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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KITCHEN, n., v. Also kitshen, kitchin(g), kitcheen; ketchin (Sh. 1899 Shetland News (22 April)), keetchin (Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9), keetshin. [′kɪtʃɪn, ′kɛt-, Sh., Rxb. + ′kit-]

I. n. 1. Sc. form of Eng. kitchen.Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 90:
"Cheust so. Did thoo see Chenet pickin' up the letter?"
"Whit wey could I see her? I wur in the kitcheen."

Combs.: (1) kitchen-fee, kitcheen-fei, roast fat, dripping, formerly the perquisite of the cook in a large establishment, who was allowed to sell it and keep the proceeds (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Fif., m.Lth., Rnf., Slk. 1960). Cf. Fee, n.1 Obs. in Eng.; †(2) kitchen work, kitchen utensils.(1) Sc. 1759 E. Cleland Cookery 122:
To make Apple Fritters . . . Any Kitchen-fee that is sweet and clean will fry them.
m.Lth. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 43:
An ounce of tea, some kitchen fee.
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. ii.:
A wee bit of the diet-loaf, raised wi' my ain fresh butter . . . and no wi' greasy kitchen-fee.
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 46:
A bit o' roast drippin', ca'd then kitchen fee.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxx.:
“What's this great parade of candles?” . . . “We're rendering the very kitchen-fee.”
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 13:
Kitcheen-fei was especially used when “stoavin taatihs.”
(2) Edb. 1726 Edb. Ev. Courant (1–2 Aug.):
Several other sorts of Houshold Furniture, such as Tables, Chairs, Glasses, Sconces, Beds and Bed-cloaths, with several Kitchen work.

2. Anything eaten or drunk along with plain food such as bread or potatoes, to give a relish or savour (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 692; Lth. 1825 Jam.; Slk.1 1929; Uls. 1953 Traynor), an appetiser, a condiment; in later usage, something savoury for tea, the cooked dish in high tea. Also attrib. and fig. Gen. (exc. n.)Sc. Found in n.Eng. dial. See also Kitchie, n., 2.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 127:
Whatever [we] eat with Bread, or take to make course Meat go down, we call Kitchin, as Butter to Bread, and Milk to stir about, etc.
Edb. 1731 Bk. Old Edb. Club XVII. 71:
[Pottage] to which adding twenty four half mutchkins Two penny ale which is reckoned sufficient kitchin for breakfast to said 24 Persons at ¼d per half-mutchkin.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 130:
The cats like kitchen; The dogs like broo.
Mry. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 401:
The cottagers and poorer sort of the people have not always what is called kitchen, that is, milk or beer, to their meals.
Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 203:
When there was no flesh, kitchen of one kind or other was given after the kail — that is, either butter, cheese, eggs, herrings, and sometimes raw onions, which were annually imported from Flanders.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate xi.:
A hungry heart wad scarce seek better kitchen to a barley scone, than just to waft it in the reek that's rising out of yon lums.
Sc. 1831 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 293:
Catchup's gran kitchen for a' kinds o' flesh, fish, and fule.
Uls. 1875 D. Herbison Children of Year 134:
When Hawkie's dry, And every ither kitchen's dear.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 55:
Permitting no malt liquor in their families but merely as kitchen (that is as a nourishing and palatable addition) to bread or dry food where milk cannot be had.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 129:
A aire o' lempit breu — For kitchen wi' reuthy breid to deu.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders ii.:
The content to be doing wi' little, an the saving salt o' honour to be kitchen to your piece.
Sh. 1914 Old-Lore Misc. VII. ii. 72:
K'nockit corn (groats) was boiled with kail and a morsel of pork as “keetchin”.
Rnf. 1927 J. H. Bone Loud-speaker 28:
We'll hae a bit kitchen fur supper.
Ags. 1930 A. Kennedy Orra Boughs ii.:
A tea with ham and eggs for “kitchen”.
Sc. 1935 Victor McClure Scotland's Inner Man 179:
With the work-a-day people, to whom a light and casual repast was of little use, and who could not get home until work was done, the tea meal had to be of a sustaining nature. It was accompanied by some sort of "kitchen," which is Scots for relish or garniture. And so was instituted the "high tea."

