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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LIFT, v., n.2 Also luft (Sc. 1932 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 370;  Ags., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s). Pa.p. liftit; ¶lift (Dmf. 1902 A. E. Maxwell Lilts 21).

Sc. form of Eng. lift. Gsw. 1985 Stephen Mulrine in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 28:
An some aul cronie'll luft her heid,
Noddin away owre her purl an plain,
An cry oan hivven tae bless ma name

Sc. usages:I. v. 1. Specif. applications of Eng. sense of to raise in the hands or otherwise: (1) to take or pick up (an object) from where it lies. Gen.Sc.; in Golf: to take up the ball; to raise (one's hat). Gen.Sc.; in knitting: to pick up stitches (ne.Sc. 1960); in hunting: to cause the scent of a quarry to disperse.Sc. 1782 J. McKerrow Hist. Secession (1839) I. 424:
The taking or the lifting up of a part of the bread and wine, with a laying or setting of the same down again, before consecration.
Abd. 1815 C. Smith Abd. Golfers (1909) 26:
The player shall at all times have it in his power to lift his ball from a hazard upon losing a stroke.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. vii.:
He knitted hose as he went … lifting a loop, or casting the back seam.
Ayr. 1830 Galt Lawrie Todd vii. ii.:
I happened … to lift a newspaper.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 260:
If you find an ill baubee Lift it up, and gie't to me!
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 41:
I lifted a pin from the carpet. He lifted his hat.
Sc. 1887 Golfing (Chambers) 14:
A ball must, with certain exceptions, be played (not lifted) from wherever it lies.
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 101:
Whaur's my purse? Did ye lift it?
Abd. 1919 T.S.D.C. s.v. Littles:
The stitches on each side of the heel of a stocking called lap-loops when you lift them.
Sc. 1929 St. Andrews Cit. (16 March) 7:
Fife Foxhounds had three poor days last week. Although the weather was good, the bright, warm sunshine “lifted” scent.

Derivs.: (a) lifter, one who or that which lifts: (i) a latch-key; (ii) a ladle, bowl, a baling scoop (Ags. 1960). Hence lufterfu, a ladleful; (iii) in the Secession Church: one of a group of members who approved of the practice of the minister raising the communion elements before consecrating them, a controversial matter in North Ayrshire in 1782–4. The opponents of this were denominated non-lifters, whose objection probably arose from associating the procedure with the Roman Catholic practice of elevating the host (see quots. and cf. 1782 quot. above). Hist.; (iv) of a horse: see quot.; (b) lifting, in the game of cat's cradle: the act of drawing the string by one player from the fingers of the other so as to form a figure; the figure so produced; (c) comb. lifting-tree, a wooden lever for raising or lowering a millstone to control the fineness of the grinding (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) L 63). Cf. Lowder and Lichten, v.2, 1.(a) (i) Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Bon-Accord 184:
The servant lasses Ilk wi' her lifter on her thoom.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 218:
But haud by the lamp, an' tak care what ye're after, An' dinna forget hoo tae thraw wi' the lifter.
(ii) Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 28:
A' he got wis a lufter-fu' o' cauld water.
(iii) Ayr. 1782 Stat. Acc.2 (1845) V. 773:
They were divided into two parties denominated the lifters and the non-lifters, the latter contending that the elements should not be taken up in the hands of the minister, till he was about to distribute the bread and the wine set apart by prayer.
Sc. 1959 J. M. Reid Scotland 79:
The first Secession divided itself into Burghers and Anti-burghers, New Lichts and Auld Lichts, Lifters and Anti-Lifters.
(iv) Ork., Cai. 1960:
A high-stepping horse was “a bonnie lifter” or “a geed lifter” with the implication that the clean lifting of the fore-feet particularly was the mark of good style.
(b) Kcb. 1910 Crockett Dew of their Youth xxxiv.:
Show me some more cats' cradles. I know two more “liftings” already than any boy in the school.
(c)Rnf. 1715 Brigend Papers MSS. 26:
Lifting tree, Sword, Cloves, bridg, and foot stone with the Meal Syl all sufficient.

(2) In imper. as a call to a horse: see quot. (Kcb. 1960).Sc. 1856 N. & Q. (Ser. 2) I. 395:
Lift is used when a horse is desired to lift his foot from any object upon which he may have set his foot.

