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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TATTIE, n. Also tat(t)y, tatteh (Rxb. 1954 Hawick News (18 June) 7), tatie, taati(e) (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.); tatae (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), tatte; taut(t)ie, tawtie; tatoe, tatto(w), tatta; tottie (Gsw. 1947 J. F. Hendry Fernie Brae 128). [′tɑ(:)te, ‡-tə]

1. A potato (Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems Gl., tawtie). Gen.Sc. Freq. also attrib. as in tattie-basket, -cairt, -chip, -field, -laek (-like), -pot, -seck, -store, etc.; in pl. with def. art.: work connected with the growing of potatoes, potato-planting or -harvest. Gen.Sc.Peb. 1793 R. Brown Comic Poems (1817) 118:
Sawt herrings, tawties, water kale.
Gsw. 1797 J. Strang Gsw. Clubs 587:
Girzy, my lass, you may put on the taties noo.
Rxb. c.1800 Mem. S. Sibbald (Hett 1926) 203:
The tatas after they're champet ar' pet on the fire again.
Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 31:
Just thole a wee, my dawties, A charger's just a muckle pig, For ha'din' kail or 'tatoes.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 45:
He counted the tattows that were to go to the table.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister xxxv.:
The Retery's in flood; T'now-dunnie's tattie field's out o' sicht.
Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 246:
Afore dey got da bere a' pooed oot an' da rig made tattie-laek agen.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 240:
We div look at our tauties on Saubbath.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 20:
Everybody in Castlebraes wanted Tattie Baskets.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. iv. 223:
Neu tattas an' sat herrin steeped.
Abd. 1910 W. R. Melvin Poems (1949) 37:
Tay, tattie-chips, an' fizzin' drinks.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 116:
I made some ither remark aboot the tattie crap.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xv.:
I'm at the tatties wi' achteenpence a day.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 14:
Laek aald wives purlin taaties, Atill a early rig.
Rxb. 1965 Hawick Express (4 Aug.) 4:
Openin soop-kitchens or distributin yitmeal or tattehs.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 35:
Or she turned the tatties into a meal in themselves by beating them in with turnips and onions and lashings of pepper, whipping them into an explosive mixture which she called clapshot.
Ork. 1987 George Mackay Brown in Iain Crichton Smith Scottish Short Stories 1987 26:
Of course the crofter, once he had a good supper of boiled mutton and mashed tatties and neeps in him, was sorry for the things he had done and said, partly out of shock, partly from the fires of whisky he had kindled inside himself; black flames.
Gsw. 1987 James Kelman Greyhound for Breakfast (1988) 53:
He had walked to the table in the kitchen and sat down there, looking at the pie and stuff. Cold meat and totties we got, he said, the totties were like chewing gum.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 18:
We used to pick totties and pick strawberries, 2 bob a day at the local farmers.
Fif. 1994 Nellie Watson in Joan Watson Memories and Reflections: An East Neuk Anthology 4:
'The Tattie Howkin' was written in 1950. Alice and Nellie were only fifteen when they 'went tae the tatties' in the year 1910.
Ork. 1995 Orcadian (30 Mar) 4:
In the shore field, which was being cultivated for neeps and tatties, would be the nesting-scrapes of teeos, and sandlos; the latter being ringed plovers.
Sth. 1996 Eddie Davies in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 22:
He travelled round the farms, round the bothies, selling his wire puzzles to the bothie loons or the cornkisters as we would say, and they'd pay him to teach them the secrets, or he'd swap a good puzzle for a sack of tatties, or a sack of neeps to take home.
Sc. 2000 Herald (15 May) 19:
After a brief break in Tenerife, enjoying seeing my friends and crunching tatties that my grandchildren still rave about, I returned to find plenty of mail, most of it telling me how to get credit to pay off my bills.

