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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KIT, n.1, v. Also kitt, kite; kjit (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Sc. forms and usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng., a vessel, gen. of wood, a tub or circular box, esp. for holding fish, butter, etc.; “a wooden vessel or pail in which dishes are washed” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); a shoemaker's tub for steeping sole-leather (Kcb.10 1941); “a wooden stoup” (Kcb.4 1900). Gen.Sc., obsol. For phr. hatted kitt, see Hat. Dim. kittie, -y, a small tub (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.; Slg. 1960), a small bowl (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Abd. 1960, “e.g. in a till”); fig. the hollow at marbles (Bnff. 1948).Sc. 1705 J. Spreull Accompt Current (1882) 34:
Kitts of white Iron, Iron and Copper-wyre.
Abd. 1731 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 7:
Four butter kites valu'd at four shillings ster.
Ork. 1747 in P. Ork. A.S. XII. 52:
2 litle noraway Kitts with covers.
Sc. 1761 Edb. Mag. or Lit. Misc. (1788) VII. 243:
The fish-cooper selects some of his best fish for kits and half-kits, as presents, or, as we call them, token kits.
Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 146:
Kate wha was drapping in an egg 'mang water in a kitty.
Sc. 1791 P. White Fisheries 20:
Boiled salmon is . . . sent . . . to the London market . . . packed in small tubs called kitts.
Gall. 1822 R. Trotter Lowran Castle 102:
The Water-kitts, which sat in the trance, were instantly overthrown, and in the rolling flood nearly carried away the aged lady of the mansion, with the box-bed where she lay.
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. xxxv.:
His comrades would cry “poor fellow!” and let him eat out of their kit.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch vii.:
The cat and kittling were playing with a mouse they had catched in the meal-kit.
Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) K 33:
Kit: — A small barrel or cask for butter, wig, whey, sour milk, etc. It is made of various sizes, but of one shape, broad at bottom and narrow at the top, covered with a wooden lid, fastened down with a peg or a clug. On the upper side is a handle to carry it by.
Ags. 1880 A. M. Soutar Hearth Rhymes 64:
For containin' my butter I had a sma' kit.
Bwk. 1905 R. Gibson Old Bwk. Town 221:
The trade consisted in the making of wooden bowies . . . kits . . . and such like.
Sh. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vii 272:
Shu's ay demblin idda blaand bit shu's no gotton smoren frae dat kit.

Sc. combs.: (1) breid-kit, a fisherman's box for carrying rations at sea (Cai., Kcd. 1960); (2) kit boat, a boat used in a harbour for the transport of boxes of fish (Mry. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XIII. 57); (3) shop-kit(t), a water-tub used in a shoemaker's shop for steeping leather.(3) Edb. 1788 G. Wilson Masonic Songs 95:
No more I use Black-ball nor Rosin, My Copras and my Shop-kit's frozen.
Edb. 1816 W. Glass Songs of Edina 46:
For love and truth are sacred ties, Let spleen be in the shop-kitt drown'd.

2. A kitful, a fair amount of anything, esp. food (Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 13, Rxb. 1960).Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 188:
During the season the crew of a haf boat had three feasts, viz: the Doon-drawin' at Beltane, the Johnsmas at Midsummer, when they supped the “milgruel kits”, and the Foy at Lammas, when the fishing closed.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A kit o' brose, porritch, etc.

3. In pl.: a latrine, “the name given to the public jakes at the Grammar School” (Abd. 1825 Jam., Abd. 1900).

II. v. To place or pack in a kit. Ppl.adj. kitted, -et, in phr. kitted whey, whey in a dish, eaten as a delicacy. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. v. ii.:
To leave his Ram-horn Spoons, and kitted Whey, For gentler Tea, that smells like new won Hay.
Abd. 1758 Abd. Journal (19 Sept.):
Some gentlemen have taken one of the boiling houses, where coopers, &c. are hard at work boiling and kitting a great number of the said fish [mackerel], in the same manner as salmon.
Per. 1802 S. Kerr Poems 71:
Or feast on country curds an' cream, Or kittet whey, daintiths to them.
Cai. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 45:
The salmon are kitted in the usual way and sent to London.

[O.Sc. kyt, a kind of pail, tub, 1375; Mid. Du. kitte, wooden vessel made of hooped staves, Du. kit, a tankard, pitcher, coal-pail, water-bucket.]

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"Kit n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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