Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHISHT, int., v., n., adj. Also wheesht, wheisht; weesht, weisht, wisht, woosht; wheest, wh(e)ist, whust, wiest; wheesh, whish, whush, whoosh, wish; quish (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Also wishtie, whistie ( < wheesht ye). [ʍɪʃt, ʍiʃt; ʍist, ʍɪst; wiʃt, wɪʃt; ʍiʃ]

I. int. As a call for silence: hush!, be quiet!, keep silent!, shut up! (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., wheist; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., whoosh; Per. (weesht), Fif. (weesht, woosht), Lth. (whees(h)t), Ayr. (wheesht) 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai, wheesh(t); Uls. 1953 Traynor, whish). Gen.Sc., now only dial. in Eng. Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 79:
Whisht Ladren, for gin ye say ought Mair, I'se wind ye a Pirn.
Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 19:
Wiest Megg, I didna mean to vex ye.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxxviii.:
Whisht, haud your tongue, and sup your sowens.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 76:
Wish, wisht, for see my lady's come alist.
Fif. a.1843 W. McCombie Memoirs of A. Bethune 377:
Hoot, Doctor; wusht! mak nae profession.
Gsw. 1889 J. Houston Autobiography 184:
Whist you, Janet, whist ye.
Ags. 1891 Arbroath Guide (18 April) 3:
Come awa', whishtie noo, whishtie.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxvii.:
Wheesh! man, wheesh!
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 44:
Wheesht! I hear the tramp o' war-worn feet.
Abd. 1932 J. Leatham Fisherfolk 12:
The mother sought to hush it with the promise: “Wishtie, wishtie, lambsie!”
Bnff. 1967 Banffshire Adv. (27 July) 10:
Ay bit weesht or I tell ye.

II. v. 1. To utter the int. wheesht!, to call for silence (Sh., Cai., e. and wm.Sc. 1974). Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 9:
As the aul' days come back; the lad at the door, An' the “weeshtin',” till owre the stairhead comes a snore.

2. tr. To silence, to cause to be quiet, to hush, quieten (Sh., Cai., e. and wm.Sc. 1974). Also in n.Eng. dial. To wheesh up, to hush up, conceal by silence. Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry II. 11:
A weel claw'd luif whishts the harangue.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 58:
As dream-fleyed bairnies, left their lanes, At mither's hame-come whisht their greet.
Sc. 1897 C. M. Campbell Deilie Jock iv.:
Wheesht your gab, if ye donna want me to throttle ye!
Slk. 1915 H. J. C. Clippings from Clayboddie (1921) 124:
The third morning it [alarm clock] merely wheeshes them to a little more sleep.
Gall. 1932 A. McCormick Galloway 171:
He offert me a sovran to wheesh it up.
wm.Sc. 1952 Gsw. Ballad Club V. 19:
The gloaming wheeshts the yowes to sleep.
Sh. 1955 New Shetlander No. 41. 14:
At lang last Magnie got him wheestit doon.

3. intr. To be quiet, to remain silent (Sc. 1808 Jam., whish). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 18:
They'd better whisht, for fear I sud raise a fry.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xviii.:
Thomas Burlings bade me whisht till I heard him out.
Kcd. a.1847 G. Menzies Poems (1854) 150:
But I've a wee bit preface till't Gin ye will wheesht to hear it.
e.Lth. 1876 J. Teenan Song 14:
She mak's me whisht an' drink it up.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 63:
Bit heth! aald “Cerby” widna wheesht His tail frae side ta side he leeshed.
Per. 1896 D. Macara Crieff 108:
Winna ye wisht, gentlemen; winna ye wisht? Wisht they would not.
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 49:
A look was enough to make them wheesht.
Arg.1 1931:
Wull ye no wheesht? Dae ye no see yer faither's sleepin?

III. n. 1. Silence. Rare and liter. exc. in phr. below. Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ iii. iii.:
My wirds arena tae be thrawn for an ydil pensieness, bot are tae be heard i' whust.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 131:
Then comes a wheesht an' a' is still.

Phr. to haud or keep one's wheesht, to be quiet, keep silent, hold one's tongue (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 473; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Ayr. 1786 Burns Vision i. viii.:
Ye need na doubt, I held my whisht; The infant aith, half-form'd, was crusht.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxv.:
I just heard them speak, and kept my wheisht.
Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gazette (8 Aug.):
T' haud yoor wheesht an' no stop the pirn till the threed rins dune.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 23:
Gaur that body haud his whisht.
Sh. 1901 T. P. Ollason Mareel 80:
I toucht hit best fir ta howld my wheest.
Ags. 1905 A. N. Simpson Bobbie Guthrie 113:
“Haud yer weisht, deacon,” remarked the minister.
Abd. 1927 G. R. Harvey The Shepherds 7:
Hud yer wisht, min; ye'd speir a body's heid aff.
Slg. 1949 W. D. Cocker New Poems 4:
Auld haverin', claverin', clashin' wives Maun haud their wheisht an' be at rest.

2. Also in dim. forms w(h)ishie: the slighest sound, the least whisper (n.Sc. (whish, whush), Lth. (whisht) 1825 Jam.; ¶Sc. 1877 Jam., quish(ie); Per., Cld. 1882 Jam., whishie; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ayr. 1928, whishie; Sh., Cai., Slg., Lth. 1974); the faintest rumour or report. Reg. in neg. sentences. Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 87:
Be you as calm's a mouse, Nor lat your whisht be heard.
Sc. 1831 S. Ferrier Destiny II. vii.:
It would not do for me to give a whish of that.
Bwk. 1859 P. Landreth J. Spindle (1911) 65:
He wad ne'er hae had a cross whisht.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 61:
I'll never hear Ae whush about my beast or gear.
Gall. 1881 L. B. Walford Dick Netherby v.:
There is na a wheesht against him that e'er cam' my way.
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 97:
Takin' care to mak' neither hishie nor wishie.
Sc. 1924 J. Innes Till a' the Seas xv.:
I had posted her weekly letter at Keswick, but never played wheesh that I was comin'.
Sh. 1926 Shetland Times (4 Dec.):
Dey never said wheest aboot what he drank.
Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 Oct.) 3:
Na boy, A noor he'rd a wheesht.
Rnf. 1935 L. Kerr Woman of Glenshiels x.:
If onybody lets oot a wheesh when I'm singing, God help them.
Sh. 1962 E. O. H. Milne Wi' Lowin' Fin 23:
Niver wis wheest o soond.

IV. adj. Quiet, silent, hushed. Gen.Sc. Now only arch. or dial. in Eng. Forms in -t, -d conform to ppl.adjs. from II. 2. Inv. 1741 Steuart Letter Bk. (S.H.S.) 429:
Tell no mortal of your design, and Ill keep all whist for my part.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xix.:
When the voice of man was wheisht, and all was sunk in the sound sleep of midnight.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms iv. 4:
Threep wi' your hearts on yer beds, an' be whush.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Nights of it when he was here on sentry, the place a' wheesht.
Sc. 1928 T. T. Alexander Psalms lxv. 1:
Whush'd a' the sangs in Zion sung.

[The forms whish, whisht, whist, are found in most of the above senses in liter. Eng. till the 17th c.]

Whisht interj., v., n., adj.

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"Whisht interj., v., n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <>



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