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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WATCH, v., n. Also waatch. Sc.  forms and usages:

I. v. Sc. form of Eng watch.Dundee 1994 Matthew Fitt in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 174:
"Waatch whar ye're gaein, ya eejit." The aippul seller wis fumin bit the young lad didnae sei him, didnae even heer him. He wus doon an alang the street afore the first aippul hud tummilt intae the cundie.
ne.Sc. 1994 Alastair Mackie in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 96:
And it cam to me ae Sunday lang syne, deein my stint at the waatchin, that the sinnens o your hand as they tichtent their strings and the fower knurls o your nieve banes grippin the pipe and the crookt jint o your first finger cuddlin it, were like a delta.

Sc. phrs.: 1. In vbl.n. in watching and warding, see Ward, v., 1.; 2. to watch hail, in games: to keep goal. See also Hail, v.2, n.3; 3. to watch oneself, to look after oneself, to take care of oneself, to be on one's guard, watch out. Gen.Sc.2. Dmf. 1912 J. Hyslop Echoes 136:
There was a goalkeeper who did not “keep goal,” but “watched hail.” Three “hails” were counted as a victory.
3. s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin xviii.:
Watch yourself, ye dirtrie, or you'll get your paiks the morn.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle ii. xi.:
“Could she no have watched herself better?”, he muttered, as if she were in measure responsible for her own calamity.
Ags. 1990s:
Waatch yersel: Be careful, or look out.
m.Sc. 1992 A. L. Kennedy in Elizabeth Burns et al. Original Prints Four 19:
Because of the rain, it was muddy this evening and she would have to watch herself more than usual, because she had on fawn slacks and the cream-coloured jacket.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 87:
'Here, you want tae watch yersel,' said the polis. 'Dinna get that on yer fingers. These bastarts can be carryin every bloody disease.'

II. n. 1. A name used of a hill of sufficient height to serve as a look-out station. See also 4. (2). Cf. Wart, n., 1.Peb. 1775 M. Armstrong Tweedale 49:
Hills are variously named, according to their magnitude; as Watch, Rig, Edge, Know.
Lnk. 1806 R. Forsyth Beauties Scot. III. 114:
There are hills in the same parish [Crawford] called watches, where persons sat in order to give notice on the first approach of an enemy.

2. A watch-dog (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.).Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 136:
Watch Cerberus lap up frae his lair.

3. In dim. form watchie, -y: (1) a watchmaker, freq. used as an appellative (ne.Sc., Ags. 1973); (2) a watchman, constable (Ags. 1973); (3) a nick-name for a lighthouse, short for obs. Eng. watch-tower, id.; (4) in comb. watchie-wee, a name for a kind of very small marble (Fif. 1973).(1) Rxb. 1793 J. Mason Kelso Rec. (1839) 119:
Watchie Wilson was called up.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxx.:
This young leddy — if ye ca' Watchie Ramsay's daughter a young leddy.
Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 112:
“Watchy” travelled on foot from farm to farm, taking to pieces each of his quondam Horologes in turn.
Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (12 Dec.):
The careful attention given by “Watchie” to the clock in the tower.
(2) Per. 1830 Perthshire Adv. (24 June):
The watchie made an attempt to seize him.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 75:
watchie A watchman, as on a building site.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 5:
"The shakkins o the stroup", wis fit Fergus the watchie caad Davie Littlejohn.
(3) Bwk. 1965 Weekly Scotsman (14 Jan.) 3:
Old “Watchie” Gets a New Device. For over 100 years St Abbs Head lighthouse and foghorn have warned mariners on this wild and rugged coast of Berwickshire.

4. Combs. and phrs.: (1) Black Watch, see Black Watch n.; (2) set a watch o'er me, used as an expletive, see quot.; (3) watch-knowe, = 1. above. Common in place-names in the Border country. See Know, n.; (4) watchman, the topmost ear or seed-grain on a stalk of corn (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Palm, n.2, 3.; (5) watch-money, money paid for protection or immunity against cattle-stealing, Blackmail. Hist; (6) to win a watch, to have a piece of good luck (Edb., Dmf. 2000s).(2) Cai. 1905 E.D.D.:
A phrase of the ‘unco guid', used as a prayer to check a tendency on their part to swear. ‘Set a watch o'er me, but to ask sicna price is awfu'.'
(3) Slk. 1886 T. Craig-Brown Hist. Slk. I. 240:
Heaps of combustible material lay on the old watch-knowes.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 16:
Yin o thae watch-knowe hichts, clean abuin haugh an howe.
(5) Abd. 1747 R. Burt Letters (1822) II. 359:
There is paid in blackmail or watch money, openly and privately, £5000.
(6) Gsw. 1962 Bill McGhee Cut and Run 16:
...I asked him outright how he had got on with Jenny.
'Ah won a watch,' he said, and nothing more.
Gsw. 1994:
If you are an I Love Lucy fan, you'll love this ... and if you also happen to be a Betty Grable fan - you've won a watch! Or should that be horse?
Sc. 2001 Herald 14 Sep 22:
If, like me, you are a occasional player [of scrabble], you tend to think that you've won a watch when you find a Q among the seven tiles on your little plastic rack. It does, after all, represent 10 not inconsiderable points.
Lnk. 2003:
Lanarkshire slang for brilliant is: 'Fantastic, you've won a watch.' When one customer agreed to purchase cover from the company, the sales consultant exclaimed: 'Fantastic, you've won a watch!' Guess what? The customer waited and waited, and eventually registered a complaint after her free gift failed to arrive.
Sc. 2004 Daily Mail 24 May 73:
The Celtic board definitely won a watch when they succeeded where so many others had failed, by tempting O'Neill to leave the comfort zone of Leicester City for the biggest challenge of his life.

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"Watch v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 May 2024 <>



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