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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FIT, n.1, v.1 Also fut, ‡fute, ¶fuit (Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of the Fields 24), †fet; feet (Ork., Cai., Rs.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. foot. [Sc. fɪt, fʌt; Ork., Cai., Rs. fi:t]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. Hence in derivs. and combs., fitten, -in, futten, -ing, footing, fitba, fitstap, football, footstep, etc. Pl. feet; also †foots, esp. when preceded by a cardinal number in measurements (Ags. 1703 in V. Jacob Lairds of Dun (1931) 6; Bnff. 1717 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1932) 176). The sing. fit is reg. used in such expressions. For pl. fits, see below. Dim. Fittie, q.v. Dim. pl. feetie, also ne.Sc. feeties (Abd.27 1951). Used int. in form feeties in the games of pinner and marbles by a player whose pinner or marble strikes the foot of another player. This secured certain privileges in the game, such as the right to another shot, or the right to use his own foot to deflect his opponent's next shot (Ags. 1975).

Sc. forms of Eng. foot (part of the body; the measure).wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 6:
Snirkle away then, and smirk up yir sleeve,
Ah've had mair than enough, it's time to leave!
Be a while afore I set fit again in this habitation,
Which has taken quite a tummle in my estimation.
Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 15:
There's a fit a stoor oan yon telly. There's a thick film of dust on the television.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 47:
Mammy, ah scored a hat trick! Wan a flyin heider! Wan wae ma left fit!
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 3:
I wis six-fit-six, I wis slinky
(Yet nae skinnymalinky) -
Arg. 1992:
Ma mother got signed aff wi her fut.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 11:
Ah've only tae pit wan fit oot the bed an thae weans are awake!
Edb. 1994 Douglas McKenzie in James Roberston A Tongue in Yer Heid 9:
She spread a clean newspaper on the table an pit oot the knifes and forks, dancin between the livin-room an the kitchen, gien a wee jouk o her legs as she passed the kitchen door. Back wi the plates an anither wee shak o the fuit an a wee hooch as she louped back intae the kitchen again.
m.Sc. 1994 John Burns in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 24:
Jock held on ticht til the pownie's fuit as he hemmert the nails intil't an cut awa at the hoof until he gat it juist richt.

Dim. pl. feetie(s).Sc. 17.. Merry Muses (1911) 51:
Wap and rowe, wap and rowe, Wap and rowe the feetie o't.
Ayr. 1833 Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 237:
Every now and then drumming with its wee feetie like desperation.
Abd. 1844 P. Still Poems 101:
Like infant feeties nimbly tramplin.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller 264:
How's your wee feetie now? Are they sair, eh?
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xxix.:
She took up the bundle with the bairns' socks, . . . the bits of little feetie would look very bonnie in them.
Mry. 1865 W. H. L. Tester Poems 182:
Row warm his feeties, bonny dear.
Peb. 1884 J. Grosart Poems 101:
Nae mair noo we'll hear her wee feetie prattle.

2. A foothold, step, esp. in phrs. to lose, miss, slip, tine a (one's, the) fit, to slip, stumble, trip. Gen.Sc. Also fig.Abd. 1739 J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 42:
Unluckily he tint the fit, And tann'd his ain bum-lether.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xxvi.:
[She] mist a fit, an' in the pool Out-owre the lugs she plumpet.
Lth. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 87:
Whan stappin' o'er he miss'd a fit An' fell up to the haunches.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 66:
By chance I slipt the fit and fell.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 159:
Folks that hae slippit a fit atween the trams o' their business, like mysel.
Mry. 1858 G. Mann Poems 15:
(Indeed they are aye drouthie) And gars them lose their fit.

3. Used with reference to the bringing of good or bad fortune, as in guid, ill, lucky, unlucky fit (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., m.Lth. 1951). Cf. First-fit. Hence ppl.adj. ill-fitted.Edb. 1829 G. Wilson Sc. Laverock 191:
Young Maggy had a lucky fit; At least her reverend grannie, Aye threepet sin' she was a bairn. That hers was unco cannie.
Cai. 1842 J. Calder Sk. from John o' Groats 224:
No one would go on a journey, begin a job, or even run a message without observing who was first-foot — that is, the first individual or animal one met. . . . A dog, a cow, a horse, or a moorfowl, were, on the contrary, looked upon as “good feet,” as good, indeed, as could be desired.
Fif. 1864 W. Wilson Echoes of Anvil (1886) 120:
For when the Tron its langest speech has spoken, Some “lucky fit” may wander up the street.
Bnff. 1885 E. J. Guthrie Old Sc. Customs 125:
The expressions, “happy and unhappy feet” were made use of . . . in the interchange of good and bad wishes. Thus, they wished a newly married couple “happy feet.”
Abd. 1898 Abd. Weekly Free Press (28 Oct.):
If anybody reputed to be an “unlucky fit,” or anyone with flat feet, red hair, or a squint, is met by them on the way to their boats the superstitious fishermen will turn back; or if an “unlucky fit” enters a fisherman's house when the lines are being baited, the operation is suspended and in some instances the lines are dragged through the fire or twisted round the crook to break the evil spell.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 110:
He was very particular as to meeting a person by the way, lest they should have an “evil eye” or an “ill fit.”
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (19 June):
The skipper telt's we hidna gweed feet.
Sc. 1935 I. Bennet Fishermen vii.:
Why, terrible thought, she might be ill-fitted, then she would bring ill-luck to him, if not actual calamity!