(3) Of mud, etc.: to adhere to the boots as one walks (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Hence liftie, of mud: sticky in consistency, adhesive, easily taken up by the boots (Rxb. 1825 Jam., “a low word,” 1923 Watson W.-B.).Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
A haiggle on alang streets … clairty wui lifty glaar.

(4) To serve (a dish at table) (Mry., Abd., Ags., m.Lth. 1960).Sc. 1942 Scots Mag. (June) 189:
“The soup's lifted, sir,” she said respectfully.

(5) Phrs.: (i) as fast as or what legs can lift, as fast as one can run, at full speed (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Gall. 1960); (ii) to lift and lay, (a) to pick things up and lay them down again, in an absent-minded or muddling, unmethodical manner (m.Lth., Gsw., Uls. 1960); (b) to use (a person) unscrupulously, exploit; (iii) to lift one's hand (to), to deal a blow (on), to strike; to cuff (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.). Gen.Sc.; (iv) to lift one's mouth, to cause or attempt to eat, to give or take (by way of nourishment) (Sh. 1960). Vbl.n. a liftin o' the mouth, a bite to eat (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).(i) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 56:
Colen an' Lindy now are cut an' dry, What legs could lift, their wish't escape to try.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 65:
Aff we flaw As faist as legs could lift.
(ii) (a) Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
Lift it and lay it like the lugs of a laverock.
(b) Lnk. 1960:
Dinna you dae oniething for him. He wad juist lift an lay you.
(iii) Sc. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. II. 336:
It is customary in Scotland, when a child happens to strike, or, as the phrase is, to lift its hand to a parent, to say, “weel weel, ma man, your hand'll wag abune the grave for that.”
s.Sc. c.1830 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 80:
Another punishment for … “lifting a hand to a woman,” was placing the culprit upon a long piece of wood, so that one of his legs came down on each side of it.
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 58:
“I never lifted a hand” (I did not strike a single blow).
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xviii.:
Lift a hand till her, an' I'll ca' the chafts o' ye by ither.
(iv) Sh. 1879 Shetland Times (3 May):
Doo maun try an' lift dy mooth wi' sontin'. Doo's mebbe gaein' fantin' a' day.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (10 Feb.):
Ivery annamil 'ill need da liftin o' a mooth wi' dis … der no a paek at ony annamil can git.
Sh. 1951 New Shetlander No. 29. 15:
Wid du laek suntin ta lift dee mooth, Berrie?

(6) To take up out of or off the ground, as a crop of corn, potatoes, etc. (Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 41). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.; to gather scythed corn into a sheaf for binding (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., ne.Sc., Per., Fif., sm.Sc., Uls. 1960); to exhume (a corpse).Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 395:
Potatoes indicate their fitness for being lifted by the decay of the haulms.
Fif. 1876 A. Laing Lindores Abbey 309:
He went and searched the ground after the crop was lifted.
Sc. 1883 Stevenson Treasure Island i.:
There is still treasure not yet lifted.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Keckleton 84:
The corp o' Ettles hadna been liftit Matthew havin, maist likely come upon the resurrectionists in the act o' openin' the graif.
Per. 1897 R. M. Fergusson Village Poet 50:
Brintie was the scythman, an' you lifted while I wis bandster.
Abd. 1958 Huntly Express (30 May) 2:
Assisting the crofter there to lift his potatoes.
sm.Sc. 1979 Alan Temperley Tales of Galloway (1986) 147:
It was a late autumn morning. On the hillside above his cottage at Buittle an aging cottar was lifting potatoes.

Hence (i) phr. at lift and lay wi, at the same stage (of a task) as, neck and neck with, keeping pace with, a metaphor from harvest work (Cai. 1960); (ii) lifter, the harvester who follows the scytheman and makes the sheaves for binding (Kcb.1 1928; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., ne.Sc., em.Sc., Ayr., sm.Sc., Uls. 1960); a potato-gatherer; one who gathers peats from the bank after they have been cut. See also Tattie; (iii) liftin-pin, a hand-implement like a sickle, used for gathering together enough scythed corn to form a sheaf (Bwk. 1960).(i) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 227:
Fou are ye on wee yir wark? A'm jist lift an' lay wee ma neibours.
(ii) Hdg. 1873 Trans. Highl. Soc. 37:
The above number of five lifters and five binders is most usual.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 114:
Cutters, and lifters, and bandsters and bairns.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 95:
I'se wad, I gart the lifters streek their stumps, An' yerk it, as I swankit doon the swaith.
Bnff. 1959 Banffshire Jnl. (6 Oct.) 1:
The potato lifters, who had been working at a field at the Home Farm.
Cai. 1963 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. Mag. 30:
A peit squad consisted of a cutter, lifter and two scalers.

