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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AIT, Yit, Ate, n.2 Oat. Gen. in pl., aits = oats. [et Sc.; e1t Ags.; jɪt + ɛ s.Sc.; jət em.Sc.(b); jet sm.Sc.; ɛt + ę I.Sc.]

1. n.Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xxxix. 174:
“A fine harvest, apparently,” continued Waverley. . . “Ay, the aits will be got bravely in.”
Abd.(D) 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 32:
Aw've bocht a quarter o' that new ait 'at ye hear sic a lot aboot.
em.Sc.(a) 1894 I. Maclaren Bonnie Brier Bush 61:
That's a fine pucklie aits.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 5:
Thof to the weet my ripen'd aits had fawn . . . To this I cou'd hae said, “I carena by.”
Ayr. 1786 Burns Scotch Drink iii.:
Let husky Wheat the haughs adorn, And Aits set up their awnie horn.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 106:
Farmers for the coming crap To saw the yits begin.
Uls.2 1929:
Aits, oats.

2. Phrase: To get his (etc.) aits, to get one's deserts.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 12:
His clourin' brow he sets, Macksna', says he, since Douglas gat his aits.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 37:
Siclike in Robinhood debates, Whan twa chiels hae a pingle; E'en-now some couli gets his aits, An' dirt wi' words they mingle.

3. Combs.: (1) Ait bannocks, -bannos. See Bannock.

(2) Ait-breed, oatcakes.Mry.1 1925:
Ait-breed, cakes of oatmeal.

(3) Ait-cake.Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. (1830) xviii.:
Cresses or water-purpie, and a bit ait-cake, can serve the master for breakfast as weel as Caleb. [Ed. 1819: oat-cake.]

(4) Ait-farle, a division (properly a quarter) of a round oatcake. (Also attrib.)Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 91:
Two pints of well-boilt solid sowins, Wi' whauks o' gude ait-far'le cowins.

(5) Ait-jannock, thick oatmeal bannock.Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
But Mattie gae us baith a drap skimmed milk, and ane o' her thick ait jannocks, that was as wat and raw as a divot.

(6) Ait meal. n. and adj.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xx.:
“Jenny, what meal is in the girnel?” “Four bows o' aitmeal, twa bows o' bear, and twa bows o' pease.”
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 76:
Goad, the haill ettle o the bard's been bent
sae ilka thowless philistine kin pent
his 'Life of Burns' owre neaps, aitmeal-an-thairms.
em.Sc.(a) 2004:
Yer fine aitmeal is a richt for makkin Atholl brose but ye need medium or pinhead aitmeal for stuffin or puddens.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 100:
It was impossible for her to think o' you needing twa yitmeal breakfasts ony mair than hersel'.

(7) Ait-parritch, oatmeal porridge.Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 63:
O' meals ait-parritch was the best, Or stowins, e'en right poorly drest.

(8) Ait-seed, (a) seed of the oat, (b) the sowing of oats, (c) the season when oats are sown.(a) Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton At the Back o' Benachie 16:
Gin the ate seed be a' intae th' grun'.
(b) Abd.(D) 1882 W. Alexander Life Among my Ain Folk 35:
Weel, man, gin ye war throu wi' the hurry o' the ait-seed, ye maun jist tak' twa days' leasure, and lat me win to see them.
(c) Fif. 1894 W. D. Latto Tammas Bodkin iv. 33:
“Hoo auld is the beastie?” “Farryt at the beginnin' o' the ait-seed.”

(9) Ait-skeiters (see quot.) (Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 11). Cf. Bear-skeiters.Mry. 1886 Britten and Holland Eng. Plant Names 8:
Ait-skeiters, Angelica sylvestris, L. . . . Anglicè, oat-shooters; children shoot oats through the hollow stems as peas are shot through a pea-shooter.

(10) Ait-strae, oat-straw.Sc. 1874 verses quot. in Notes and Q. (1915, 17 Apr.):
Give me a pickle ait strae, And sell your wind for siller.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 23:
Atestrae, Oatenstraw.

(11) Wild aits, “bearded oat-grass S[cotland]. Avena fatua, Linn.” (Jam.2).

(12) Yit-stalk, oat-stalk.Bwk. c.1830 W. Brockie in Minstr. of the Merse (ed. Crockett 1893) 170:
Ye never blew a plane-tree whussel Or a green yit-stalk pipe.

[From O.E. āte. O.Sc. has ait(t)is.]

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"Ait n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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