4. Footwear, shoes and stockings, in phr. to change one's feet. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife xviii.:
I'm sere ye'll need to change yer feet, Ye've widden throu' the mire.
Fif. 1886 “S. Tytler” St Mungo's City xx.:
But take care you leave the gentlemen in time to change their feet.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 100:
I could have carried my Florence boots with me, and changed my feet in the wee room.

5. The lower or far end of anything, specif. of a street, or garden, the mouth of a stream. Pl. fits. Gen.Sc. In pl., the foot of the class, the dunce (Ags.19, Uls.4 1951).s.Sc. 1843 W. Scrope Salmon-Fishing 95:
I hae ta'en twa saumon . . . baith in Faldon-side Burn fut.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 12:
A'm heeds o the cless this week, an ee ken Tam Broon? — aweel, hei's fits.
Abd.15 1928:
He gid in be the fits o' the yards [He took the footpath by the ends of the village gardens].
Dundee 1993 Evening Telegraph (13 Oct):
Before there was a custom-built shopping mall, protected from the elements, Dundee shoppers going "doon the toon" would often start from the "fit of the Hull", then head for the city centre via Wellgate Steps and that thoroughfare's many shops.
m.Sc. 1994 John Burns in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 26:
He gaed oot the smiddy door an doun tae the fuit o the village whaur he lowpt the dyke an heidit ower the fields tae the river.
Ags. 1996 Courier (2 Mar):
A visitor to Arbroath says they use a different language at the Fit o' the Toon.
Sc. 1996 Scotland on Sunday (26 May) 3:
Despite the dearth of fish, 12 commercial smokers survive in Arbroath's 'Fit o' the Toon' area where there were once nearly three times that number taking fresh haddock every morning straight from the boats.
Sc. 1997 Guardian (1 Mar):
Early morning in Arbroath, and a low autumnal sun is filtering through little plumes of smoke rising from squat chimneys clustered around the harbour. This area is known as the 'Fit o' the Toon'
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 71:
At the fit o Calton Hill,
where the weans yince went ti schuil,
there's a buildin, baur'd an boltit lik a jile.

Phr.: Fit o the Walk, also Fit ay the Walk, Foot o the Walk, the bottom of Leith Walk, the street leading from central Edinburgh to Leith.Edb. 1987:
Does this bus take you to the foot of the walk?
Edb. 1993 Irvine Welsh Trainspotting (1994) 3:
At the Fit ay the Walk thir wir nae taxis. They only congregated here when ye didnae need them.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 303:
'Brilliant!' she agreed, and she stormed on down to the Foot o the Walk. They'd be off to their beds, but not her. That was one thing about the shore, though: out beyond the restaurants, by the docks, there were old bits of wooden wharfing where you could sit and doze in the sunshine, and nobody came near you or bothered you.

6. Used imprecatorily or as an emphatic neg. in elliptical phrs. deil fit (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.), no e fit (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).Sh.12 1951:
No a fit, if A'll no sov dee = Hang me, if I don't punch you.

