Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WISS, v.1, n. Also wis (Abd. c.1760 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 64; Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xxxi.; ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 118; m.Sc. 1893 J. Buchan John Burnet ii. i.); wuss (Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xl.; Mry. 1825 T. D. Lauder Lochandhu Intro. iv.; Rxb. 1868 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 16; Lth. 1883 M. Oliphant Ladies Lindores xxxiii.; Kcb. 1913 A. Anderson Later Poems 19; Abd. 1929 Aberdeen Weekly Jnl. (3 Jan.) 6), wus (Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray 81); †wese (Fif. 1796 St Andrews Baxter Bks. (MacAdam 1902) 197), weese (Bnff. 1864 Banffshire Jnl. (22 Nov.)); wush (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 252; Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 155; Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 124; Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 36, Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chronicle (11 Oct.) 3, Abd. 1928 P. Grey Making of a King 66); weesh (Uls. 1929 J. Logan Uls. in X-Rays 82; Ags. 1963 D. Phillips Wiselike Ned 60). Sc. form of Eng. wish (Sc. 1705 Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S.) 416; Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 17, 109; Sc. c.1803 Sweet William's Ghost in Child Ballads No. 77 G. i.; Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xx.; Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 13; Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iv. 179; Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 15; I., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1974). Pa.t., pa.p. wissed, wist, wussed, wushed, -t. See S, letter, 1.(2). Sc. usages. [wɪs]

I. v. 1. tr. To want, desire, used in Sc. with direct obj. where Eng. now uses wish for or want (Sc. 1855 Scotticisms Corrected 61; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 199; n.Sc., Ags., Per. 1974). Abd. a.1809 J. Skinner Amusements 71:
But we always had the bliss, And what further could we wiss?
Sc. 1825 Scott Familiar Letters (1894) II. 367:
He wishes some house about Westminster.
Sc. 1907 H. C. Wyld Growth of Eng. 63:
Do you wish any more? do you wish any mutton?
Sc. 1928 A. A. Jack Angry Heart 45:
Bernard (entering); You wished me, Gertrude?
Fif. 1935 St Andrews Citizen (23 Feb.) 10:
Woman wishes daily work.
Abd. 1972 Buchan Observer (31 Oct.) 1:
Married couple wish unfurnished flat or rooms in Peterhead.

2. Followed by obj. clause with may or the pres. subj. or, less commonly, indic.: to hope, trust. Now only dial. in Eng. Per. 1745 W. Duke Lord G. Murray (1925) 83:
I wish there be no mistake.
Sc. 1778 A. Wight Present State Husbandry I. 21:
I wish his circumstances may not have suffered thereby.
Abd. c.1780 A. Watson Wee Wifeikie (1921) 6:
O Quoth the wee bit wifeikie, I wish I binna fou.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxix.:
I wuss it bode me gude, for pride goeth before destruction.
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gazette (20 Feb.):
I wiss something's no gaen wrang.
Abd. 1880 W. Robbie Glendornie x.:
I wush I may be keepit heumble.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (4 Dec.):
I wiss doo mayna repent dy ootgaein'.
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 42:
I wis I'll bring my orra life to beauty or I'm din.

3. Phr. and combs.: (1) weel-wished, given with goodwill; (2) wussin-time, the season of well-wishing; (3) wush-ee-war-here, a jocular name for a holiday postcard from its common greeting. (1) Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 237:
The fare weel-wish'd, the gleed right clear, Your dozin'd veins will thaw.
(2) Ayr. 1929 R. Crawford In Quiet Fields 35:
This wussin time I wuss ye weel.
(3) Rxb. 1965 Hawick Express (1 Sept.) 6:
“Wush-ee-war-heres” cam threh Austrieh, Switzerland, an France.

II. n. As in Eng. Sc. phr. to a (very) wuss, -wish, just as one would wish, to one's complete satisfaction. Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 106:
Every thing succeeds to a wish.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 221:
I've tentit weel your groset buss . . It's thriven to a very wuss.
Sc. 1940 in A. Stewart Alicella (1955) 302:
Mrs MacKenzie's luncheon always “passed off to a wish.”

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"Wiss v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 May 2021 <>



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