Combs. and phrs.: (1) champi(t)-tatties, chappit-, mashed potatoes (Rxb. 1942 Zai, champi-; I., n.Sc. (chappit-), Ayr. (champi(t)-) 1972). See Champ, Chap, v.1; (2) hairy tatties, see Hairy, adj., 1. (22); (3) tattie-ait, a variety of oat, the potato-oat, appar. first cultivated and so named in Cumberland in 1788. Gen.Sc.; (4) tattie-bannock, -bannie, a scone or cake made of flour, milk and mashed potato, a potato-scone (Sh. 1914 ld-Lore Misc. VIII. ii. 73; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-.B., -bannie; I.Sc., Cai. 1972); (5) tattie-beetle, -el, -bittle, tattie beatle, a wooden pestle for mashing potatoes (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 271; Ork., m. and s.Sc. 1972). See Bittle, n.1; (6) tattie-bing, a clamp of potatoes (Sh., Ayr. 1972). See Bing, n.1; (7) tattie-bloom, -bleem, the flower of the potato-plant (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); the complete foliage of the potato (Cai. 1972); (8) tattie-blots, pl., water in which potatoes have been boiled (Blot). Also tattie bluitter (Slg. 1972); (9) tattie-bockie, a child's plaything made of a large potato with feathers stuck in it, which hops along the ground in a crab-like manner when blown by the wind (Sh. 1972). See Bockie; (10) tattie-bogie, a scarecrow, specif. one set up in a potato-field (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; ne.Sc. 1972); (11) tattie-bo(o)gle, (i) id. (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen. (exc. I. and ne.) Sc.; also fig. applied to a ragged, unkempt or grotesquely-dressed person, or to a coward (Fif. 1972); (ii) a large raw potato with match-sticks stuck in it as a toy, a “porcupine” (Fif., Edb., Rxb. 1972). Cf. (9) and (12) (ii); (iii) a turnip-lantern used at Halloween (em.Sc.(a) 1972); (12) tattie boodie, -y, -budie, ¶-bootie, (i) = (10) (ne.Sc. 1972); also fig., a booby, a stupid or cowardly person (Bnff., Abd. 1972); (ii) = (11) (ii) (Bnff. 1950 Sunday Post (29 Oct.); Abd. 1972). See also Boodie, n.1; (13) tattie-brae, -bree, -breu, = (8) (Ork., -breu, ne.Sc., -bree, 1972). See Bree, n.1, Broo, n.1; (14) tattie broth, potato soup (Ork., Ags. 1972); (15) tattie brunie, see quot. and Brunie; (16) tattie-champer, -chapper, a potato-masher or -pestle (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Ork., n.Sc., Per. 1972, -chapper). See (1); (17) tattie-claw, potato-soup (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Bwk., Rxb. 1972). For claw cf. pea-claw s.v. Pea, I. 1. (8) and Claw, v., 2.; (18) tattie clouter, potato soup with whole unmashed potatoes (Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C., Cai. 1972); (19) tattie-creel, a basket to gather potatoes in (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); †(20) tattie cruse, a potato scooped out and stuffed with fish liver and oatmeal and roasted (Sh. 1972); (21) tattie cuttie, = (4). See Kutty; (22) tattie de(ev)il, a machine for harvesting potatoes, a potato-digger (ne.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1972). See Deevil, 1. (2); (23) tattie digger, a machine for harvesting potatoes; (24) tattie doolie, -d(o)ulie, a scarecrow, fig. a ragamuffin (Kcd., Ags., Per. 1972). Cf. (10) and Doolie, n.1; (25) tattie dreel, a drill of potatoes. Gen.Sc.; (26) tattie-droddle, -drottle, potato soup boiled in milk with onions or leeks added to flavour (Bnff. 1952). See Druttle; (27) tattie glush, potato soup (Peb. 1910). See Glush, n.2; (28) tatie grab, see Grab, n., 5.; (29) tattie graip, a potato digging-fork (n.Sc., Ags., Kcb. 1972). See Graip, n.; (30) tattie grout, = (27) (Peb. 1910; Fif. 1972). See Grute, n., 2.; (31) tattie grubber, a kind of harrow for digging up potatoes (ne.Sc., Per. 1972). See Grub, v., 1.; (32) tattie grun(d), potato ground. Gen.Sc.; †(33) tattie hock, a trench or pit in which potatoes are stored (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). See Howk, n.1, 1.; (34) tattie hol, id. (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972); (35) tattie