II. Phrs.: †1. aboon one's fit, beyond one's capacity or means; 2. aff one's (the) fit (feet), (a) ailing, unfit for work; “esp. through childbirth” (Cai.7 1950); (b) of a crop: cut, reaped: cf. 29.; (c) gone to excess, beyond all bounds; morally astray (Abd.4, Fif.13 1942; m.Lth.1, Bwk.3 1951); 3. a' one's feet, used adv. = at full speed (Abd.4 1933); 4. a sair fit, “a rainy day.” See Sair; 5. at the feet-fa'in, see Fa, v., n.1 I. B. 9. (1); 6. ayont one's fit = 1.; †7. fit an' fur (for), in ilka —, the fits and fors, every detail, all the particulars. See Furr; 8. fit for fit, step by step, side by side, closely (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh.11, Bnff.2, Bwk.3 1946). ‡9. fit for leg, as fast as one can walk, hurrying (Abd. 1952); 10. heavy o' (the) fit, pregnant (Sh.11, Fif., Dmf., Slk. 1951). Cf. heavy-fittet, s.v. Heavy; 11. het fit, see Het, adj., adv., n.; 12. on fit, upon —, well, in good health (I., ne.Sc., Ags. 1951); alive (m.Lth.1, Bwk.3 1952); 13. till one's fit, recovered from illness, up and about (I.Sc., Bnff.2, Abd.27, Ags.2, Slg.3 1946); †14. to draw one's fit, to steer (someone) tactfully towards a certain subject or attitude of mind, to lead (someone) on; †15. to fall off one's feet, to lose one's balance, to fall down; 16. to gaither one's (the) feet, (a) to recover from a slip or fall, to regain one's footing, lit. and fig. (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd.27, Slg.3, Rxb.4 1952); to retrieve oneself financially (Abd.27 1952); (b) to walk or run faster (Id.); †(c) to begin to walk, of infants (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 58); †(d) fig.: to pull oneself together, to collect one's wits; 17. to get up one's fit, to be scolded (ne.Sc., Ags., Dmf. 1951). Cf. 19.; 18. to gie (a stane) feet, in curling, to accelerate its movement by sweeping the ice before it (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc.; 19. to gie (somebody) up his (the) fit, to scold, rebuke, berate (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 61; Cld. 1880 Jam.; Ags.1, Ayr.4 1928; Sh., Abd., Fif., Slk. 1951); to outsmart in repartee (Twd. 1825 Jam.); 20. to haud fit wi, to keep pace with. Cf. 23.; †21. to let one's feet rin faster than one's shoon, to be in too great a hurry (Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xxxiii.); 22. to lift one's feet, fig., to show great activity (m.Lth.1, Rxb.4 1950); †23. to mak mair fit, to hurry up. Cf. Eng. foot, pace, speed, and 20.; 24. to mak one's feet one's friend(s), to go off at a great pace, to take to one's heels (ne.Sc., Ags. 1951); 25. to pit apo one's feet, to put on one's shoes (Sh.11 1951). Cf. 27.; 26. to pit in a fit, to walk more quickly (Dmf. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Dmf. 1951); 27. to tak aff o' one's feet, to take off one's shoes (Sh.11 1951). Cf. 25.; 28. to tak (one's) fit in (one's) hand, to start off, to take one's departure (I., ne.Sc., Ags. 1951); 29. upon the fit, of grain: standing, with the straw, unthreshed (Slg. 1825 Jam.; Abd. 1943). Also in Ir. dial. in 18th cent. Cf. 2. (b); of other crops: in the field, unharvested.1. Sc. 1835 J. W. Carlyle Letters (ed. Froude) I. 50:
She told me flatly it was “clean aboon my fit.”
Lth. 1856 M. Oliphant Lilliesleaf xxviii.:
Thanking you, Miss Marget, for a' the grand napery that would have been far aboon their fit, if it was not for your good thought upon them.
Slk. 1894 J. Bathgate Aunt Janet's Legacy 20:
Seeven miles back and forrit is abune my fit nowadays.
 2. (a) Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf iii.:
[She] is the best goer about the toun, now that grannie is off the foot hersell.
Sc. 1825 Jam. s.v. Aff:
I never saw him sae sair aff his fit as now.
(b) Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 20:
Afore the crap wis aff its fit, an' stookit straucht an' trim.
(c) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 215:
He's jist aff o's feet wee real rotten sweerta.
3. Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 83:
Ye'll hae plenty time. Heest ye an' rin a' yer feet.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 53:
He kent his midder hid ti pass Soothside, sae he gid there a's feet.
6. Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (20 Feb.) 344:
“There's just three and sevenpencc.” “Aye, but that's ayont my foot, Andro,” answered she.
7. Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters III. 214:
Tell's a' about it, for ye'll ha'e heard ilka fit an' fur o't.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 227:
There's nae muckle maitter for I ken ilka fit an' fur o' the hill.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister ix.:
She led police and sojers sic a dance through Thrums as would baffle description, though I kent the fits and fors o't as I dinna.
8. Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man I. iv.:
I'll ride wi' ye mysel the morn, fit for fit, to the castle of Mountcomyn.
9. Abd. 1913 G. Greig Mains Again 15:
Noo, Peter man, ye'll get yersel' runkit and gang fit for leg this vera nicht to Braeside.
10. Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 146:
James cam to me ae morning when she was heavy o' fit.
12. Mry. 1806 J. Cock Simple Strains 140:
Is Heckler Geordie ay on fit?
13. Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 47:
Is yer sin better? Oo, i, he's till's fit again.
14. Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 245:
I tried tae draw his fit, an' gie him a chance tae confess his mistak.
15. Gall. 1725 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) II. 33:
He thought he was drunk, which was evident to him by his foolish talking . . . and shortly after the said John coming up the street he fell off his feet.
16. (a) Sc. 1671 M. Bruce Lectures (1707) 26:
If the Storms ye are meeting with make you not to walk more evenly, and gather your Feet, ye shall get a new Storm to scald you, untill you . . . gather your Feet better.
s.Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 187:
To implore ye that we may hae time to gather oor feet, an' to gie yer Lordship an' every man his due.
(b) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 58:
I ga' a gollie at 'im, an' he seen gaithert's feet till 'im syne.
(d) Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick v.:
I didna gaither my feet or aince it was a' by, an' we got into the session-hoose.
17. Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vi.:
I'll get up my fit for bidin' sae lang.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie I. 43:
If she was filandering her time away with the smith's apprentice laddie . . . she would get her fit up for it.
19. Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 57:
The toun's bodies hae spoken an written lang an nae little about us; an rippet up our faults at nae allowance. It's our time now to gie them up their fit a wee.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin 99:
If ever they cam' in his gait he sid gie them up their fit.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 94:
Man, Ritchie, had 'e gi'n him less up his fit.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 94:
I'll gie her up her fit. I'll no tak' her.
Abd. 1941 C. Gavin Black Milestone vii.:
The minister'll gie ye up yer foot for bein' ahin wi' his supper.
20. Ags. 1887 Arbroath Guide (23 April):
In thae days there were few that could haud fit wi' me.
Abd. 1920 M. Argo Makkin o' John 27:
He'll need to luik oot a richt wife to haud fit wi, him.
22. Sh. 1898 Shetland News (14 May):
If hit no been for what feet shü's lifted late an aer, foo mony [sheep] wid we a hed ta roo by dis time?
23. Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf x.:
Make mair fit. . . . We maun be first on the field if we can.
24. Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 113:
He forthwith commenced a vigorous assault on the enemy, who was glad to make “his feet his freens.”
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums vii.:
When I do hae to gang that wy I mak my feet my friend.
Abd. 1918 C. Murray Sough o' War 29:
Ging on an' leave me here, ye gype, an' mak' yer feet yer freen'.
Dundee 1986 David A. MacMurchie I Remember Another Princes Street! 31:
Though stating the obvious, what was meant was, That's five minutes to the hour - you'd better mak' your feet your freens'.
Ags. 1990s:
Mak yer feet yer freends: clear off quickly.
 25. Sh. 1897 Shetland News (4 Dec.):
Doo'll hae ta pit apo dy feet an' come i' da byre wi' me.
26. s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xxiii.:
We'll just put in a foot, you and me, and aiblins we'll be before them yet.
27. Sh. 1898 Shetland News (14 May):
Tak yon chair, an' tak' aff o' dy feet.
28. Sc. 1755 Smollett Don Quixote I. iv. iv.:
Andrew . . . made his bows, and, as the saying is, took his foot in his hand.
Ayr. 1836 Galt in Tait's Mag. (June) 390:
It cannot be said that I was even then owre old to take my foot in my hand, to see what the world was like ayont the dike.
Sc. 1857 Wilson's Tales of the Borders, XVI. 201:
Neist morn Geordie Gordon and I took foot in han' and awa to Leith.
Fif. 1882 “S. Tytler” Sc. Marriages I. Jean Kinloch iii.:
She would “take her foot in her hand,” go across the moor.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 94:
So, efter we wir gotten wir brakwist a Tiesday, we took wir fit i' wir haand an' set aff.
29.Sc. 1784 A. Wight Husbandry II. 307:
The straw robbed from the ground, by selling the crop on the foot.
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 544:
To sell his last crop upon its foot, i.e. standing corn and fodder.
Slg. 1812 P. Graham Agric. Slg. 104:
The tenant shall not sell his victual upon the foot, as it is called, or with the straw.
Ayr. 1866 Trans. Highl. Soc. 31:
The potato crops in most cases are sold on the foot to dealers.

