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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.

BEET, BEAT, v.2 and n.2 [bit Sc.; bet Fif. (coast)]

1. v. Pa.t., pa.p., bet. [bet, bèt]

(1) To mend, repair, esp. nets. Hence boat-beater, a boat-mender.Sc. 1887 Jam.6 Add.:
He was quietly beetin his net on the green.
Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 405:
The kirk-officer, who serves the parish in the different capacities of beadle, sexton, cooper, slater plasterer, boat-beater, gardener.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Beet, to repair a boat, to tar and paint it.
w.Dmf. 1889 J. Shaw in Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 148:
In Tynron beeting a dyke means mending it.

(2) To help (1825 Jam.2), to comfort.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 185:
This Man may beet the Poet bare and clung, That rarely has a Shilling in his Spung.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 83:
An' at the muse, dear lassie, yet I've taen nae dorts, nor sullen pet, I own my needs, she's often bet.

(3) To supply something wanting — e.g. replace lost hooks on a fishing-line; in forestry, to fill gaps in planted area where young trees have died, to plant (a tree) in place of another. Also with up. Gen.Sc.; to replace (an animal) in a flock with another. Also ppl.adj. beatin.Sc. 1799 W. Nicol Practical Planter 193-4:
To plant this year, and beet the next, borders on folly. . . . By the fourth year, the plantation should be gone over and filled up, that the crop may rise regularly in all parts, and that the beeted plants be not drawn up too weak, or be choaked by the others.
Sc. 1823 Blackw. Mag. XIII. 314:
If twa or three hunder pounds can beet a mister for you in a strait, ye sanna want it.
Sc. 1986 Review of Scottish Culture 2 37:
The hook was then bound or beat on with strong linen beatin' thread...
Sc. 1986 Review of Scottish Culture 2 40:
Any missing hooks are replaced, a process which is referred to as beating on wants or beating the wants.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
To fasten a bit of snoodline on to a hook to facilitate the fixing upon a line.
Bnff.2 1930:
Beet the line. To overhaul a line for the purpose of replacing lost tippens or hooks. “Beet th' line, Jonnie, till I rin ower to Findlay's for some new hyooks.”
Bch. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 5:
Tae makin' sneeds an' keepin' coonts, An' splicin' lines an' beetin' wints.
Per. 1832 Trans. Highl. Soc. 190:
His gardener thought proper, during the Duke's absence, to beet up with Scotch fir.
Edb. 1880 Trans. Highl. Soc. 119:
Twin lambs, unless for "beating up the deaths" are no advantage.
Lnk. 1878 Trans. Highl. Soc. 213:
Very little beating up was required after first planting.
Bwk. 1917 J. W. Downie in Kelso Chron. (1 June):
The husband “beats the wants” (replaces lost hooks).
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 52:
Beet. To make up deficiencies of (yarn) in the warp by knotting in a piece.

(4) To kindle or add fuel to a fire (lit. and fig.). Transferred to a person, hence to warm, to warm up; perhaps, in quot. 2, there may be a confusion with Beek, v.1

(a) lit.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 273:
Now the Sun's gane out o' Sight, Beet the Ingle, and snuff the Light.
m.Lth. 1816 J. Aikman Poems 227:
She brought a stool, gar't him sit near, An' beet himsel aside the flame.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 25:
But beet the fire! — we'll mak a shift The infant year to welcome.
Rnf. 1835 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs (1876) 131:
Her sapless fingers scarce can nip The wither'd twigs tae beet her fire.
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 351:
Forbye, I hae the kiln to beet, Wi' fuel late and early.

(b) fig.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 10:
But with mair wyles an' can [skill] they bet the flame.
Ags. 1820 A. Balfour Contemplation, etc. 276:
She ne'er forgot, that Love requires Mair skill to beet, than light, his fires.
Edb. 1838 W. McDowall Poems 198:
Haith, love I fear will soon grow cauld, If there's nocht to beet the lowe.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Cotter's Saturday Night xiii.:
Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems (1897) 138:
Hope beets the youthfu' lover's flame Enjoyment gars us falter.

(c) To increase, swell, add to. Bwk. 1801 "Bwk. Sandie" Poems 111:
In simmer, when the roads are clean, Whan lads an' lasses a' convene To beet the thrang, I wad be keen To see the fair.

(d) To praise, extol.Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 25, 66:
O'er ilka ither browst we'll beet thee . . . He liv'd right bein, an' didna wiss for mair, Nor car'd tho' tale soud never beet his name.

Phr. beet to, keep increasing the speed.Ayr. 1787 Burns Letter to W. Nicol (ed. Ferguson 1931) 94:
When ance her ringbanes and spavies . . . are fairly soupl'd, she beets to, beets to, and ay the hindmost hour the tightest.

(5) Comb.: beet master, a person or thing helpful in an emergency, hence a stop-gap. See Mister.Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xl.:
Next she enlarged on the advantage of saving old clothes to be what she called “beet masters to the new.”

2. n. A needful thing, a want; gen. in pl.Sc. 1829 R. Chambers (ed.) Sc. Songs II. 588:
Sell hawkie, minnie, And buy the beets to me.

[Prob. a contr. for Beet-masters.] [O.Sc. bete, beit. G. Douglas Aen. vi. i. 15: beit thar myster, to ply their peculiar art or occupation. O.North. bœ̄ta, W.S. bētan, to make better, and Mister, q.v., occupation, need.]

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



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