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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

OCHT, n., pron., adj., adv. Also oucht (Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 43, Ork. 1904 Dennison Orcad. Sk. 3), och (Gall. 1884 D. M'Whirter Ploughboy's Musings 63); owt (Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Penny Wheep 31; s.Sc. 1964). Sc. forms of Eng. aught, ought. [oxt; Ork., s.Sc. + ʌut]

I. n. 1. As in Eng., anything (Per., Ayr. 1915–23 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in the form ochts (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), and sometimes with neg. force = Nocht, nothing, as in 1962 quot.Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 156:
I am vext I canna gie ye a drink of ocht but water, my bonnie bairn.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxvi.:
There's nae occasion for you to say ocht or flee.
Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 66:
She made the bairds crake, an' the steeples jump like oucht.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 158:
There's never ocht in his pouch binna when his han's int.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 239:
They didna ocht but lauch — in fun was a' their faith!
Dmf. 1915 D. J. Beattie Oor Gate-en' 41:
We clam' the wa' an' got doon to fin' if there was owt in the holes.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 10:
Neext A speerd if A cood geet ochts ti eat.
Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (25 Nov.):
Ye're a gentleman an' winna say ocht about it.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 10:
The hale family wir geud honest folk, wha . . . never seekid owt fae ony body.
s.Sc. 1962 Southern Annual 28:
Some grand cleckings of Deuks, Yirls, Loords, and nae end o' nabbery that were fit for ocht else.
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas MacLagan in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 158:
But nae ane saw
Them, after a'
Do ocht ava'
Against the law,
Amang the Hielan' hills, man.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 46:
'Naethin,' Mitchel said. 'It is silent. I never saw him in life, but when I was a bairn he had Scotland chitterin on its knees, and folk fleggin ye wi tales o his army. But when I look noo I'm no feart. And he disna say ocht.'

Phrs.: (1) deil a o(u)cht, see Deil, n., II. 1. (8); (2) (nedder) aucht nor ocht, ought nor what, neither one thing nor another, nothing whatever. See Aucht; (3) no a(e) oucht, not a single thing (Sh. 1964); (4) ocht ta hell, id. (Id.); (5) ower ocht, adj., adv., beyond measure, immoderate(ly), extraordinar(il)y.(2) Kcd. 1819 J. Burness Plays 309:
These twa days he's done ought-nor-what.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vi.:
Johnny kent nedder aucht nor ocht aboot it.
(3) Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 249:
No ae oucht haed we bit twartree gaupins o' kleepie stanes.
(5) Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 27:
He lauched ower ocht.

2. A person of some standing and importance, a “somebody”.Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 58:
Jock Aitken, Lowrie, and Jim Paton, Are ochts amang them.

II. pron. Ocht o' the twa, either of the two. Rare.Abd. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 26:
Eppie didna care a docken-blade for ocht o the twa o' them.

III. adj. Any. Comb. oucht kind, any kind of.Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 182:
Nor past he ocht thing slichtly by.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 35, 57:
Against the rains, an' ocht mishap . . . O' oucht kind grain.
Lnk. 1890 H. Muir Rutherglen 35, 53:
Nae mair guilty than ocht man we'll meet . . . To tell ocht haet else they were asket to say.

IV. adv. Somewhat, rather, in some way or degree.Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 60:
An' when fouk cam' That fuddle wad I thought ought lang.
Lth. 1852 M. Oliphant Adam Graeme 219:
Are ye doing ought weel, Robbie?
Lnl. 1890 A. M. Bisset Spring Blossoms 71:
Gin I keep her ocht ower lang.
Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 12:
Tam was mair nor ocht camsteerie.

Ocht n., pron., adj., adv.

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"Ocht n., pron., adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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