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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WHITE, v.2, n.2 Also whyte; wheit, ¶wheat; ¶wheet. For ne.Sc. forms see Fite, v. [ʍəit]

I. v. A. Forms. Pr.t. as above. Pa.t. strong whate; weak whited. Pa.p. weak whitit, -eet (Rxb.).

B. Usage. To cut with a knife, to pare, whittle (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 473; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ags., Slg., em.Sc.(b), wm., s.Sc. 1974). Fig. in 1868 quot. Also in n.Eng. dial. Hence whiter, one who whittles; also used of “a knife, in respect of its being ill or well adapted for this purpose; as, ‘a gude whiter', ‘an ill whiter'” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also whitins, thin slices or shavings cut off with a knife (Cld. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. Quhitstanys:
To wheat sticks, i.e. to whittle or cut them.
Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. Per. 267:
This puts me in mind of boys, who white a stick until it be so worn down that it become useless.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 10:
Musin' about it, but an' ben, Whiten an' douken at a pen.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan II. x.:
He took up a stick and he whate it a' to chips.
Ags. 1848 Feast Liter. Crumbs (1891) 56:
To whyte a stick or cut a string.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 215:
Ane o' the bodies put his finger in, an', Lod! wi' that aul' Dickie gruppit it firm an' whate it aff wi' his knife!
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon 226:
In moments of emotional stress Peter always opened his knife and “whited” the nearest piece of wood.
Rxb. 1958 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 21:
Half a wud hoop and a lath for the centre stem, nicely white-eet and nickeet wi' oor knife.

II. n. ? A cut, slash, sharp blow. The meaning is uncertain and the form, if correctly placed here, has been altered metri causa. Phs. a different word.Abd. c.1803 D. Anderson Sawney and John Bull 10:
A certain Scot sat there near 'im, His sharp rubs he coudna bear 'em; To shave them a' wi' sic a wheet, There country mak sae sma repeet.

[O.Sc. quhite, 1567, whytt, 1662, from O.E. þwītan. For the alteration of the initial consonant cf. Whang and T, letter, 9. (2) (v). See also Thwite.]

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"White v.2, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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