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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

SKLENT, n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep. Also sc(h)lent, sklint, and, after Eng. slant, sclant, sklant. Pa.t. sklentit, ¶sklent.

I. n. 1. (1) A slope, incline, sloping surface (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., Lth., Dmb., Ayr., Dmf. 1970).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 22:
With easy sklent, on every side the braes.
Dmf. 1925 Trans Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 37:
We cam' on yin o' thae bare sklents o' rock — an there wis the otter slide.

(2) phr. on the sclent, on a slope, in a sloping or slanting direction.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 133:
Down on the sclent shall I fly.
Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 37:
Tak' the hill on the schlent and you'll clim' easier.

2. A sideways movement, change of direction; a swerve, twist: (1) in gen. and also fig. (Sh. 1970).Ayr. 1786 Burns To J. Smith vii.:
This while my notion's taen a sklent.
Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 67:
By mony unco sklent an' turn, He steer'd through muir an' bog an' burn.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (11 Sept.):
Dy lang fause tongue has got a sklent.

(2) specif. of wind or rain: a slanting motion, so as to strike at an acute angle. Phr. a sklent o' win. Also in naut. Eng. Cf. Sklent, n.3Ags. 1866 R. Leighton Poems (1869) 299:
And the sleet was sent wi' a sniftin' sklent.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 8:
It has been rainin wi a sklent ever sin' it cam on.
Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
A sklent o' win, i.e. one that would help a boat turning dead to windward with a long reach.

3. (1) A sidelong glance or gleam of the eye  (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Abd. 1921; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Ayr., Dmf. 1970); a squint.Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
I gae a sklent wi' my ee.
Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 67:
To tak' a sidlin' sklent at them.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin xiii.:
Never sae muckle as a sniff of the air or a sclent of the e'e.
Sc. 1930 Weekly Scotsman (18 Oct.) 2:
Whar got he that far awa whimsical sklent At the back o' his eenholes uncanny?
m.Sc. 1985 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 40 19:
" ... Whitna nicht could you come?"
Ogilvy thocht for a meenit, and tuik a fly sklent at some clours he'd wrocht in the bark o the tree in-aneth his nest.
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 25:
There's an incomer caaed Mathieson wi a sclent in her ee, and an Adam wi a wart on her chin!

(2) transf. A gleam, flash of lightning.Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 16:
Fleein' like a sklint o' livin' licht.
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 3:
First sklents o mornin sunlicht
Poor throw heich bamboo.
I enter the auld temple, haudin teetle the path
Tae far the meditation haa
Is hidden under the flooerin trees.

II. v. 1. intr. To slope, slant, lie awry or to one side (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr. 1928; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Kcb., Rxb. 1970). Ppl.adj. sklentin, sklentit, sloping, aslant, at an angle, awry.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 22:
Wi' bonnet o'er his haffet sklentin laid.
Sc. 1845 W. Tennant Muckomachy 37:
The besom-heft cam sklentin' down.
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 2:
The kipples stood upon the brae, And far in o'er they sclented.
Kcd. 1857 A. Taylor Lummie 2:
The gavel ends were thrawn and sklentit.
Gall. 1901 Gallovidian III. 70:
A great, lang steep hill, sklentin' fae the S.W. to the N.E.
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's iv. 19:
But, fornent that, the wey o' the wicked Sklents doon, an' doon to the mirk.
Ags. 1921 D. H. Edwards Fisher Folks 53:
There's a gie sclentit carey, and some fish micht be got afore the morn.

2. intr. To move in an oblique direction, to turn sideways, to swerve, to zigzag (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Lnl., Kcb. 1970). Also in n.Eng. dial. Also rarely tr., to ascend (a slope) at an angle. Adv. †sclentine ways, zigzag.Abd. 1704 T. Mair Ellon Presb. Rec. (1898) 286:
He would cause a durk sklent upon his ribs.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 179:
Fu' fast the side o' Screel I sklented.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 136:
Sclentine ways his course he aften steer'd.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 64:
[He] tummelt aften heals-o'er-head, As doun the brae he sklentet.
Cai. 1829 J. Hay Poems 24:
A glass o' whisky gat a ding, And in her een it sklented.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 240:
Sklent across till ye come to the threshie field.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 24:
The greedy kye gaed sklentin to the corn.
Lth. 1918 A. Dodds Lothian Land 15:
The infernal engine, in its glee, Will tak' a sudden, skentin' [sic] swee At some bad turn.
Gall. 1929 Gallovidian 58:
Its twists an' turnin's fill ma e'e, But ma thochts faur further sklent.
Ags. 1930 A. Kennedy Orra Boughs xxxv.:
The lang, thin finger sklented oot at ye.
Dundee 1994 Matthew Fitt in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 174:
The young lad sklentit roon the vehicles an lowpit owre the bonnet o a Lada. The drehvirs goat oot an stertit yellin, cryin him fur aa the nemms unnir the sun.

3. tr. To cut on a slant, obliquely.Cld. 1825 Jam.:
To sklent a stane, a buird.

4. (1) in gen.: to aim (something) sideways or obliquely, to send across, lit. and fig. (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1970).Ayr. 1785 Burns To the Deil xvii.:
An' sklented on the man of Uzz Your spitefu' joke.
Slk. 1847 W. Crozier Cottage Muse 77:
How Satan shook his head an' vauntit, And o'er his beard a spittle sklentit.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 48:
Maybe it was your better angel, Sir, That sklented o'er the seas this Yank to Bents?
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 11:
Willie, my lamb, and Johnnie and Tam, Sklent cantrips on us an you dare!

(2) with at, (up)on: to reflect upon in a damaging or sarcastic manner, to hint at by insinuation or innuendo (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.).Ayr. 1838 J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers 13, 18:
I never cud be certain sure whether Johnny was joking or sklent at ither folk. . . . I sud be sorry ye brought ony discredit on the Kirk, or that her disapprobation sklentet upon you.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Keckleton 30, 38:
It was Jamie Lott that I sklentit at. . . . Sklentin' on him in your presence.

5. tr. To cast (the eyes) sideways (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Rnf. 1804 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 70:
It e'en micht melt the dortiest she, That ever sklinted scornfu' e'e.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 62:
[If ye] sclent that haitfu' sheep's e'e on a soldier.

6. intr. (1) To glance sideways, look askance, squint (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Bnff. 1920; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 185; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Cai., wm.Sc., Dmf., Slk. 1970).Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 43:
Your wilie, selentin een declare Ye ha'flins doubt me!
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems I. 66:
An [I] neither let ae e'e nor ither Sklent, wi' unkindness, on a brither.
Ags. 1880 Arbroath Guide (9 Oct.) 4:
An' he cud tell, the graceless loon, Tho' Jean micht sklent and mim, O.
Abd. 1922 J. P. Macgillivray Bog Myrtle 26:
Her een are just twa deils At sklintin throu' The tricks an' shifts that men an' feils Wad gar ye trow.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 21:
The whitrack, whan he saw the steer, Lauch't as he sklent alang his snoot.

(2) of light, etc.: to shine in a slanting direction (Sh. 1970).Ayr. 1785 Burns To the Deil vii.:
The stars shot down wi' sklentan light.
Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 283:
Lang e'ening rays was sklentin.
Uls. 1804 J. Orr Poems (1936) 29:
A forket flash cam sklentin' thro'.
Sc. 1864 J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe 170:
The licht sklents saftly down on holm and ha'.
Knr. 1905 H. Haliburton Excursions 14:
Till I see the sun sklent aff the ruifs o' Balgeddie!
Ags. 1897 Bards Ags. (Reid) 200:
Hoo sweet sklent the sunbeams alang the brae-side!
Lth. 1966 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 174:
The drumlie storm cloods scuddan an' the sternlicht sklentan thro!
m.Sc. 1979 Ian Bowman in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 41:
When we won through in-bye,
howkin' the brattice up,
an' oor lamps, fresh-chairgit,
sklentit doon
on their wee, dyin' glint
ahint a hutch, ...
Edb. 2004:
The sun sklentit through the dirty windaes.