III. Combs.: †1. fit- (feet-, fute-) ale, -yill, a drink of ale given to celebrate a mother's rising for the first time after childbirth (Sc. 1808 Jam., fute-; Ags. 1825 Jam.) or a sale of cattle, “paid by the seller” (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicolson in County of Cai. 71), sometimes attrib. Also in Eng. dial.; 2. fit-an-a-half, (a call in) a variety of leap-frog (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Mry., Abd., Ags., Fif., Rnf., Lnk., Ayr., Kcb. 1951). Abbrev. form fitana (Abd. c.1900). Also in Eng. dial.; 3. fitba, Sc. form of Eng. football; 4. fit-baand, a hobble or halter for the feet of an animal (Sh.10 1951); 5. fit-breed (Slk. 1951), -bree(d)th (Cai.7, Abd.9, Ags.2 1945), the breadth of a foot. See Breed, n.1; ‡6. fit-bro(a)d, fute-, the foot-board or treadle of a spinning-wheel, sewing-machine or the like (Abd.13 1910; Abd.27 1951); a foot-rest, or foot-stool (Sc. 1808 Jam.); †7. fit-clouts, pieces of old cloth wrapped round the feet by miners instead of shoes or to make shoes more comfortable; †8. fit-cock, foot-, a small loose heap of hay, the first made after cutting (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. tramp-cole, s.v. Tramp; ¶9. fit-dint, a foot-print; 10. fit-eitch; feet- (Cai.), a long-handled ship-carpenter's adze for trimming wood held in place by the foot (Sh., Ork. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 652, -each; Sh.11, Ork.5, Cai.7, Abd.27 1951); †11. fit fair, able to walk steadily; ‡12. fit-fang (ne.Sc.), -wang (Sh.), a strap used by cobblers looped round knee and foot and over the work so as to grip it firmly in position (Sh.11, ne.Sc. 1951). See Whang; 13. fit-feal, ‡(a) “the skin of a lamb between the time of castration and that of being weaned” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in the analogical forms -fall, -fa' (Id.); †(b) a grown-up lamb (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). [O.Sc. (1452) futefell, the skin of a lamb dead soon after birth]; 14. fit-folk(s), pedestrians, esp. those attending church, market or other event on foot (Abd.15 1880; ne.Sc., Ags., Bwk., Kcb. 1951); †15. fit-gang, fedgan, (a) a footing, “as much ground as one can move on” (Sc. 1825 Jam.) used fig. in 1814 quot.; a passage-way made from planks, as between church pews; (b) “a long, low narrow chest, extending the whole length of a wooden bed, and used as a step for going into bed” (Bwk. 1825 Jam., fedgan); ¶16. foot-gar, ? a foot-guard or -rest. Phs. a misreading for 15.; 17. fit-graith, fut-, the set of swingle-trees for a yoke of two or more horses (Arg.1 1937); 18. fitick, futick [i.e. fit-huik], the chain and hook connecting the muzzle of the plough with the fit-tree (Arg.3 Ayr., Dmf., Uls.4 1952). See 44. (a); †19. fit in fur, the last right-hand ox of the twelve-oxen plough, which walked in the furrow (Abd. 1858 J. B. Pratt Buchan 18). Cf. 26.; 20. fit-iron, in curling, a piece of frosted sheet-iron for the player to set his foot on when about to deliver the stone; 21. fitlick [i.e. fit-lug, see Lug], in a herring net, the cord to which, in the modern form, the lower set of ossils, and, in the older type, the sweep of the lugstane, is attached (ne.Sc. 1951); 22. fitlin(n), = 37. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., Rs. 1951). See Linn, n.2, 2. and cf. Faer. fótalunnur; ‡23. fit-market, the part of a fair or market where pedestrians can move about freely, frequented by those seeking engagements (Abd.27 1951); †24. fit-nowt, the last pair, next the plough, of a team of oxen (Abd. 1825 Jam.); †25. fit o' lan, fittie [o' the]-lan, the rear left-hand horse or ox in a plough, which treads on the unploughed land. Cf. 19.; †26. fit owsen, = 24.; 27. fit-pad, a foot-path (Ayr., Kcb. Dmf. 1951); 28. fit-pan, a bed valance (Abd.15 1880; ne.Sc., Kcb. 1951). See Pand; 29. fit-peat, a peat cut vertically with a foot-spade (see 1802 quot.). Cf. breast-peat, s.v. Breist, 3. (4); 30. futprint, Sc. form of Eng. footprint; 31. fit-raip, the rope running along the foot of a drift herring-net to which the meshes are attached by the ossils (e.Sc. 1951); a hobble for cattle, used when driving them to market (Arg.1 1937; Arg.3 1952, -rope); 32. fit-rig, “the ridge of land at that end of a field which is considered the lower, on which the horses and plough turn” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 47; Uls.4 1952); 33. fit-road, a footpath. Gen.Sc., now obs. in Eng.; also, the pavement (Ayr. 1950). Dim. fit-roadie, -roddie; 34. fit-shaking, a ball, dance. Rare; †35. fit-side(s), in phr. to be fit-side(s) wi, to be even, quits with (Sc. 1887 Jam.); †36. fit-soam, -soom, an iron chain of eight or ten feet long extending from the muzzle of the plough and fixed to the yoke of the oxen next the plough (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam., s.v. sowme; Kcb.10 1942, -soom); 37. fitspar (Sh., ne. and m.Sc. 1951), feetspur (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai., Rs. 1951), a bar of wood across the floor of a boat used to press the feet against when rowing; 38. fit-stane, a hollowed stone on which the spindle or journal of a mill pivots; †39. fit-stead, fuitsteid, a footprint (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 204); 40. fit-stick, †(a) = 44. (b); ‡(b) a wooden foot-bridge; 41. fit-stramp, a footstep (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.10 1951); 42. fit-stuil, -stuul, -stöll, fig. the earth, in allusion to Isaiah lxvi. 1.; phs. borrowed from U.S. speech where footstool is so used colloq.; 43. fit-the-gutter, †(a) “a low, loose slipper” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); (b) a low worthless person, a rogue (Bwk. 1951, -gitter); 44. fit-tree, feet- (Cai.), (a) the wooden spar to which the traces are attached in ploughing or harrowing; in working two or more horses, the bar intermediate between the plough and the swingle-trees which takes the main draught (Cai.3, Arg.1, Ayr. 1945); (b) the treadle of a spinning-wheel or loom; 45. fit-washin, see Feet-washing; 46. fit-wazzy, “a cylindrical-shaped seat or stool, about two feet in height, made of straw woven together like a kubby” (Ork. 1929 Marw.); †47. fit-yoke, = 24.; 48. futinas [i.e. foot-in-arse], the little grebe or dab-chick, Podiceps ruficollis (Uls. 1924 North. Whig (8 Jan.)). Cf. Eng. dial. arsefoot, id., and footy-arse, s.v. Fittie.1. Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) viii.:
