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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TWIST, n., v. Also twust. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng. (1) Sc. combs. Twist-mill, -miln, a factory where yarn is twisted, twist-miller, one who twists plies of spun yarn, a twiner (see Twine, v., 1.); (2) adj. twisty in comb. ¶twisty-thraws, colic, abdominal pains.(1) Abd. 1775 Abd. Journal (13 Nov.):
A House in the Vennal, formerly used for a Twist-miln.
Abd. 1796 Edb. Mag. (May) 404:
James Cassie, twist-miller, Alexander Monro, . . . all in Peterhead, . . . concerned in a riotous mob . . . for the purpose of rescuing John Greig, weaver in Peterhead.
(2) Gall. 1896 Crockett Grey Man ii.:
May it give thee twisty-thraws and sit ill on thy stomach!

2. Dim. twistie, a thong of knotted leather.Edb. 1930 M. McLaren Return to Scot. 9:
Prefects used to flog us home with their “twisties” stinging about our bare knees.

3. A turn, a shot at doing something; a strenuous effort (Sh. 1973).Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xvii.:
Wid ye be for lippenin yer stan o' pipes wi me for a twust?

4. Curling: a shot in which the stone is made to revolve on its sole as it slides along. See Fenwick.Sc. 1806 J. Paterson Douglas Bonspiel (1842) 9:
Who can, with subtle wrist, Give to their stane the true ‘Kilmarnock twist'.
Sc. 1890 J. Kerr Curling 411:
He should never play the twist until he is able to shoot straight.

5. A bond or tie.Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 223:
Sair's the rive that breaks the twist Which binds our hearts in ane.

6. A surly, perverse mood (Sh. 1973).

II. v. 1. As in Eng. Hence twister, an instrument for twisting straw-ropes (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; Rs., Abd., Lth. 1961 Gwerin III. 211).

2. Curling: to make a stone revolve on its sole as it slides towards its destination. Vbl.n. twisting, the act of making a curling stone spin. See I. 4.Dmf. 1830 R. Broun Mem. Curl. Mab. 108:
Twisting, is to run out the winner, though completely guarded, by giving your stone a rotatory motion, and borrowing a little to one side, viz., by clearing the guard and chipping the winner.
Ayr. 1884 in J. Taylor Curling 69:
All young curlers in Fenwick are taught the power of twisting as an element of first-rate value.

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"Twist n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Mar 2023 <>



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