Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YETT, n.1 Also yet(te), yeat(t), yaitt, yate; yit; yatt (Sh.). Dim. yittie (Abd.). [jɛt, jɪt; Sh. jɑt]

1. A gate, of a garden, field, etc., or of a fortified house or town (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 132, yate; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. a.1889 Ellis E.E.P. V. 726; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–23 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai); specif. in archaeol. usage, a type of door made of interlacing iron bars (Sc. 1959 W. D. Simpson Sc. Castles 19). See 1882 quot. Gen.Sc. and n.Eng. dial. Also fig. Fif. 1706 E. Henderson Dunfermline (1879) 376:
To build up what of the kirkyeard are ruinous, and put yeats on the entry's.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 128:
When at her father's yate I knock'd.
Gsw. 1763 Session Papers, Makinlies v. Tennent (24 Aug.) 12:
There was always a timber yeat on each end of the foresaid grass walk.
Ayr. 1793 Burns O, Whistle i.:
Come nae unless the back-yett be ajee.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (Rogers 1869) 133:
We'll on and we'll march to Carlisle ha' Wi' its yetts, its castell, an' a', an' a'.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Let. xi.:
They rode through the muckle faulding yetts.
ne.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 195:
Till they came to the yate; And there they spied a maiden porter.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 259:
When gloamin' comes doon wi' its shadows dark, . . . An' yetts play jairg, and dubs play plash.
Sc. 1882 P.S.A.S. XVII. 100:
From north to south the principle of construction of these iron yetts is identical, the essential feature being a mutual and alternate penetration of the bars.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xv.:
The key o' the prison yett.
Kcb. 1900 Crockett Black Douglas xix.:
Sholto wended his way out of the castle yett.
Sh. 1923 T. Manson Lerwick 8:
The old houses there and thereabout, — the courtyards, odd corners, back yatts, peerie piers.
Edb. 1925 Edb. Ev. News (15 Jan.) 4:
Skelpin' the sclates, Dingin' the yaitts.
Ags. 1934 H.B. Cruickshank Noran Water 6:
Tae regions yont the yetts o' Daith.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xix.:
'Eres nae time for his tae mak bonnie timmer yitties ilka time we ca a slappie throwe the dike.

Combs. and phrs.: (1) a fleein yett, a gate swinging erratically to and fro in wind, hence fig. of a person: scatter-brained, giddy, flighty, from the next; (2) as daft as a yett in a windy day, see (1) (Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 42; m.Sc. 1974); (3) yett-house, a gate-house, porter's lodge; (4) yett-pin, the bolt or latch of a gate; (5) yett-post, a gate-post (Abd. 1974); (6) yett-wey, a gate-way. (1) Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine at Exhibition 3:
Leezie was nae daft fleein yett o' a lassie.
(2) Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull 26:
I have passed a good wheen bursars through my hands — clever billies some o' them were, though whiles as daft as yetts in a win'y day.
Gall. 1888 G. G. B. Sproat Rose o' Dalma Linn 214:
Hoots, Tam! Your joost as daft's a yett.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters v.:
A braw lass she was, as daft as a yett in a windy day.
(3) Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 442:
It was called the “Yett House of Stanley.”
(4) Sc. a.1830 Gay Goshawk in Child Ballads No. 96. Add.:
He happit off the flowry birk, Sat down on the yett-pin.
(5) Dmf. 1879 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 48:
The rest [of standing stones] were ta'en to big dykes and mak' yett posts.
(6) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 12:
The lethy bids Paetie Linklid an' Johnnie Brock stand i' the apen yett-way.

2. A natural pass or defile between hills, found esp. in place-names, as Allan's Yett, Fenton Yett in Dmf. and freq. in pl. Cf. also Yetholm in Rxb. Slk. 1828 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) viii.:
They buried her like a dog at the Yetts of Keppel.
Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 301–5:
The shape of the hill terminating above the Yetts of Muckart . . . The pass in Glendovan, by which he entered the parish, still bears the name of the Mandrose Yetts, obviously Montrose Yetts.
Per. 1872 E. Stevenson Yetts o' Muckhart 25:
Awa an' awa, thro the Yetts up the glen.

[O.Sc. yate, yet, gate, from 1375, North. O.E. ȝeat, Eng. gate derives from the pl. stem gat-.]

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"Yett n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <>



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