Lucky Bringthereout and me whanged away at the cheese and bread, and drank so briskly at the whisky and foot-yill.
Cai. a.1850 in Old-Lore Misc. IX. iv. 229:
A bargain was never considered fully ratified until “feet ales” were pledged and drunk in ale or whisky by both seller and buyer.
Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk of Fife 396:
She was brought back until the mother got into bed again. Before leaving, the caller got “the fitale dram.”
2. Sc. c.1870 R. J. Drummond Lest We Forget (1951) 19:
A variety of it [leap-frog] was “foot and a half.” In this the frog was leapt over from a mark. The last of the queue marked where he landed and the frog advanced to the mark. Often at last it required a hop, step and jump to clear the frog and whoever failed had to take the frog's place.
Lth. 1885 “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny 33:
Many of their games needed little but swift limbs and good lungs: such as . . . “Foot an' a half.”
Gsw. 1948 Glasgow Herald (13 Sept.):
We liked Run-a-Mile ourselves, but are in a minority among colleagues whose preference was for Fit-and-a-Hauf.
3. Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 25:
Ye remind me ae a manager ae a midget fitbaw team ah used tae play fur.
Fif. 1994 Nellie Watson in Joan Watson Memories and Reflections: An East Neuk Anthology 14:
Wullie and Tam were fitba daft-
That didna please oor MAW-
And ower and ower she'd say tae them
"Drap playin' wi' that kick-ba!"-
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 21:
As a kid I did the normal things kids in the scheme did: played fitba and Japs and commandos, mucked about on bikes, caught bees, ...
4. Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 63:
Sees doo, man, foo he poos apon his fit-baand ta win ta my haand.
5. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 116:
Charge them to halt, nor move on[e] foot bred more.
Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 Oct.):
They wirna a feet-breedth o' road ower 'e Hill o' Wester.
6. Sc. 1747 Caled. Mercury (30 April):
He sells Oak Spocks, . . . Foot-broads, Chaise-trams, &c.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 6:
Tib braks, wi' haste, her foot-broad latch.
7. Lnk. 1862 D. Wingate Poems 58:
Each wi' his pipe aboon his lug, And fit-cloots in his oxter snug.
e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 55:
Another scramble immediately after took place for the warmest “fit-clouts” . . . little pieces of cloth, any sort, from six to eight inches square, one piece being wound around the toes of each foot, simply to make the foot a little more comfortable within the almost inflexible shoe.
9. Sc. 1860 J. P. Robson Song Solomon i. 8:
Gang awa' oot by the fit-dints o' the flock.
10. Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 251:
He wis gaein' hame frae his wark wi' his fit eitch apon his shouder.
11. Ags. 1826 A. Balfour Highland Mary I. 13:
He's set hame my drivers as drunk as pipers; there's no' ane o' them fit fair.
12. Abd. 1793 Strathbogie Presbytery MS. Records:
The drunken dominie of Botriphnie went to the shoemakers and got a footfang wherwith he thrashed the lads.
13. (a) Abd. 1707 Session Papers, Magistrates Abd. v. Fraser (14 Nov. 1843) 4:
The Custom of ilk Dozen of Foot Fails or Slaughter Lambs Skins two pennies.
(b)Inv. c.1726 Trans. Inv. Scient. Soc. I. 228:
20 dozen fitfoll [sic] lambs, 8 dozen morts ditto, 12 doz slachter kids.
14.Lth. 1788 Session Papers, Earl of Abercorn v. Jamieson (2 Jan.) 20:
He has heard foot-folks, and also people on horseback say, that it was a public road.
15. (a) Rxb. 1707 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1914) 24:
Nealling and mending the footgang and putting back the perpell in Bailies' loft.
Bnff. 1719 in Annals Bnff. (S.C.) I. 191:
These Trades refused the Weavers the liberty of their loft's “footgang,” so the Weavers now resolve to make “their entry on themselves.”
Kcd. 1774 Arbuthnott Session MS. Records (4 June):
5 Pews and a ffootgang, where the Communion Tables use to be set.
Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael I. 108:
I'll warran' she'll keep her ain side of the house; an' a fitgang on her half-marrow's.
(b) Slk. 1746 Sc. Journal (1848) II. 28:
Four beds; two fitgangs; three big chists.
16. Fif. 1707 E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 381:
The Counsell ordains a foot gar to be made at the officers seat in the Kirk for holding the carpet.
20. Sc. 1833 J. Cairnie Curling 45:
Another great advantage from the foot-iron, is, that it brings us more on a level with the ice.
Sc. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. Curling 376:
The majority of our clubs, however, are now supplied with an improved form of Cairnie's Foot-iron.
23. Abd. 1775 Abd. Journal (14 Aug.):
A Part of the Foot-Market of Barthol-fair has hitherto been held within the Church-yard of Kincardine O' Neal.
Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 121:
These are foot markets, standing on the public street, which is at that time crowded with merchants' stands, exposing for sale many different commodities.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xx.:
