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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BUIT, BUTE, Beet, Bit, Beyt, n.2, v.2 Sc. forms of St.Eng. boot, advantage, profit. The Eng. boot replaces the genuine Sc. forms in some of the following examples, but the meaning in such cases is peculiar to Sc. [bøt I.Sc., sn.Sc.; byt m.Sc. + bɪt, s.Sc.; bit mn.Sc., nn.Sc., but Cai. + bəit, beit]

1. n.

(1) Choice.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 95:
Ne ither boot she had but tell her care, Came frae the lad, that had the yellow hair. [Cf. obs. Eng. none other boote, no alternative, 1523 (N.E.D.).]
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmer's Three Daughters II. 222:
I believe Bob's right; for there's little boot atweesh our manners an' some ithers.

(2) Balance in barter, something given into the bargain, esp. in phrase to the boot (see phrases below). Obs. in Eng. (N.E.D.). Known to Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1 1937.Abd.(D) 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 91:
On looking at a futtle [pocket knife], he was always ready to troke [exchange] another futtle for it, . . . often giving or receiving as “beet” a fleerish, tobacco box, spleuchan, etc.
Hdg. 1885 J. Lumsden Rural Rhymes, etc. 75:
Just ten pounds boot and poor old Floe — Was never bargain seen!

Comb.: buit-money, “the odd change or a small gratuity given in settling or making up a payment, etc.” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

2. Phrases: (1) in bute, in addition; o' buit, id. See also Abuit; (2) to the bute, — beet, — bit, “into the bargain” (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Slg.3 1937; Ayr.4 1928, — bit); (3) t(o) (th)e beet o' (th)e barg(a)in, til 'e beyt o' 'e bargain, in addition, over and above (Cai.7, Abd.18 1937).(1) Edb. 1798 D. Crawford Poems 106:
I'll no dispute To gie some trifle mair in bute.
Ayr. 1785 Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. vii.: 
He hirpl'd up, and lap like daft, And shor'd them Dainty Davie O' boot that night.
(2) Abd.(D) 1916 G. Abel Wylins fae my Wallet 61:
But I will tak' his pension, an beg pardon to the beet, For withoot it, Jean, we winna hae a plack.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) i.:
He ga'e me a he tortyshall kitlin' to the bute.
(3) Cai.1 1929:
In the sheep trade a clad score counts 21 sheep, while 20 is the number on which the payment counts. Thus, one on the score is “to'e beet o' 'e bargain.”
Cai. 1932 Caithness Forum in John o' Groat Jnl. (22 Jan.) 7:
'E beyce dirt cheap, an' 'e sheep — ye wid need til gie twa til 'e beyt o' 'e bargain til a man 'at wid buy aine.
Bnff.2 1933:
She ca'ed 'im a' the ill names she cud think on, ay, an' t' the beet o' the bargin knockit aff his lum hat wi' a steen.
[See also Abuit.]

3. v.

(1) To deserve.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 44:
But, Rab o' Barnton, thou boots A heavier ban than mine.

(2) To make the balance, to complete (a bargain) (Abd.9 1937).Mry., Bnff., Abd. 1914 T.S.D.C. I.:
If one bartered his knife for something of greater value, it was customary to give with it some small article to beet the bargain.

[O.Sc. bute, buit, bwte, n., (1) help, remedy, etc.; (2) compensation, payment; (3) an additional sum; v., tr. and intr., to benefit, help (D.O.S.T.); O.E. bōt, remedy, compensation.]

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"Buit n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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