(7) To plough, break up ground (Ayr. 1825 Jam., “an old word”).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 325:
Ploughmen talk about the lifting of a tuich lye.

(8) To raise a farm animal to its feet (in spring) after it had become weakened by scanty fare in winter or illness, freq. in phrs. A-liftin (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1960), apo liftin (I.Sc. 1960), at the liftin, i(n) liftin (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 105), in a very debilitated state, “applied to either man or beast” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also ppl.adj. liftin, used pass. = at the liftin stage, needing to be helped up, weak and emaciated. Now only hist.Dmf. 1812 J. Singer Agric. Dmf. 220:
When the crop is done they can hardly be got to eat dry food of the ordinary kinds allowed them; and then it happens, frequently, that they become quite lean, almost “at the lifting,” as the farmers say.
Bte. 1837 Trans. Highl. Soc. 147:
Numbers of cattle, and even some horses died annually; and those that survived were generally in spring in that state of starvation provincially termed “lifting.”
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 135:
The coo i' liftin' i' the byre.
Sc. 1899 H. G. Graham Social Life I. 155:
Cattle at the time of their return to the pasture, after the long confinement and starving of winter, were mere skeletons, and required to be lifted on their legs when put into the grass, where they could barely totter. This period and this annual operation, when all neighbours were summoned to carry and support the poor beasts, were known as the “Lifting.”
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (13 May):
As fir wir flekkid whaik, pairt wi' puirta an' waarbiks, shü's oot o' liftin'.
Uls. a.1908 Traynor (1953):
Better kicking than lifting — proverb in Donegal.
Sh.4 1928:
Da coo was in lifteen. A lifteen coo.
Bnff.2 1945:
Ye'll need tae try the fite coo wi a suppie gruel or something; she's jist gaun a-liftin.

(9) To carry (a corpse) out for burial, to start the funeral procession (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 316; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Also absol. and pass. Vbl.n. liftin. Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1707 Atholl MSS. (28 April):
She is to be carried from this to Alloa without halting which will oblige them to lift about nine a clock.
Sc. 1727 J. Burnett Crim. Law (1811) 529:
We find it stated and insisted in, as a strong circumstance of suspicion against him, that he had refused to go to the lifting of the corpse.
Sc. c.1750 Memoirs D. Forbes (Duff 1815) 12:
They had neglected to give orders for lifting of the corps, that is the phrase used in Scotland, for carrying them off.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf xiii.:
We seem to be met at a funeral … Ellieslaw, when do you lift?
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
This use of the v. originates from the solemn ceremony, performed in some parts of the country, of the nearest relations of the deceased, with their heads uncovered, lifting the coffin in which the corpse is contained, and placing it in the hearse.
Kcb. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 126:
When the hour for the lifting arrived.
Lth. 1882 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny x.:
The wife, puir bodie, canna bear to lat her wee Tammie be “liftit” without a bit word o' prayer.
Ags. 1886 Brechin Advert. (20 July) 3:
The minister … was offerin' up the “liftin' prayer.”
Gsw. 1904 “H. Foulis” Erchie iv.:
Whit wad ye like? — Flags maybe? Or champagne wine at the liftin'? Or maybe wreaths o' floo'ers?
Abd. 1913 J. Allardyce Byegone Days 6:
It was customary at funerals not only to supply liquor, but also pipes, tobacco, cakes, and cheese. An hour or more before the time appointed for “lifting,” the people gathered in the barn usually, and spent the time in smoking, eating, and drinking alternately. It was quite common in some parishes to ask people to come to a funeral at ten o'clock in the forenoon, although the corpse was not “lifted” until the middle of the afternoon.
Dmf.2 1917:
What time does the corpse lift? = when is the funeral?
Arg. 1947 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 126:
They got a better morning for Evan Ban's funeral. The sun shone at the lifting and made it cheerier on the road.