He had first visited the “nowt market” at the top of the brae; . . . then he had come down to the “fit market” and perambulated the same.
Kcd. 1900 “W. Gairdner” Glengoyne I. 89:
The movement and hum of the crowd of visitors in the “fit market” as they moved up and down between the two rows of “stands”.
Abd. 1950 Buchan Observer (25 July):
Hundreds of the market-goers walked miles, and if in quest of a “hairst fee,” were early on the “fit market” stance, a “shot” corn in button hole, or cap, as an indication of the wearers being open for engagement.
25. Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Farmer's Salut. xi.:
Thou was a noble Fittie-lan', As e'er in tug or tow was drawn!
Abd. 1858 J. B. Pratt Buchan 18:
The “Fit-o'-lan” was not considered a thoroughly trained ox until he lowered his neck when the ploughman called “Jouk!”
26. Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 36:
The “fit owsen” pair, which of course were nearest the plough.
27. Gall. 1881 J.K. Scott Gall. Gleanings 19:
Alang the fit-pad on the bank Whaur reeds an' grass were growin' rank.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Bog Myrtle ii. i.:
The auld man stood still in the middle of the fit-pad.
Lnk. 1926 W. Queen We're a' Coortin 76:
As we traivel ower the rough fitpads o' life. 1966 Scotland's Mag. (Feb.) 38:
The bed in the kitchen had curtains and a pelmet on the upper half; the lower part had a valance known as the "fitpan."
 29. Kcd. 1724 Urie Court Bk. (S.H.S.) 124:
No tennent . . . shall cast foot-peatis in the hill of Glithno.
Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 208:
As the digger stands upon the surface and presses in the peat-spade with his foot, such peat is designed foot-peat.
30. Dundee 1991 W. N. Herbert in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 178:
deep sang, dallowit frae thi dung-heich
oxtir o a warkin mithir oan
thi line in deean Timex, thi faithirs
lyk forkietailies craa atween
thi cemetaries, bairns' futprints seen
i thi croncit lyk skippan dinosaurs -
33. Sc. 1797 Session Papers, Balfour v. Kirkwall T.C. (21 Nov.) 11:
A servitude of a foot-road on the petitioner's property.
Dmf. 1874 “R. Wanlock” Moorland Rhymes 1:
And ilka bit fitroad was dreepin' And drookit wi' dew.
Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 87:
The brig across the water, the fit-road up the hill!
Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 50:
Gyaung in ower the dyke an' up the fit-roddie till ye come to the en' o't.
Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chronicle (10 Dec.):
Frae their ain fitroad end tae the right-o'-way.
Bnff. 1951:
To make a fit-road to a place is to visit it very frequently.
34. wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 302:
This grand fit-shaking, or Ball, as it was phrased, was proposed at a County Meeting.
35. Sc. 1720 Tinklarian Dr Mitchel's wonderful Petitions to his Majesty King George (Broadsheet):
They care not a Pudding for me, but I am fit-side with them, I care not a Prick for them.
Sc. 1753 Scots Mag. (July) 338:
He said twenty times over he would be fit-sides with Glenure, where-ever he met him.
37. Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 3:
Helms an' fitspars, skeeps an' clips, An' bits o' planks fae wrackit ships.
38. Rnf. 1715 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) F 44:
Boards band with iron, spinnel, and ryns, cloves, brig, fitstane, swurd, lifting-tree.
39. Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 222:
Now leave your Fitsted on the Dew.
Sc. a.1800 Merry Muses (1911) 95:
Ae bonie night, the starns were clear, An' frost beneath my fit-stead rang.
Sc.(E) 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xvii. 5:
Haud up my gates i' yer ain right roads, that my fitsteads gang-na a-gley.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 167:
we walk oor wey; fuitsteids forcean
 40. (a) Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 431:
I'll fell ye wi' a fit-stick.
(b) Gsw. 1899 Montgomerie-Fleming Notes on Jam. 49:
Foot-Stick . . . A narrow wooden bridge, probably originally applied to planks laid from stepping-stone to stepping-stone, but sometimes to a rough wooden bridge, about three feet wide, as “The Foot-Stick at the Three Tree Well, Kelvinside.”
Uls. 1905 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. XI. 122:
Footstick, futstick, a plank or portion of a tree laid across a stream or drain to enable people to cross.
42. Sh. 1898 Shetland News (30 July):
If ony o' you ir iver wir wye ye'll shurely come along ta see if we're still apo' da fitstöll.
Wgt. 1904 J. F. Cannon Recoll. Whithorn 116:
There's nane on the face o' the fitstuil without their share o' troubles.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 84:
Heth, tinks I, A'm still apo da fitstuul, an' brawly snug wi' a haet pig apo every side o' me.
44. (a) Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (14 April):
The harness was simple, a rope halter, a straw “wazy” or collar, wooden hems, and rope traces fastened to home-made “feetrees” completed the outfit.
(b) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (13 Nov.):
Hit's dee 'at's layin' da wheel in skroil. Dere, doo's shürely knappit da fit-tree.
Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. ii. 86:
Hand-loom weaving was hard work. The driving of the three treadles or “fit-trees” by foot and the guidance of the rapid oscillations of the shuttle by hand put a physical strain on the weaver which very few men could stand for more than ten hours a day.
47. ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 180:
When the full strain was felt one of the fit-yoke shirked the pull.

