., Ayr. 2000s); (7)thochty, thoughty, serious-minded, given to thought, pensive (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 190; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Obs. in Eng.(1) Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xiv.:
See, Mains, here's a thocht been tae ye.
(2) Dmf. 1854 Carlyle Life in London (Froude) II. 166:
I have thochtered all this well in my head.
(3) Sc. 1707 Narr. of J. Nimmo (S.H.S.) 4:
My father was resolved to use authoretie quhich increased my thoghtiness.
(5) Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 55:
For fear that yon ill-thoughtet carls come in.
Cai. 1872 M. MacLennan Peasant Life 30:
Am thoughtit the day will be het.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (26 Nov.):
I wis ta blame fir bein' sae ill-thoughted, Girzzie, bit whin a lad læks a lass right, he's most awfil suspicious.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 109:
The ill-thochtit and covetous fools.
Abd. 1929 Sc. Readings (Paterson) 87:
Fat seek ye? . . . Naething, ye ill-thochtet footer.
Cai. 1939 Neil M. Gunn Wild Geese Overhead (1991) 25:
"Guts got him!" cried Don, a quick-thoughted black Highlander.
Abd. 1988 Peter Buchan Fisher Blue 29:
Fisher folk can be as queer and coorse and ill-thochtit as any.
(6)w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 48:
Dang doun, the stane kens na the slicht
but thochtsome folk aye maun daur,
ti spier aboot thir culture's plicht,
'n wi airtit een towart the licht,
ding deave thir destiny staur.
(7) Sc. 1702 W. Wishart Sermon 33:
A Minister should be a very thoughty man.
Sc. 1823 M. and M. Corbett Petticoat Tales II. 110:
Fanny is two years younger than I am, and not so thoughty.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 140:
Nae thochty man cud pit up wi' sic neglegence.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 10:
This douce bodie thochty aye had been.

Phrs.: (1) it's my, etc., thocht, it's my belief (Sh. 1972). Also in n.Eng. dial.; (2) out o' thocht, beyond belief, beyond all conceiving (Sh. 1972); (3) to hae nae thocht, to have no idea or notion; (4) to tak a thocht o or tae, to take stock of, weigh up, reflect seriously on.(1) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 154:
It's my thocht she'll raither hae nappit a bottle o' ackey-forty . . . we canna err in giein' the trees a look in the by-gaun, that's my thocht.
Kcb. 1902 Crockett Dark o' Moon vii.:
It's Eppie Tamson's thocht o't that women hae their ain burden to bear.
Abd. 1909 J. Tennant J. Jaffray 24:
It's my thocht she wad ha'e been wi' ane that cud tak' up her father's bisness.
(2) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xii.:
He's run himsell out o' thought wi' his houkings and minings.
(3) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 237:
I've nae thocht at a' aither whaur we are, or what way tae tak.
Per. 1972:
I had nae thocht o'd = I forgot all about it.
(4) Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 114:
Ye had better take a thocht o' things afore it's ow'r late.
em.Sc.(a) 1972:
Tak a thocht tae yoursel = reflect on what you are doing.

2. Anxiety, care, trouble; a cause of concern or anxiety, a burden, worry (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Obs. in Eng.Sc. 1887 Jam.:
That wild son has been a sair thocht and a heavy burden to his mother.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Cleg Kelly xxxix.:
So mony bairn's things were just a cumber and a thocht to me.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd i.:
I dinna ken fat wye I'm tae pit in the simmer hauf year wi' the likes o' him aboot the toon. It's a perfit thocht tae me.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (11 March):
Fader kens da muck kishie is a tought lat alaene da spaede.
Sc. 1934 Scots Mag. (June) 220:
He's better o' himsel' but sair hauden doon wi' thocht.
Abd. 1972:
It's a thocht tae rise in this caul weather.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 70:
thought In the phrase it's a thought this is used to mean something involving great effort or something approached with reluctance: 'Aye, it's a thought getting up these dark mornins.' 'After a long break like that it's a thought goin back to your work.'
Edb. 2004:
It's an awfie thocht tae hae a flittin in the winter.

Hence: (1) thochtfu', burdensome, vexatious; anxious; (2) thochtit, worried, anxious, troubled (Lth. 1972). Phr. to be thochted for, to be anxious about; ¶(3) thochtifeed, worried. anxious.(1) Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 7:
There wis eneuch o' thochtfu' wark For maister an' for man.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (12 May):
A'm dat toughtfil 'at I canna sit ta tak' a loop i' me haand.
(2) Cai. 1871 M. MacLennan B. Blake i. iv.:
Wha would expec' gentles tae be sae thouchtit for a puir limmer like me?
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 209:
I was geyan thochted 'estreen, when I heard the win' risin' the way it did.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town xxiii.:
I'm sae thochtit aboot Katie Dawson.
(3) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiv.:
I was beginnin' to be unco thochtifeed as to what could be the cause o' the delay.

3. Freq. in dim. form thochtie: a very small amount, a very little, of a substance, time, distance, etc. (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 118, 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 231; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Now chiefly dial. in Eng. Freq. used adv. = somewhat, rather. Phr. to a thocht, to a hairbreadth, to a nicety.Abd. 1786 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 94:
A bony boy a thoughty aff did stand.
Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 503:
The hird, wha was at the byre a thochtie afore us.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xci.:
A wee thought mair o' daffing and play-rifety.
Edb. 1826 M. & M. Corbett Odd Volume 174:
Tak a wee thought time, and now tell us.
Sc. 1836 Chambers's Jnl. (5 March) 41:
A wee thocht o' whisky's the best thing I ken for keepin' up the spirits.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 390:
The wee thocht o' siller that I hae scrapit thegither.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 65:
Very mild punch indeed, only a thoughty wake for sic a weighty dinner.
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan J. Burnet iii. ix.:
Sheep's heid, singit to a thocht.
Abd. 1928 Weekly Jnl. (11 Oct.) 6:
Ae nicht I was a thochty oot o sorts.
wm.Sc. 1948 Scots Mag. (June) 213:
The white shirt was a wee thought stiff for the studs.
Bnff. 1955 Banffshire Jnl. (24 May):
His fite fuskers an' his thochtie beld heid.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 48:
True, he dauchlit afore the keekin-gless a thochtie langer nur maist; his nails were buffed an smeeth's a puil o ice; his efter-shave wis heidy an cowpit on wi a ladle: ...

[O.Sc. thoghtiness, anxiety, 1671.]

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"Thocht n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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