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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

KNOTLESS, adj. Sc. usage: aimless, futile, ineffective (Lth., Bwk. 1960). This meaning arises from the fig. phr. a knotless threid, a thread that has no knot and tends to slip through the needle, hence esp. in similes of some person or thing that is useless, purposeless or unserviceable. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 112:
'Tis true, I winna say but I'll get blame, That like a knotless threed sae came frae hame.
Ayr. 1790 Burns My Tocher's the Jewel ii.:
Ye'll slip frae me like a knotless thread, An' ye'll crack ye're credit wi' mair nor me.
Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Dec.) 711:
“The weaving of rope-sands”, an allegorical expression, no doubt, to designate the manufacture of threadbare, knotless, endless, useless mysteries, tragedies, and dramas.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize lv.:
“I hope, Mr Witherspoon,” said she, “that we're no to part in sic a knotless manner.”
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin iv.:
The appearance o' the needle was ower sair a sicht for her e'en to thole. Awa to the door she slippit like a knotless threed.
Dmf. 1894 R. Reid Rhymes 79:
A line in its kintra's memory bricht En't like a knotless threid i' the nicht.
Ags. 1942 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 455:
Sandy Graeme sang no longer. “Juist a knotless threid,” said old Geordie Brown to Jess, as they watched her father wandering along the hedge-side of one of his fields.
s.Sc. 1945 L. Derwent Tammy Troot 25:
Stop caperin' aboot like a knotless thread.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 54:
Come from the elegance and sophistication of the French court, Mary was like a knotless silken thread in the rough fabric of Scots society.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 13:
In this unennin flit
atween bieldless places,
in this ennless rammy
o ferfochen faces,
a knotless threid
like a fushonless fantasie
cannae thegither onythin jyne.
ne.Sc. 2004 Elphinstone Kist ( :
Bit he wes lik a knotless threid i the kitchenette. Nae use at aa. A yased tae think that ma grampa didna ken whaar the kitchenette wes.

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"Knotless adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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