(10) Fig. to raise (a sound): (i) to strike up a tune (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Lth., Bwk. 1960). Also in Eng. dial.Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 16:
He has a tune for ilka Psalm. “St Paul's” or “University” Wi' equal ease is lifted.
Hebr. 2000 Herald 1 Feb 17:
In recent years the adherents of the Highland churches have had their fill, and more than their fill, of the wine of astonishment. But the work continues: the Gospel is still preached, the Psalm still lifted.

(ii) To mention, to utter (Sh., Per., Lth., Bwk., wm.Sc., Gall. 1960), esp. a person's name.Abd. 1895 J. M. Cobban Andaman vi.:
We'll lift naething we hear.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle iii. ii.:
Has she put a spell on you, that you're feared even to lift her name?
m.Sc. 1946 R. G. Nettell Rum and Green Ginger i.:
No character was safe from that tongue, . . . God help you when he lifted your name.
Ayr. 1960:
I didna start the story. I never even lifted her name. He's never lifted the subject to me.

(11) In Curling, with up: to strike away the stone(s) guarding the tee with one's own stone (Kcb. 1960).Sc. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. Curling 404:
Often have we seen the sole of our president's stone over his head when he had to lift up double guards.

(12) In Weaving: to raise the heddles of the loom (s.Sc. 1960).Kcb. 1910 Crockett Dew of their Youth xxxiv.:
As he “lifted” and wove, changing the pattern indefinitely.

†(13) To walk up and over, climb, ascend, surmount.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 158:
I had lifted Gilronnie brae.

(14) To take (a lady) up to dance, lead to the floor (Cai., m. and s.Sc. 1960).Fif. 1882 S. Tytler Sc. Marriages I. vi.:
There were reels forming on the floor, and she could not refuse to let herself be “lifted” to take the first turn.

2. Fig. To raise the spirits, to cheer, elate, to puff up. Freq. in pa.p. liftit (up), cheered up, in high spirits (Abd. 1880 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Lth., Bwk., Uls. 1960); vain, haughty.Ayr. 1786 Burns Willie Chalmers iv.:
Some mim' mou'd pouther'd priestie, Fu' lifted up wi' Hebrew lore.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 43:
For years I've scarce sae lifted been.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxix.:
Tam Meerison and his wife were “liftit” in no ordinary degree, at the prospect of Tam getting back to Gushetneuk.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xix.:
She sat devourin' him wi' her een, she was so lifted up at ha'en 'im again.
Sh. 1896 J. Burgess Lowra Biglan 41:
Shö's a prood, liftit thing.
Mry. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (25 Sept.) 3:
Fouk were fair liftet wi' “The Plains o' Waterloo”.

3. (1) To cause to get up or rise, to put a person on his feet, arouse, stir.Rs. 1914:
Keep me, cuttie, at's luftit thee this time o' day?

(2) Used intr. with refl. force: (i) to rise, to get up, stand up and move off, to depart (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Abd. 1960). In Sh. also refl.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 30:
I'll lift tho', and gae wa intae auld chaumer.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan I. 283:
The company began to lift, and the room to get thinner and thinner.
Bch. c.1859 The Gateway VI. 11:
After another small job near by, we “lifted” and trudged to Glendronach distillery.
Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (10 April) 418:
“Losh, callant, we maun be thinkin' aboot liftin' sune,” cried the Laird, when it chappit twal.
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 83:
Lads, as we had been, cam' in, Just lifted from their play.
Fif. 1896 G. Setoun R. Urquhart xviii.:
The whole toun liftet to see him.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (19 Sept.):
In gaed the sinn an' up they [butterflies] liftit in a clood.
Sh. 1960:
You're no gyaan ta lift you yet. You hae nae hurry.

(ii) Of the breast: to heave, as in serious illness or when there is other difficulty in breathing (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., m.Lth., Ayr., Rxb. 1960). Also of animals (m.Lth. 1960).

(iii) Of the sea: to begin to rise, to swell (Sh. 1960).Sh. 1952 New Shetlander No. 3127:
It was blowin a gale an da sea wis liftin in sheets.

