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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.

SMOT, v., n. Also smott, smote.

I. v. To mark sheep with tar or other colouring matter as a sign of ownership (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1970).Ayr. 1828 D. Wood Poems 60:
I likewise had a gae piece keel, To smot the sheep.
Bwk. 1907 Trans. Highl. Soc. XIX. 153:
To mark, or “smott”, on some part of the body, all the first tupped ewes.

II. n. 1. A spot, stain, smudge (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); specif. a mark of ownership put on a sheep with ruddle or the like (s.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bwk. 1970); sheep so marked, individually or collectively (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1856 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 225:
No man will break his “smote,” as it is called, but at a loss.
Slk. 1956 Southern Reporter (26 Jan.):
What we call “smotes”, i.e., the ewes marked as due to lamb within each period of a week or five days.
Dmf. 1997 Nell Thomson Spit the First Sook 14:
What better sight than a row of clippers sitting on sheep stools, good sharp shears at the ready, and the shout of rough sheep. Bist and sometimes tar was applied if a sheep got a nick, and that kept the flies off.
A good shearer was a delight to watch. Now my job was to bist, a pot of tar was melted over a fire, a smot with the owner's initials on it. This was put on the newly clipped sheep.

2. A damp stain, mouldiness, mildew (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

[O.Sc. smot(t), to spot, stain, 1513, a stain, 1532, a sheep-mark, a.1672, a variant of smut, which is however recorded later.]

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"Smot v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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