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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PUPIT, n. Also puppit (Bnff. 1867 Banffshire Jnl. (29 Jan.); Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Tween Clyde and Tweed 37), poupit (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 161), poopit, -et. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. pulpit. See P.L.D. § 78.3. [′pupɪt]

1. As in Eng. Also fig., the Church as an institution. Gen.Sc. Combs. and phrs.: (1) pulpit-exchange, the practice of two ministers taking one or more services in each other's church. Also exchange of pulpits, id.; (2) poopit-fit, the spot immediately in front of the pulpit in a church. See also Fit; (3) poopit-goon, the black Geneva gown worn during service by ministers of the non-episcopal Churches in Scotland; (4) poopit man, a minister of the church. Obs. in Eng. in 17th c.; (5) pulpit supply, the provision of a preacher to fill a temporary vacancy in a church during, e.g. an illness or period of leave of the minister. See Supply; (6) to fill a poopit, to be a minister. Cf. (7); (7) to wag one's pow (†beard) in a poopit, = (6), freq. in contexts expressing the aspirations for their son's future of many Scottish parents in former times. Gen.Sc.(1) Per. 1896 I. MacLaren Kate Carnegie 97:
There's maybe naethin' wrang wi' a denner, but the next thing'll be an exchange o' poopits.
(2) Abd. 1894 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. 43:
A body wad think I had never seen a christenin', far less stood at the poopit-fit four times already.
(3) Edb. 1916 J. Fergus Sodger 12:
A' his claes an' poopit-goon were aye withoot a speck.
(4) Sc. 1761 Magopico 45:
He might ha' made a tolerable poupit-man.
(6) m.Sc. 1895 A. S. Swan Gates of Eden iv.:
Jamie, my man, wad ye like to fill a poopit tae?
(7) Sc. 1720 in A. Pennecuik Helicon 76:
Their Beards may all wag in the Pulpit.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. ii.:
The poor parents were encouraged to hope that their bairn . . . “might wag his pow in a pulpit yet”.
Rnf. 1830 A. Picken Dominie's Legacy I. 109:
The time would yet come when he should “wag in a poopet like the best.”
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb ix.:
The Rev. Jonathan Tawse was not destitute of a desire to wag his pow in some particular “poopit” which he could call his own.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe iii.:
[He], honest man, had a great desire to see his son “wag his pow in a poopit”.
Fif. 1905 S. Tytler Daughter of Manse iii.:
The time had been when Pryde had looked forward to being the first and not the second man in a parish, “to wag his head in a poopit”.
Edb. 1916 J. Fergus Sodger 11:
On Sawbbaths in the poopit he wagged his auld white heid.
Rxb. 1923 Hawick Express (29 June) 3:
Provost Renwick mann hae established a record, an' bei th' first Provost o' Hawick that has wagged his heid in a pu'pit.

2. A natural feature in landscape resembling a pulpit, freq. a rocky escarpment or bank with a sheer drop in front, e.g. the Devil's pulpit near Drymen in Stirlingshire.Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 17:
Plewed rigs an planteens . . . an Peden's Poopit buin maist.

3. In Curling: a jocular term for the tee (Sc. 1911 B. Smith “ShillingCurler 38). Cf. Pairish, n., 2.

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"Pupit n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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