4. (1) To collect and carry away, to take up and convey goods or persons, to drive animals to market (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1960); to remove, revoke, rescind.Rxb. 1764 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. (1916) 5:
He saw that wood that was lying on the south side of the Woolaw-knowes as they passed, was lifted and carried to the Nolt-lair-rig.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1866) 281:
If you look low, you will lift little.
Kcb. 1840 Edb. Ev. Courant (19 Sept.):
We anticipate rather dull sales now, for a week or two, until the St Faith's droves are lifted.
Dmb. 1869 St. Andrews Gazette (4 Sept.):
They proceeded to the session-clerk's office and demanded the “cries” to be “lifted” forthwith.
Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 70:
It'll be a quate merriage, Maister Simpson, fan yer till lift no' company on 'e road.
Arg.1 1930:
A husband, at midnight or thereabouts, is on his way to escort his wife home from a ladies' party: a friend meets him: “Where are you fur at this hour of the night?” “Oh, I'm just going to lift the wife.”
Fif. 1936 St. Andrews Cit. (6 June) 9:
Normally, [the milk] was lifted in the mornings, but in Fife, owing to the scattered nature of the farms, it was later before it was lifted.

Specif. of a sheep-dog: to round up sheep and move them forward (Ork., Fif., Kcb. 1960).Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (12 Aug.) 2:
This bitch started well, … Her haulding, lifting, and penning were good, her bringing and driving very fair.
Rxb. 1924 Ib. (15 Aug.) 4:
The points dropped being for a slight fault in “lifting” the sheep.

(2) To take up, accept and pay (a bill of exchange).Sc. 1814 Hogg in T. Moore Life of Byron (1851) 259:
Hogg … speaking of his bookseller, whom he denominates the “shabbiest” of the trade, for not “lifting his bills.”

(3) To call (a minister) to a new charge, to “translate”.Lnk. 1858 G. Roy Generalship 158:
He had accepted a call from a wee country Kirk from which he was never lifted.
m.Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 57:
He was a placed minister at Dremside, but they lifted him no' very long syne.

(4) To collect money, etc., to gather, to make a list, to take a collection (Uls. 1902 E.D.D.). Gen.Sc. Comb. lifting-brod, a plate or platter for taking a church collection, a Ladle.Mry. 1703 Elgin Kirk-Session Rec. (Cramond 1897) 321:
Paid to James Russell and James Watsone £6 Sc. for going through the paroch lifting the people's names and calling them in to the examination.
Gall. 1719 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 330:
As to the method of lifting it is thought fit that it be at the Church upon a Sabbath or 2 at the end of each quarter, the first collection being to be at the end of the Summer quarter.
Rxb. 1725 J. J. Vernon Hawick (1900) 210:
For making the lifting brod &c., in the bailies' loft … 18s. 0d.
Gsw. 1737 P. B. McNab Hist. Incorp. Gardeners Gsw. (1903) 288–9:
By cash spent at lifting the feu-dutys … 15s. By cash spent at lifting of Barrowfield's money … £1.
Sc. 1751 Caled. Mercury (2 Sept.):
A sober young Man, qualified for grieving a Farm, and lifting Rents.
Ayr. 1886 A. Edgar Old Church Life II. 16:
Forty years ago the collection was every Sunday lifted in ladles, which were carried through the church after the last Psalm had been sung.
Knr. 1895 H. Haliburton Dunbar 93:
To pass amang the brethren of the dale, … An' lift an antern awmous as they could.
Uls. 1904 Vict. Coll. Mag. 47:
Instead of saying: “Is this the place where they collect the tickets?” the Ulsterman puts it: “Is it here they lift the tickets?”
Gsw. 1935 McArthur & Long No Mean City 53:
“Lifting lines” — or acting as a runner — to a bookmaker in Bridgeton.
Abd. 1960 Abd. Press and Jnl. (26 Apr.):
The discontinuance of the use of the wooden ladle for lifting the collection.

(5) To take up or cash money or the like which has been deposited to one's credit, to withdraw money from a bank (Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 41). Gen.Sc.; to take out of pawn.Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals ii.:
One of the parish … went up to London to lift a legacy from a cousin that died.
Gsw. 1842 Children in Trades Report ii. i 52:
Every boy is to lodge a penny a-week out of his wages in a box; which he is not allowed “to lift,” or take out, till it amounts at the least to 6d.
Gsw. 1885 Ballads (Gsw. Ball. Club) 107:
For Leezie, oor claes maun be lifted, as soon as the siller we hae.
Sc. 1889 Stevenson M. of Ballantrae x.:
I have near five hundred pounds laid by in Scotland. A letter goes by yon ship to have it lifted.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 197:
There's the twunty pound o' yer ain, Rob; and I've liftit a hunder and putten tilt.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie i. iv.:
“Hoo muckle will I lift?” he asked. We talk of “lifting money” out of the bank.
Sc. 1939 Times (10 June) 7:
Somebody left them a legacy and they could not lift it because they had not sufficient identity.

Phr. to lift one's lines, in the Presbyterian churches: to withdraw formally from the communicant membership of a certain congregation by asking for a certificate of disjunction. Gen.Sc.m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick i.:
Sae what does Pate dae but lift his lines an' tak the gait doun the brae, an' his haill faimily wi' him.
Bwk. 1912 J. Burleigh Ednam 122:
The amount of changing is best understood at Whitsunday when those moving to another parish come to “lift their lines.”

(6) To carry off dishonestly, to steal, take by a raid, in Sc. specif. of cattle, as opposed to the Eng. connotation of pilfering (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc., mainly hist. Vbl.n. lifting, cattle-raiding. Cf. Gael. togail, lifting, raiding of cattle.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 379:
Thieves that came to lift their cattle.
n.Sc. c.1730 E. Burt Letters (1815) II. 209:
The stealing of cows they call lifting, a softening word for theft.
Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 379:
Engaging to pay for all sheep which were carried away, if above the number seven, which he styled lifting; if below seven, he only considered it as a piking.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
Mony … live by stealing, reiving, lifting cows, and the like depredations!
Sc. 1843 R. Carruthers Highl. Notebook (1887) 132:
The Lochaber men used to come to lift the cattle.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Bog-Myrtle iii. v.:
Roy disna keep Kennedy's liftit beasties in the hollow.

Hence lifter, a cattle-raider.Rxb. 1816 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. XXXVI. 15:
He being a Border lifter, the poor fellow was caught hold of in some of his lifting exploits, and cast into prison.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxix.:
Ye needna ask whae Rob Roy is, the reiving lifter that he is.
w.Sc. 1869 A. Macdonald Settlement (1877) 44:
In the good old times, while he who merely stole a cow was called a thief, he who stole a drove of cows was called a “gentleman lifter.”

(7) Of the police: to arrest, apprehend, take into custody. Gen.Sc.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Tam's gruppen an' liftit.
Gsw. 1934 D. Allan Hunger March iii. ii.:
They [the police] 've lifted Smith.
ne.Sc. 1958 Jessie Kesson The White Bird Passes (1987) 49:
"They lift me to spring-clean their jails for them," Beulah whispered, ...
Edb. 1960:
Haud yer wheesht, man, or ye'll be liftit.
Sc. 1999 Herald 1 Oct 13:
"My partner answered the door and my son said he was being charged. ... I said, 'what do you mean?' and he replied 'You know what that mask can do to people.'
"There was no reasoning with him.
I really thought that if I tried reasoning with him I would end up getting lifted. I couldn't believe it."

5. To hear distinctly, to understand, comprehend (Dmf. 1960). Cf. tak up s.v. Tak; to take up a cue, to respond to an allusion (w. and sm.Sc. 1960).Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 36:
She said something to me (I was sittin' exackly opposite), in a foreign tongue, but I didna lift her, and she went on smoking.
Kcb. 1930:
A deaf person said to me, “I can hear ye talkin but I canna lift ye.”

