Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCART, v., n.1 Also skart, scairt. See also Scrat. [skɑrt]

I. v. 1. tr. and intr. To scratch, scrape with the nails, claws, or some sharp object (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. scartin, scratches. A scartin post, a scratching post for cattle. Also ppl.adj.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 397:
I'll gar you scart where you youk not.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 20:
Biting and scarting is Scots fowk's wooing.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 81:
Ithers scart their sides and lugs, Tormentet wi' infernal Bugs.
Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 104:
Scarted hands an' riven claes.
Ags. 1822 A. Balfour Farmers' Three Daughters I. iv.:
She'll fout wi' her feet, an' scart wi' her hands.
Peb. 1838 W. Welsh Poems 33:
The fire by, they sat to dry, While I did lick my scartin.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 160:
“Ye'll scart a beggar's houghs yet”, is spoken prophetically of any one displaying extravagant propensities.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 14:
Jamie, scartin' his heid, at last bluitered oot.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 50:
Ilk Sawbath he would scart the stibble frae his chin.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 40:
Chris saw Jock scart his claws in Ma's sonsy leg.
Sc. 1964 Weekly Scotsman (30 July) 11:
The bullocks got to work on it, scarting at the bark with their teeth.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 72:
But Scotland bides yet ayont dwam,
bides on the een that maun see it rise
in its real sel, shruggin aff puirtith, the rags
o tasht industries, the skartin fingers o the warkless,
the wanless dorts o couthie rhymes, imported sangs,
relished dool or paradise in a glen.
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 40:
There is nae flane is dairtit
Can skart her nakit skin nor billet in it.
She'll murder ye, and there's nae help agin it.
Sc. 1994 Brent Hodgson in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 66:
Ma interview wis interrupted at this point: somewan skarted at the back door; somewan or something possessing a claw.
wm.Sc. 1996 Robin Jenkins Lunderston Tales 7:
She said nothing, just went on screaming, with her hands contorted into claws. Whose face, wondered her father, was she minded to scart? Gary's? But he was thousands of miles away. God's? He was even further.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 10:
And muckle rockin-horse heich as the pownie in the field
if no sae fat and wi an itchier, scartin coat for a boy
in short troosers. And a lockt press
wi the guns though shut oot o sicht.

Phrs.: (1) to gar or mak one scart whaur it's no yeukie, to beat, trounce, make a person rue (ne.Sc. 1969). See Yeuk and cf. 1721 quot. above; (2) to scart a gray pow, to be old or advanced in years (Bnff., Per. 1969). See Pow; (3) to scart one's buttons, to draw one's fingers down another's jacket-buttons, as a challenge to fight (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1969). Jam. compares the procedure of cutting off a soldier's buttons when he is discharged with ignominy from the army; (4) to scart one's fit, as an expression of impatience or disdain, sc. to mind one's own business, = Eng. “to chase oneself, boil one's head”.(1) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 32:
We made Stair scart for the rest o' that day where it was na juist yeucky.
(2) Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 41:
There's ane o' the twasome will never scart a grey pow.
(3) Sc. 1823 Hogg Perils of Women I. 163:
I winna sit nae langer to be mockit. I scart your buttons, sir.
Rxb. 1870 J. Thomson Doric Lays (1884) 9:
When some coward laddie henn'd, And gat his buttons scartit.
(4) Gall. 1904 Crockett Raiderland 157:
There's nae fear o' James — na, Maister Duguid may scart his fit.

2. To scrape or scratch (the ground) like an animal, to turn up with the claws in search of food, etc. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xv.:
They haud siccan a skarting and scraping in the yard, that there's nae getting a bean or pea keepit for them.
Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 79:
Some moothfu's o' tangle, scarted aff the sluddery stanes.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 176:
Sae traikit-like, they hadna' heart To scart the grun', or straik a feather.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 155:
Jenny's hens scartin' up his corn seed.
Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 21:
A hungry hen still scarts the grund.
Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 56:
Nae mass conversion possible
The sea turns wild cat,
Scarts the grun in storm.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 90:
The phaisie is a pleisure an a joy;
aw happit in his tartans lik Rob Roy
he scarts aboot an swanks on drystane dykes
an gies lood scraichs when on his coortin ploy.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 32:
A' soun', as weel, is stappit
By yon siller quine -
A' clash fae byre and barn
A' scart an scauld an girn
An warsel o' weary men
Their darg and dolour pit by -
Nowt but a hoolit's skreich i' the mirk
An the trummlin o' beddit kye.