IV. v. 1. As in Eng., intr. to move or place the feet; tr. to tread. Sc. phrs.: (1) to fit fair, in curling, to take up one's position for delivering the shot at the proper distance from the far tee. Gen.Sc.; (2) to fit the floor (fleer), to dance, obs. in Eng. (Sh., Abd., Ayr. 1951). Vbl.n. footing, a small informal dance, a 'hop'.(1) Dmf. 1830 R. Broun Mem. Curl. Mab. 106:
Fit fair and rink straight.
Sc. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. Curling 400:
Fit fair is the first command of the old curler's word. . . . There must be no dubiety about his fitting the tee. The player must see that the crampit or hack is placed as directed.
(2) Sc. 1791 Lochmaben Harper in Child Ballads No. 192 A ix:
And ay he harpit, and ay he carpit, Till a' the lords had fitted the floor.
Bte. 1797 Session Papers, Petition P. Fisher (17 Feb.) 5:
It had been the custom, under the former management, to give the workers in the mill two dances annually; besides which, they made many other parties of that sort for themselves, which they called footings, by gathering up for that purpose small contributions, which new-comers and apprentices paid at entry to the mill.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 53:
For weel oor lads an' lasses kent The gait to fit the fleer.
Nai. 1927 G. Bain Dauvid Main 36:
He'll play the fiddle and fut the floor at the same time for a shilling.