II. n. 1. The act of lifting or assistance to lift (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc., specif. in carrying a corpse out for burial, the time appointed for a funeral procession to start (Uls.2 1929). Cf. v., 1. (9). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 338:
It was one of his singularities that he never took a lift at burials, which was done by all ranks of people.
s.Sc. c.1830 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 58:
If the coffin is carried by bearers, he must take a lift or assist in carrying it so far.
Bnff. 1887 G. G. Green Gordonhaven v.:
The four coffins were placed in the centre of the street, each resting on two kitchen chairs facing one another … Eight fisherwomen “manned” the spokes, as is almost invariably the case for the first lift.
Fif. 1893 G. Setoun Barncraig vi.:
Would it no be wiser like o' ye to gang out an' gi'e her a lift? … for auld Ailie that's a sair trauchle.
Abd. 1958 Huntly Express (31 Oct.) 7:
If ye wisna a sweer — ye wid gie a lad a lift wi' his ploo.

Phr. a dead lift, a state in which one can exert oneself no further, sc. in trying to lift, the limit of one's resources, an extremity or crisis.Sc. 1722 Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 351:
But Lowry never wants a shift To help him out at a dead lift.
Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 44:
To a dead lift gif they their shouthers len', Wi' pith o' money can do what they please.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 325:
If ye canna help a frien' at a dead lift.

2. Fig. as in colloq. Eng.: a help, relief, encouragement, a helping hand, a “boost”. Phr. to gie or lend a lift to, tak a lift wi, to give a helping hand to, promote, encourage (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1717 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 20:
With gratis Beef, dry Fish or Cheese; Which … lent her fresh Nine Gallon Trees A hearty Lift.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 90:
Syne Colen says: “I maun indeed confess Ye lent's a lift in our right gryte distress.”
Sc. 1772 Remains Rev. R. Shirra (1850) 195:
Hearing of your affliction … I would, if I could, take a lift of your burden.
Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 358:
Gin ye wi' me can tak' a lift In ony weather.
Ags. 1793 Tam Thrum Look before ye Loup 31:
He had gotten the promise o' this lift o' corruption frae some fykin' bit clark.
Abd. 1868 G. Macdonald R. Falconer ii. ii.:
Mony a ane in Ebberdeen 'll be ready eneuch to gie him a lift wi' the fiddle.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 323:
Nae bauld sclaiter to lend me a lift in my needcessity and peril.
Sc. 1871 C. Gibbon For Lack of Gold i.:
Good-natured folk … who had arrived . . . “to gie the bodes a lift.” Whenever they saw the sale of anything flagging they gave it a fillip by making a bid for it.
Ayr. 1895 H. Ochiltree Redburn vii.:
We'll a' jine in the chorus and gi'e ye a bit lift, gin ye'll juist begin the thing.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 198:
“Jamie's the oldest,” says I, to give him a lift, like.

3. The amount of fish, esp. herring, that can be lifted aboard by hand in the net, about half-a-basketful. (Arg. 1990s).Arg. 1949 Mitchison & Macintosh Men and Herring 92:
They had got nothing but a lift, good herring, but they had gone below the net.
wm.Sc. 1954 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 147:
Here and there he could see the bright working lights where some pair had a ring, and the rest would come hurrying. But nobody got more than a lift.
Abd. 1961 Buchan Observer (17 Jan.):
The catch? — 650 “lifts of cod.”

4. (1) The uneven rising step of a person who has one leg shorter than the other (Fif., wm.Sc. 1960).Hdg. 1883 J. Martine Reminisc. 164:
He had a crooked leg, and walked with a “lift.”

(2 ) A heaving of the chest in difficult breathing or violent sickness (m.Lth. 1960). Cf. v., 3. (2) (ii).Sc. 1825 Jam.:
He has an unco lift at his breast.

5. A rising swell in the sea (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Kcd., Ags., Lth., Uls. 1960), gen. lift-i-da-sea.Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 512:
He wis a bonny morning, but a grit lift i' da sea and a hantle o' brak.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 47. 13:
There was a lift in the sea and there was no proper landing place.

6. The distance by which one roofing-slate projects below the slate in the row immediately above, the lap (Abd.27 1952).

7. A layer or course in gen.; specif. of sheaves in a corn-stack or masonry in a wall (Sh. 1960); the point at which a dry-stone wall begins to rise above the grass at its base (Gall. 1960); a layer of new wool next to the skin of a sheep at shearing time (Abd. 1990s).Dmf. 1812 J. Singer Agric. Dmf. 152:
The Galloway dyke is measured at the grass, at what is called the first lift.
Gall. 1865 F. Rainsford-Hannay Dry Stone Walling (1957) 35:
Foundation to be 32 inches wide and the base 26 inches wide at the lift or immediately above the foundation stones.