3. To scrape a vessel with a spoon, to take the last remnants of food from a dish (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Phrs. scart-the-bowl, -the-cogue, -the-pat, one who tries to get the last morsel or fig. the utmost profit from anything, a gluttonous, parasitical or niggardly person (Dmf. 1969, -pat). Vbl.n. scartins, the scrapings of a pot or dish (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 61:
Scart the cogue wad sup mair.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 128:
Clean to lick aff his crowdy-meal, And scart his cogie.
Hdg. a.1801 R. Gall Poems (1819) 67:
Caps an' trenchers in a jingle A' scarted brawly.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 46:
You're a perfect skinflint, and a puir scart-the-bowl.
Lnk. 1885 J. Hamilton Poems 265:
The scartin's o' the parritch pat.
s.Sc. 1917 Rymour Club Misc. II. 197:
Said of a hanger-on at the big house — He's a scart-the-pat scullion.
wm.Sc. 1928 J. Corrie Last Day 66:
Scartin' the jeely jars on Wednesday.

4. To scrape together in a heap, to accumulate in a penurious, niggardly way, to be excessively acquisitive in small things (m. and s.Sc. 1969). Vbl.n. scarting, miserly saving or greed.Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 25:
A spirit of scarting and haining that I never could abide.

5. To strike (a match) (Ork., ne., m. and s.Sc. 1969).Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 219:
Auld Red scartit a spunk belyve an' held the lowe forrit to his cigar.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 75:
I fand the hoose by scartin' a match an' readin' the plate on the gate.
Ags. 1927 Brechin Advert. (25 Oct.) 3:
She tried to rise — she wasna drunk And yet she couldna scart a spunk.
Rxb. 1933 Kelso Chron. (3 Nov.) 5:
We scartit matches on oor breeks.
Bch. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 34:
He scartit the spunk wi' a tremblin' han'.

6. To make a mark or incision like a scratch on a surface, as of the ground, a piece of furniture, etc.; to carve, incise, engrave. Gen.Sc. Also fig. of hoeing, ploughing, etc.Sc. 1820 Scott Pirate xv.:
Ye scart the land with a bit thing ye ca' a pleugh.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail lxxviii.:
He has scartit and dintit my gude mahogany table.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace 92:
Scartin' rocks ahint a plow.
Fif. 1896 G. Setoun R. Urquhart vii.:
We maun a' scart our names on something; an' there's less harmless ways than on dead rocks.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 351:
Scartin an polishin an makin things faet.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 25:
The plains o' Babel were weel scartit.

7. To make a mark on (a paper) with a pen, to write, esp. in a hurried or careless manner, to scribble (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. scartin, scribbling, indistinct writing.Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley lxv.:
What use has my father for a whin bits o' scarted paper?
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 144:
I've skarted some odds and ends wi' the keelivine on brown paper.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 165:
I ken he scarts the paper a wee himsel.
e.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 221:
I scarted doun my cross whaur I had aye been used to pit it.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 35:
Anither poet scartin' lines Astride o' a birlin ba'?
Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 11:
Sic awfa scartin'. Gin ye ran half sae crookit as ye vreet, Dooglie, it's nae marvel ye joukit the boombs o' the Proosians ower in France.

8. To draw hooks along the bed of a river or pool in order to catch fish, to use a drag, in poaching (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

9. To make a scraping, grating or rasping noise (Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne., em.Sc. (a), wm., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1969).Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 158:
Here's me has skarted on the fiddle a' my days.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 4:
A skartin skeelie on a skuil sklate.