holiday(s), a special holiday in country schools in the autumn when children are released to help with the potato harvest. Gen.Sc.; (36) tattie holin, the digging, gathering and storing of the potato crop, the potato-harvest (Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1972). Also attrib. See Hole, v., 1.; (37) tattie-house, a kind of potato-clamp, made of sods and built like a corn-stack with two holes for ventilation (Sh., Cai. 1972); (38) tattie ho(w)ker, one who works at the potato-harvest, esp. a temporary worker from Ireland (Uls. 1953 Traynor, -hoker). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Vbl.n. tattie-howkin, the potato-harvest (Id.); (39) tattie kro, a kind of bunker in a house in which potatoes are stored (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972). See Cro, n.3; (40) tattie-leekie, potato-soup with leeks added. Cf. (26) and Cockie Leekie; (41) tattie-liftin, the potato-harvest. Gen.Sc. Cf. (36) and see Lift, v., 1. (6); (42) tattie maiden, a jollification to celebrate the end of the potato harvest. See Maiden, n., 5.; (43) tattie-maller, the largest size of playing marble, lit. ‘potato-masher' (Bnff., Abd. 1972). See mall, Mell, n.1, v.2; (44) tattie-man, an itinerant seller of potatoes, a hawking greengrocer (ne.Sc. 1972); (45) tattie müld, potato-ground. See Muild; (46) tattie-nit, the earth-nut, Conopodium denudatum; (47) tattie pa(i)rer, one who peels potatoes; an instrument for peeling potatoes, a potato-peeler (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). Vbl.n. tattie-parin, a potato-peeling. Gen.Sc.; (48) tattie park, a field of potatoes (n.Sc., Ags., Per. 1972). See Park; (49) tattie peck, a peck measure for potatoes. See Peck, n.2; (50) tattie-peel, potato peelings (Sh., Abd., Ags., Per., Ayr. 1972), also tattie-peelin, id., used fig. and attrib. of speech: affected, prim.; (51) tattie pie, a dish of (minced) meat topped with mashed potatoes and baked, shepherd's pie; (52) tattie pit, = (33), a potato-clamp (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen. (exc. Sh.) Sc.; †(53) tattie-plash, see quot.; (54) tattie-ploom, the seed-box of the potato-plant, a potato-apple (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1972). See Ploom, n., 2.; (55) tattie-p(y)ock, -poke, a sack for holding potatoes (Sc. 1905 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1972); (56) tattie pourins, water in which potatoes have been boiled (ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm. and s.Sc. 1972). See Pour, v., 2. (2); (57) tattie puddin, a potato cake or rissole; (58) tattie-rig, a strip or ridge of a field planted with potatoes (I.Sc. 1972); (59) tattie-roguer, a person who removes (defective) seedlings from potatoes; (60) tatties and dab (at the stuil), -dip(py), potatoes boiled in their skins and dabbed or dipped in salt, gravy, or some other relish (freq. placed on a stool in the centre of a company) (Sc. 1887 Jam., dab; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 271, Ags., Fif. 1921 T.S.D.C., dip; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Rs., Bnff., Abd. (dab), em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc. (dip) 1972). See Dab, III., Dip, n.; (61) tatties and herrin, a dish of boiled potatoes and herring, often with the herring cooked on top of the potatoes; with def. art.: see quot. Also attrib.; (62) tatties and p(o)int, a meal of potatoes only as a sign of great indigence or frugality, a small piece of meat or fish being merely pointed at by way of being symbolically tasted as each potato was swallowed (Sc. 1887 Jam., “sarcastically said to be common in Ireland”; ne.Sc. 1921 T.S.D.C.; I.Sc., Cai., Ags., Per., wm.Sc. 1972). Dial. in Eng. but first mentioned by Carlyle in Sartor Resartus iii. x.; (63) tattie-scone, a scone made of flour and mashed potato Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc.; (64) tattie-settin, the planting of potatoes. Gen.Sc. See