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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAIRT, n.1 and v. Gen.Sc. form of Eng. cart. Combs. which are similarly formed in Eng. are not listed. [kert, kɛrt]

1. n.

Sc. form of Eng. cart.Sc. 1991 Roderick Watson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 103:
Ye micht jalouse he could really see
the waas dung doun at the end o the tale,
or Achilles' triumph in his gowden cairt
wi michty Hector pleitered in the sharn,
an mebbe he could.
Sth. 1996 Eddie Davies in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 36:
'I cut peats here every year, see them stacked on yonder brae,' and he pointed to a big line of peat stacks on the skyline, 'Youse bring doon half a cairt for me, and youse can hae the rest for yourselves!'

Sc. usages:

In combs: (1) cairt-door, “a back-board or tail-board” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Bnff.2, Abd.19, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1938; (2) cairt-draught, -draucht, a cart-load (Abd.2 (-draucht), Fif.10 1938); (3) cairt-end board, “a backboard or tail-board” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (4) cairt gird, “a thick, stout rope used to hold a load of hay, straw, or sheaves on a cart” (Bch. 1928 (per Abd.15)); known to Bnff.2, Abd.9 1938; (5) cairt timmer, “a cart shaft” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (6) cairt-rack, “the rut made by a cart-wheel” (Ib.); (7) cairt-raik, the time taken to dispose of a cart-load (Bnff.2, Kcb.1 1938); (8) cairt-stang, “a cart-shaft” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); “the adjustable pole connecting the wheels of a wood wagon” (Kcb. 1938 (per Kcb.9)); cf. car-stang s.v. Car, n.1, 2; (9) cairt-tether, “a long tether for securing a load of hay or sheaves” (Arg.1 1937); (10) cairt-wheel, “the very large variety of marguerite or ‘gowan'” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); known to Abd.22, Lnk.3 1938.(2) Ayr. 1896 “G. Umber” Ayrsh. Idylls 218:
A cairt-draught o' coals.
(7) Rxb. 1920 Kelso Chron. (18 June) 2/6:
The farmer, moreover, was what his folks termed “ a devil of a man for wark,” and there was not often a decent interval between the “cairt-raiks.”

Deriv.: cairtie, also cartie. A small cart.Abd. 1988 Jack Webster Another Grain of Truth (1989) 78:
She and her nomadic brother, Jock Pom o' Leeds (the village of New Leeds in Buchan), went roaming far and wide, Jock with his little cairtie and Meg wrapped in rags and puffing at her clay pipe.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 84:
Carties oot o orange-boxes
an' pram wheels. Auld bed-springs,
booncers, tethert til the feet.
Abd. 2000 Herald 17 Jan 19:
But there is a long way to go and if a young fan were to emulate Jim Murray today, he'd need a cairtie. He'd need to return 45 screwtops to the wee shop to get the price of the next game.

2. v. To break in (a horse) for cart work.Arg.1 1931:
Hae ye no that horse cairtit yet?

[O.Sc. cart, 1375, cairt, c.1500–c.1512, a cart, also v., to convey in a cart (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cairt n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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