8. (1) A load, burden (Cai., ne.Sc., Per., Ayr., Gall. 1960); a consignment of goods, a drove of cattle, etc. Cf. v., 4. (1). Also fig. (cf. Laid).Sc. 1755 Johnson Dict. s.v.:
If one be disguised much with liquor, they say, he has got a great lift.
Sc. 1831 Scott C. Robert Paris Intro.:
To show what a sair lift you have o' the job [a projected book], you didna sae muckle as ken the name o't.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 121:
Sen'in' them to Lunnon b' the dizzen ilka ither ouk, … lippenin' to the tae lift to relieve the tither.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong Robbie Rankine 6:
Ye can afford at your time o' life to tak' it easy that way, especially when ye hae Geordie there to tak' the lift aff your heid.
m.Sc. 1899 Montgomerie-Fleming:
Man, Doctor, ye've a grand back for a lift.
Ags.20 1960:
A sweir man's lift — an excessive load to save a double journey.

Hence (2) a large amount (ne.Sc., w.Lth., Dmf. 1960).Ayr. 1786 Burns Ep. J. Lapraik xiii.:
O Thou wha gies us each guid gift! Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift.
wm.Sc. 1833 Alma Mater 37:
When some young upsettin' chiel' rants awa wi' a lang lift o' a sermon.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 105:
He got a lift o' siller fin's uncle deet.
Abd. 1927:
A great lift o' folk, o' steens, etc.

9. A collection, a whip-round (Ayr. 1960). Cf. v., 4. (4).Ayr. 1903 G. Cunningham Verse 197:
When the boys made a lift For auld Robin M'Knicht, Wha was hurt in the pit by a fa'.
Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 585, 591:
If an injured miner is off work for a considerable time a “lift” is made on his behalf, or a special entertainment organised to raise funds. … When money is needed it is got by a door-to-door “lift” and by benefit concerts for which many more people buy tickets than attend.

10. A theft, what is stolen, booty (Cai., Per., Ayr., Kcb. 1960).Sc. 1831 Fife Herald (21 July):
All the money was put into a silk handkerchief, and the man saw it lying, when he said that was a good lift.
Ayr. 1894 A. Laing Poems 12:
For remember a' villains began wi' a lift That by some folk wad scarcely be reckoned a theft.

11. The first break or ploughing of a field in the autumn (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. note to Aitliff Crap and v., 1. (7).

12. Misc. usages: (1) in mining: a slice or cut taken off a pillar or stoop of coal (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 42), the first seam of coal to be removed in a mine (Fif. 1960); (2) of a sheep-dog: the rounding-up of sheep prior to penning them (Ork., Cai., Fif., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1960). Cf. v., 4. (1); (3) in soap-making: one of a stack of rectangular wooden frames into which soap is poured to harden; (4) a social evening in a neighbour's house (Sh. (Fair Isle) 1960); (5) a trick at cards (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 126; Rnf., Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Dmf. 1960). Obs. or dial. in Eng. where it orig. meant a cut in a pack of cards.(2) Gall. 1955 Gall. Gazette (1 Oct.) 6:
His dog “Garry” won the Rosebowl for the best outrun and lift.
(3) Edb. 1799 Edb. Weekly Jnl. (23 Jan.):
1750 Pounds weight of Hard Soap, with 22 Lifts of Soap Frames.
(4) Sh. 1931 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 343:
Wintertime is the [Fair Isle] islanders' time for enjoyment. “Lifts” or parties are held in the different crofts, the name “lift” no doubt meaning the time when the crops are gathered in and safely stored away for the winter.

13. Phr. to tak the lift o, to make a fool of, take a “rise”out of (Abd.7 1900; ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1960).Abd. 1960 Huntly Express (29 July) 7:
They … had taken the “lift” of them in a horse hair deal.

[O.Sc. lift, to collect money, 1448, to carry away, c.1470, of a corpse, c.1650, to steal cattle, id., to strike up a psalm, 1628, a load, 1535, assistance, a.1605, at a funeral, 1659.]

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"Lift v., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2024 <>



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