Set, v., 3. (3); (65) tattie-shaw, -sho(w) (Sh.), the haulm of the potato (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc. See also Shaw, n.1, 3.; (66) tattie sheevik, a slice of potato; (67) a tattie short, also no the full tattie. Mentally retarded; slightly deranged (Bnff., Edb., Ayr. 2000s); (68) tattie sole, -sweel, an oblong two-handed potato-basket (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1972). See Swill; (69) tattie-soup, potato-soup. Gen.Sc. Phr. that's the ticket for tattie-soup, that's the very thing, just what was wanted (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 199; Bnff., Per. 1972); (70) tattie steppin, walking with long springy steps (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), sc. as if pacing out potato drills; (71) tattie strike, with def. art.: see quot.; (72) tattie sweel, see (68); (73) tattie swinger, a foreman, gaffer, overseer, esp. of farm workers at potato harvesting (Lnk., Ayr. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Lnk. 1972); (74) tattie-trap, the mouth, ad. Eng. slang potato-trap, id. (Per., wm.Sc. 1972); (75) tattie walin, the hand-sorting of potatoes; (76) tattie-warks, a farina or starch factory which processes potatoes (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (77) tatie weather, weather favourable for the potato-harvest (Sh., Abd., Ags., Per. 1972); (78) tattie-washins, water in which potatoes have been washed; (79) tata yard, an enclosure for growing potatoes, a potato-patch (Sh. 1972); (80) the (clean) tattie, the right person, one who can be trusted or relied on (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.; the vera tattie, the very thing, just what is required (Id.); (81) to laugh like a boiled tattie, to laugh loudly with open mouth (Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 113; Per. 1972); (82) to take a share o one's tattie, to share one's home, to live with, to be one's (married) partner.(1) Rxb. c.1800 Mem. S. Sibbald (Hett 1926) 203:
Then there's champit tatties, after they are boiled, the water is poured off them then they ar' champet wi' the champer in the pot.
Per. 1814 Scots Mag. (March) 215:
A man may live frae June till May On chappit tataes twice a-day.
Ork. 1912 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 10:
Supper might be chappit 'tatas and milk.
(2) Abd. 1922 Banffshire Jnl. (5 Dec.) 5:
“Chappit tatties”, “hairy tatties” and “stovies.”
(3) Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 2:
Twa bigger anes [fields] o' tattie aits.
Sh. 1957 Shetland Times (22 March) 8:
100 Thraves Tattie Oats for sale.
(5) Ayr. 1730 R. Chambers Sc. Songs (1829) I. 147:
A sowin-pig, a 'tatoe-bittle.
Edb. 1838 Whistle-Binkie 74:
Out cam the young herd wi' a big tatty beetel.
sm.Sc. 1925 R. W. Mackenna Flood and Fire xxiii.:
Bring me the tatie-beetle.
Dmf. 1997 Nell Thomson Spit the First Sook 5:
The only toy I remember was a doll made from a black stocking leg and stuffed wa sheep oo! and brightly dressed. When this got mislaid, mother would wrap a shawl roon the tattie beatle in replacement.
(6) Fif. 1845 T. C. Latto Minister's Kailyard 33:
Sad sight a scrimpit 'tatoe-bing.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 815:
When happin' up his corn an' bere, An' tattie bings.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 124:
On a tattie-bing she last did fail.
(7) Cai. 1922 J. Horne Poems 25:
There's a glory on 'e tattie-bleems.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 165:
It was a wet, cold day, the north wind driving gouts of rain down over the land. The barley and the tattie bleems rustled and groaned in protest at the unseasonable intrusion, ...
(8) Sh. 1897 Shetland News (13 Nov.):
Shü emptied da mylk i' da tub wi da tattie blots.
(11) (i) Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 306:
Ye look mair like a tauty bogle than a Christian man.
Sc. 1853 S. R. Whitehead Nelly Armstrong I. i.:
It was fitter for a tatie-bogle's back than a leddy's.