Hence kitchenless, lacking anything that will give a relish or savour (Fif. 1895 G. Setoun Sunshine and Haar 143; Sh. 1960).Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 206:
“I coft a sheepie's head, my winsome, Winsome lady.” “'Twas a sign ye warna kitchenless.”
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 205:
It was indeed hard for a mother to set her bairns round a “kitchenless” pot, hence the least seasoning was matter of thankfulness.

Comb. kitchen-buckie, the shell, Buccinum undatum, occas. used as food (Ags. c.1925). Cf. Kitchener.

3. Fig. Perquisites of food, esp. those given to farm-servants and female servants (Sc. 1887 Jam., Add.; Lnk. 1890; Slg., Gall. 1942), a money-allowance given in lieu of such perquisites. Comb.: †kitchen-money, id.Sc. 1750 Atholl MSS.:
A Cows Grass or a Shilling per week throw all the year (for Kitchin or for Milk).
Fif. 1794 R. Beatson Agric. Fife 16:
A ploughman or carter has per annum, from £6 to £8 Sterling, six and a half bolls of oat-meal, 6d. per week for sap or kitchen money.
Lth. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 I. 218:
Kitchen is an allowance instead of milk, butter, small beer, and some articles of less value.
Knr. 1814 P. Graham Agric. Knr. 140:
When the servants are married, and reside in their own houses, they receive . . . 30s. per annum for what is called kitchen, with sometimes a few coals driven.
Peb. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 III. 141:
Victuals in the house, or living meal and kitchen money yearly.

4. A tea-urn (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 49), gen. in comb. tea-kitchen. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (3 Feb.):
Hand candlesticks, tea kitchens and plate warmers.
Abd. 1778 Aberdeen Jnl. (4 May):
Tea Kitchens and Coffee Pots. and other Japanned Goods.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxvi.:
Before the kitchen, anglice tea-urn. was brought in.

II. v. 1. To give a relish or flavour to, to season (Dmf.3 c.1920; Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 68; Fif.10 1942; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Abd., Ags., Per., Gall., s.Sc. 1960). See also Kitchie, v.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 244:
For me I can be well content To eat my Bannock on the Bent, And kitchen't wi' fresh Air.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Scotch Drink vii.:
His wee drap parritch, or his bread, Thou kitchens fine.
Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (July) 379:
Here's some ewe milk cheese . . . fatter or feller never kitchened an honest man's cake.
Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 593:
Plentie o' spaarls ta keetshin dee grual.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 67:
Crack aicht fresh eggs intill a crock, Wi fine sma saut to kitchin.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 35:
At lenth, the man keekt at the fyre,
said, "Jean, whit's that ye're daein thare?"
"I'm roastin a wee bit cheese," s'she,
"tae kitchen Jamie's piece an tea.
It's no that muckle, as ye see!"
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen Seventeen Poems 6:
Kitchened mince collops
Wi doughbaws, and the breid
Soakit and sappy
In wattery gravy.

2. To make (something) go far or spin out, to be economical with, to use sparingly as kitchen (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; m.Dmf. c.1920; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., s.Sc. 1960). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 228:
Kitchin well is come to the Town. Spoken by Mothers to their Children, when they would have them spare what they give them to their Bread; for they have no more to give them.
Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 252:
When the king and his courtiers were retiring to sit down to their wine, and their feasts o' fat things, and his poor half-hungered soldiers to kitchen out a broken biscuit, or a piece o' bare bannock.
Slk. 1960:
Ye maun kitchen your meat tae your brose, i.e. cut your coat according to your cloth.

[O.Sc. keching, a.1428, kechyne, 1400, kitchen, an allowance of kitchen food given as provisions; something taken as a relish with plainer food, c.1577; kechenfee, 1494, dripping.]

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"Kitchen n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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