10. To scatter (Sc. 1880 Jam.), a somewhat doubtful usage, but cf. Scartle, v., 2.

II. n. 1. A scratch with the nails, claws or some sharp object (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also fig., a wound or injury to the feelings; a scratching or scraping noise (Cld. 1882 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor).Sc. 1709 D. Warrand Culloden Papers (1925) II. 16:
My skin wese not tuched though my cloaths got some scarts.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 72:
They that bourd with cats maun count upo' scarts.
Sc. 1823 Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. ii. iv.:
It's a mere scart, just a fleabite.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 119:
Lasses' gibes leave scarts that beil.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxxiii.:
Her wi' a scart on her airm.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 31:
Somethin' give a scart inside the coffin.
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 142:
Old-type Congreve and Promethean matches that needed little bottles of asbestos and sulphuric to set them alight were part of her stock-in-trade (as of every other pedlar's), but this was something new ... this producing the tiny flare with no more than a scart on the wall.
Sc. 1991 Roderick Watson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 105:
This is the thrittieth year o my age
Whan I've puked my shame an boozed again
No wice no sage,
An mind the mony scarts I've taen.

Phr. and combs.: (1) bite for scart, tit for tat (Lth. 1969); (2) clear scart, clear of harm, without a scratch, unscathed; (3) hale skart, id. See Hail, adj. 6. (8); (4) scart-free, id. (Sc. 1808 Jam.), lit. and fig.; scot-free, free of charge; (5) scart-hale, = (4) (i) above (Ags., Per. 1969). Cf. (2).(1) wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 80:
Since ye hae set my birse up, I'll just gie ye bite for scart.
(2) Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 27:
When clear scart we reached the road.
(3) Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 220:
Hale skart frae the wars, without skaithing.
(4) Sc. 1708 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report (Mar and Kellie MSS.) 433:
The rest are all got off scart free.
Arg. 1758 Session Papers, Petition A. Fraser (20 Feb. 1760) 58:
You search every corner to get off scart free.
Per. 1794 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 606 note:
While many taxes, which fall very heavy on the poor and industrious, are necessary for the support of the public expence, these tippling houses, in a great measure, go scart free.
Dmf. 1820 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life II. 173:
Scart-free in even the loudest thunder.
Rnf. 1877 J. M. Neilson Poems 18:
The Queen sends her subjects to Queenslan' scart free.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xviii.:
It'll need to be something abune byordinar to bring you off scart-free.
Edb. 1916 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xii. 13:
The guid are mair siccar, an' gang yont scart-free.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 21:
Ye'll get yer sairan dinnae fear
ye'll no aye gang scart free,
but ae think shair I'll no be here
ye've seen the last o me.
(5) Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Bk. Nettercaps 81:
I hope I see ye “scart hale and Scot free”, as the sayin' is.

2. A furrow or mark on the ground, in quot. specif. of botched ploughing (Sh., Abd., Per., Lth., Kcb. 1969).Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 33:
Nae scart o' mine is seen alang earth's broo.

3. A mark or score made by a pen, a scribble, the least scrap of writing (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Phr. a scart o' a bodie's fist, a letter from someone (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.). Adj. scarty, scratchy, of a pen-point.Arg. 1760 Session Papers, Maclean v. Maclean (15 Jan.) 21:
Without a Scart of a Pen from Lochbuie.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian ix.:
I heard him call the death and testimony of our happy martyrs but draps of blude and scarts of ink.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 105:
I ken his pen the instant I see the scart o't.
Slk. 1892 W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 81:
Though stoory be my ink, an' scarty be my pen.
m.Sc. 1934 J. Buchan Free Fishers ii.:
I have sent a scart of the pen to Lord Snowdoun to advise him of my views.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick iv.:
Div ye niver sen yer aal folk a bit o' a scart?

4. The smallest quantity of anything, a grain, a small portion, a trace (m. and s.Sc., 1969).Wgt. 1848 Sc. Journal II. 266:
Ye'll oblige me very much if ye wad lend me the meal, as I have na a scart.
Bwk. 1863 Border Mag. (July) 57:
Whistlin' a scart o' “The Auld Hunner”.
Cld. 1882 Jam.:
A skart o' saut, a few grains of salt.
m.Sc. 1919 J. Buchan Mr. Standfast v.:
At the best it's a bit scart o' aits.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 58:
A scart o jeely on a piece ?
A pittance ti retire wi ?
A scart o jeely's aa they'll gie's,
if thats aa we aspire ti.

5. An earmark for sheep, consisting of a semi-circular cut which removes the tip of the ear (Ork. 1910 Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 24). Sic, but prob. a variant of Skert, q.v.

[O.Sc. skart, to scratch, a.1400, scart, a Scratch, 1666, = n., 5., 1622, scart-free, 1681, metathetic form of the less common Scrat, q.v.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Scart v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: