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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PLAT, adj., adv., n.1, v. Also platt, plaat; plate, pleat, plet; irreg. form plakk and intensive form plart (cf. Plert). Dims. platie, plettie, -y. [plat, plet]

I. adj. 1. Flat, level, even (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., platt, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1966); specif. of the feet (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), gen. in comb. plat-fittit, plet-, having flat feet (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Obs. in Eng. Combs. plat calm, n., a flat calm (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1966). Cf. adv.; pletty-stanes,, a pavement, the plainstanes (see Plain) (Ags., Per., Clc. 1966).Rxb. 1801 J. Leyden Complaynt 362:
Plat foot, or, as it is often pronounced, platch foot, a foot that has no curvature in the sole.
Sh. 1952 New Shetlander No. 31. 27:
Da wind wis faain awa aatageddir an it wis a platt calm.
m.Sc. 1979 Tom Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 89:
Close cuisin o the skunk, the strippit brock
pads plat-fuitit, deuck-ersed, near the grund,

2. Fig. Clear, distinct, plain, straightforward, unequivocal, downright, freq. in phr. plat and plain (Sh. 1966). Obs. in Eng. Cf. Ger. platt und plan.Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 14:
Wer'tna that Stackhouse, by his study, Has made them plat and plain already.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 55:
Da answer cam baid plain an plat.
Sc. 1913 H. P. Cameron Imit. Christ i. xix.:
Some platt ettle sud aye be made be us.

II. adv. Also in form plats. 1. Flat; flat on the ground, (seated) with the legs stretched out horizontally (Sh. 1966); used with the adj. calm as an intensive: dead, absolutely.Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
To sit plats on de flør.
Sh. 1915 Shetland News (21 Oct.):
Hit wis a fine nicht at da time, plat clam.
Sh. 1962 New Shetlander No. 62. 34:
Braak-a-dim i da aestern lift, Da marr platt-calm an quiet.

2. Directly, exactly, due, straight, freq. of direction (Sh. 1966).Sc. 1723 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 385:
This is a mile and a quarter plat south of the church of Graitney.
Abd. 1825 Jam.:
Plet South, Plet North, due South, due North.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
We kam plat on upo da baa.

3. In a plain, direct manner, straightforwardly, directly, flatly, outright, freq. in adv. phr. plat an' plain, id. (Sh. 1966).Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 33:
Syne tauld his erran' plat and plain, An' saw it wasna that ill ta'en.
Sh. 1898 J. Nicolson Aithstin' Hedder 50:
Ta pit it aa doon plain an plat Wid hinder time ower mukkle.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
I telled him plakk and plain.

III. n. 1. A flat surface of any kind (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1966). Obs. in Eng. Applied to a wide variety of flat objects and areas and specif. to the following:

(1) a ledge in a rocky wall (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), platti).

(2) a platform or stance of any kind; a balcony (Ags. 1966). Obs. in Eng.Sc. 1937 St. Andrews Citizen (6 March):
The plat at the diving stage to be raised one foot in height, and the sun-bathing plats under the Step Rock to be rearranged.

(3) the landing of a stair (Sc. 1868 Villa and Cottage Architect. xii.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sc. 1952 Builder (20 June) 942; Ags. 1962 Dundee Courier (24 April) 5; in Dundee specif. of a built-out stair; Ags., Per. (plet), Kcb. (plat) 1966), a flat, storey. Dims. plat(t)ie, plettie, and comb. plat(t)-head, id. Also attrib. as in plat-railing, etc.Sc. 1702 St. Andrews Univ. MSS. (2 July):
The said Thomas obleidges himself to furnish the stons for the said stair, plates thereof, and pillar of the same.
Fif. 1734 W. Stevenson Auchtertool (1908) 180:
To steps and a pleat for the stair . . . £20 5s.
Sc. 1752 Session Papers, Forbes v. Grant (1 June) 12:
Charles Harper, who lived upon the same Plat.
Sc. 1781 Edb. Ev. Courant (10 Feb.):
The whole of the columns, mouldings, steps and platts of stairs to be of Craigleith stone.
Rnf. 1856 Private MS.:
Outer stair to have new Plat Head & railing all round & down four standards at least 3 by 4 properly batted with iron into the stone steps & wall.
Ags. 1953 People's Jnl. (7 Feb.):
Ye'll no' mind o' me. I kent ye in Dundee. Ye used tae play on oor plettie!
Dundee 1980 Billy Kay ed. Odyssey 42:
"The houses were all built just round about the mill, and the tenements were mostly what you call 'Pletties', that was just like a platform - then there was an outside stair connected to these platforms - and then the houses were just two rooms, through-going from each other. ... "
Dundee 1989:
Hoosies wi pletties.
Dundee 2002 Herald (1 Jul.)  24:
Journey back to an era when Dundee factories supplied the world with jute, bairns played on a plettie and berry picking was your annual holiday. ...

(4) the flat basket or mat on which fishing lines are coiled up prior to shooting (Crm. 1921 T.S.D.C., platuck; Mry. 1930, plat); a straw mattress (Crm. 1914, platyuck).

(5) a thick layer or plaster of some messy or semi-liquid substance, a daub (Uls. 1924 W. Lutton Montiaghisms 31, plart). Comb. cow-plat, a cow's droppings (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Gall. 1912 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 290; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1966).Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A plat o' paste ti make a pancake.

(6) a flat stone used by blacksmiths (see IV. 3.)Fif. 1958 T. G. Snoddy Green Loanings 57:
The waublin cratur luiket for a plett.

2. A sudden fall or flop, a plump down (Ork. 1975, to sit doun wi a plat). Cf. v., 1.

IV. v. 1. tr. To place or set (an object) down flat, to plank down (Sh. 1966). Also intr. or refl., to set oneself down, to fall flat (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., plart). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng.Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Just plat it doon ony place.
Ork. 1930:
The dog platted himsel doun afore the fire.

2. To walk in a heavy, flat-footed way , to Platch (Sh., Ork. 1966).Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
He cam' plattin in ower de briggstens.

3. In shoeing a horse: to flatten down the point of the nails attaching the shoe to a horse's hoof, to roove, clinch a nail (Fif., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Sh. 1966, plet). Also in Eng. dial. Also in intensive form platten, plettin, id. (Ib.). Vbl.n. plettin, the act of rivetting or clinching a nail, in comb. plettin-stane, see quot. (Fif. 1958 T. G. Snoddy Green Loanings 67).Fif. 1825 Jam.:
Plettin-stane. A large flat stone, till of late years lying at the door of a smithy. On this stone, the horse's foot was set flat, after the shoe was driven, that the nails might be plattened (rooved), i.e., turned a little over the hoof, to prevent their coming out.

[O.Sc. plat, downright, a.1400, plate, flat, 1476, plat, absolutely, 1513, pletting-stane, 1588, Mid.Eng. platt, O.Fr. plat, flat.]

Plat adj., adv., n.1, v.

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"Plat adj., adv., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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