7. To deviate from the truth, to fib, prevaricate (Fif., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. a.1870 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924)).Ayr. 1786 Burns 2nd Ep. J. Lapraik xi.:
Do ye envy the city-gent, Behint a kist to lie an' sklent?
Per. 1809 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 244:
He avails himself of his priviledge as a romance writer to sclent i.e. fib on occasion, painting scenes much bigger and gaudier than the life.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
He spoke for them a', and I whiles feared that he sclented a wee.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 209:
They'll be sklentin' frae fact.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Bk. of Nettercaps 11:
Indeed she is that without sklentin' or fibbin'.

III. adj. 1. Slanting, to one side, awry, oblique (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 185; Mry. 1925; Arg. 1932; Sh., Cai., Lnl., Ayr. 1970). Deriv. sklinty, sklentie. Advs. sklently, sklentweys, -wise (Sh., Per. 1970).Edb. 1816 J. Aikman Poems 48:
Flickerin' as they fa' a while On the sere seggs lie sklently.
Ayr. 1828 D. Wood Poems 54:
Twa jam stanes stanin', something sclent.
Sc. 1834 Chambers's Jnl. (Sept.) 278:
To debouch from one of the sklinty close-heads.
Per. 1893 Harp Per. (Ford) 71:
It wasna till the sklent moon's shine Was glancin' deep in Mary's e'e.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 226:
The hat was cloured an' sclant a wee.
Dmf. 1921 J. L. Waugh Heroes 130:
To geng sklentweys doon the hillside.
Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 70:
Ahint the big sclent stanes We got troot as lang's your arm.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 48:
The Regent frae the bylie wa
keekit wi sklentie ee,
an thocht hou he micht claught it aa
gin Sillersecks sud dee.

2. (1) Of a look or glance: sidelong, cast askance (Sh. 1970).Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 166:
But ane whase coat is worn sae bare . . . Will meet the sklent disdainfu' stare.
Ayr. 1836 J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 187:
Nae mair the bardies then should thole Sklent leuks, and tongue's contemptuous roll.

(2) Of a fact: somewhat untrue, half-true, approximate, not quite accurate (Mry. 1925). Adv. sclant-weys.Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 20:
Maybe Baldy's richt, scriptural tae, sclantways like.

IV. adv. On a slant, at an angle, off the straight, awry, obliquely (Sh., Abd., Fif. 1970).Per.1 1922:
I've gaen a wee bit sklent.
Sc. 1923 Sc. Univ. Verses 69:
They pass by wi' their bonnets sklent for fear ye see their e'en.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 281:
'The jury finds him guilty on aw counts. Mitchel stands up, a wee bit sklent cause o his leg, and hears Adam Auld, the dempster o the coort, read oot that he's tae be hanged in the Grassmarket in eight days' time ... '

V. prep. Athwart, across.Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 126:
We've lost our strength an' honest hearts, Sin' ye cam' sklent us.
Dmf. a.1820 Border Mag. (Oct.) 169:
Sklent the bogs wi' thy as'bucket feet.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 116:
Sklent the hills is cut for roads a bed.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 28:
“Sklent the bog, then!” quo' I, pointin' to the short cut to the highroad.

[O.Sc. sclent, to slip sideways, 1438, to aim, c.1560, to err morally, 1568, to deviate from truth, 1581, a slanting cut, c.1590, devious, 1610, Sc. variant of Mid.Eng. (now dial.) slent, a slope, to fall or lie on the slant, of Scand. orig. Cf. Norw. på slent, aslant, slenta, to slip sideways, Sw. stinta, dial. slänta, id. For sk- see K, 8. and S, letter, 3. Eng. slant appears to be cogn. but the vowel is not explained.]

Sklent n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep.

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"Sklent n.1, v.1, adj., adv., prep.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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