2. To kick, of horses (Ags. 1808 Jam.), used generally (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.; Dmf. 1951). Obs. in Eng. except dial. Hence phr. a footing horse, a kicker (Sc. 1825 Jam.).

3. To set anything up on end, specif.: (1) of peats, to dry by leaning one against the other in small piles (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 204; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr.4 1928; Ags., Arg., Kcb., Dmf., Uls. 1951). Vbl.n. fittin, the setting up of peats to dry (Ib.); a peat so dried (Teviotdale 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Mry.1 1925). Hence bourack-fittit, of peats, set up to dry in this manner (Gall.3 1942). Cf. Boorach, n.; (2) of filled sacks, so that they can be easily lifted on to the shoulders of the one who is to carry them (Abd.27 1952); (3) to raise a boat's mast into position.(1) Dmf. 1777 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (29 July):
Last Saturday evening, a woman who lives at Carruchan near this place, went out to the moss to foot peats.
em.Sc. 1794 W. Marshall Agric. Cent. Highl. 66:
Intolerably bad roads, on the faces of the steeps; up which each family has to climb, repeatedly, to “cast,” or cut out, and to “fet,” or dry, his peats.
Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 209:
When the peats have become so hardened by the drought that they will stand on end, they are placed on end three or four together, and leaning against each other; this is called footing the peats.
Peb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 III. 53:
All the expense of “fitting” and “turn-fitting.”
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
When turfs or peats are “put out”, they are left for some time to dry; as soon as they can be handled they are put into “footins” or “futtins” i.e. about four peats are placed on end, the upper ends leaning against each other.
Inv.1 1953:
In Badenoch, from 1890 onwards, the first operation in peat-curing was known as fitting or footing the peats.
(3)Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description (1891) 224:
Fit da mast and swift da sail.

4. To add up and set the sum at the foot of (an account); to reckon, total up. Sc. law phr.: fitted account, see 1914 quot.Ags. 1704 MS. per Fif.1:
The above written acompt is fitted and cleared.
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 86:
Did you ever fit accounts with him?
Inv. 1771 I. F. Grant Highland Farm (1924) 192:
Ane accott. of Money and rent due by the Smith after footing accounts with him.
Sc. 1874 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report IV. 518:
The fitted abstract of the accounts . . . is as follows.
Sc. 1914 W. M. Gloag Law of Contract 849:
Fitted accounts, i.e. accounts between parties who have had business transactions, rendered by one party and docqueted as correct by the other without any express discharge.

[O.Sc. has fute, 1375, fit, 1535, foot, futtis, feet in measurement, 1456, fute, to add up, 1491, fute eitch, 1615, fute fell, 1435, futegang, plank flooring, 1584, footstool, 1566, fittick, 1576, fute rode, c.1500, fitt-solme [soam], 1661, fit syde, in sense III. 35., 1609, fut-stede, 1513.]

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"Fit n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2024 <>



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