Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WATCH, v., n. Sc. usages:

I. v. 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.

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.
(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 sep. art.; (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. (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.

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"Watch v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 May 2021 <>



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