Edb. 1882 J. Smith Canty Jock 45:
Jamie Macsnuffle was naething but a tatty-bogle.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden (1922) 75:
What the deevil do I care where your tata-bogle o' a man has shares.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxv.:
Clap a bunnet on a tawtie-bogle.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 39:
Drumduff had a fine tattie-bogle.
wm.Sc. 1934 "Uncle Tom" Mrs. Goudie's Tea-Pairty 31:
A crood o' sparras that's been frichtet awa by some tawtie-bogle.
Gsw. 1970 George MacDonald Fraser The General Danced at Dawn (1988) 151:
While the charge was read out I studied McAuslan; he was his usually dove grey colour as to the skin, and his battle dress would have disgraced a tattie-bogle.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 37:
I mean the richt
dauntin tattie-bogle
wi the fairmer's filshens
flafft i the wun,
a neep for a heid,
an' deep howe een,
besom-shank airms
an' a kist o strae.
ne.Sc. 1991 Ken Morrice in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 60:
Roddy jaloused it was
sackin wi dulse for hair;
Alick a tattiebogle caad
doon the Dee in Simmer flood.
(12) (i) Abd. 1829 A. Cruickshank Poems 109:
The bairns may a' rin naked nu, Like taty budies fite an' blue.
Abd. 1890 Bon-Accord (5 July) 16:
A “taty boody” which had been placed to frighten the crows instead of him.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 130:
A body may as weel speak tae a tattie-boodie as you.
Bnff. 1939 J. M. Caie Hills and Sea 36:
Lang-tailed coat that ance did duty On a fearsome tattie-bootie.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 26:
Other folks were taking in their tattie-boodies from the wet.
(13) Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 11:
Rax doon the bools, link up the cruik, Hing on yer tatie bree.
Lth. 1924 A. Dodds Poppies in Corn 16:
The best we geet to fill our crap Is tattie-brae.
(14) Sh. 1901 Shetland News (26 Jan.):
Tattie broth fir da supper.
(15) Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 170:
Tautie-brunies were composed of mashed potatoes and milk and flour. When the potato crop turned out diseased, the potatoes were ground, reduced to pulp by soaking in water; the pulp was then carefully washed and dried, when a fine white flour was the result. This was made into pancakes or boiled with milk as arrowroot is used. It tastes exactly like arrowroot.
(16) Ags. 1840 G. Webster Ingliston xxxvii.:
[He] flang the tawtie champer at her heid.
Mry. 1870 W. Tester Select Poems 137:
A tattie-chapper brandished for a sword.
Abd. 1929:
The laddie is daein weel bit nae jist brakin eggs wi' a tattiechapper yet — i.e. rolling in affluence.
Ags. 1990s:
Tattie-chapper: potato masher.
Abd. 1993:
Gie's e tattie chapper for e hens' mash.
Slg. 2001 Janet Paisley Not for Glory 68:
His wife pints oot the kitchen windae wi the tattie champer.
ne.Sc. 2004 Press and Journal (26 Apr) 12:
Fit wid the day's young superstore shoppers mak o some o the things on display then - tattie-chappers, iron cleeks, Glesca buttons for yer breeks, tae say naething o saft soap, steys an leggins-o.
(17) e.Lth. 1924 I. Adair Glowerower 16:
Ye ay like tatie-claw tae yer denner.
(19) Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 98:
A wand o' Cain's first tatto-creel.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 3:
Skulls an' tatie creels.
Ags. 1895 Caledonia I. 305:
He can mak' onything frae a tattie-creel to a thrawcrook.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 57:
His thrangest hoor wad fin' him busy sittin On cowpit tattie-creel.
(21) Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 12:
Sheu's gaan aboot the hoose wae her heels oot like tattie-cutties.
(22) Abd. 1949 Buchan Observer (18 Oct.):
Among those who decried the “tattie deevil,” as it was called on its early appearance, were the growers of seed potatoes, who maintained that the digger broke the skin of the spuds.
(23) Ayr. 1995:
We managed tae get a tattie-digger for her.
(24) Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 49:
His arms like tatie-doolies brave.
Abd. 1878 The Academic 61:
To fricht the hoodie-craws on tattie-doolies.
Ags. 1891 A. Lowson Tales 90:
Lookin' as senseless and feckless as a tattie-doolie.
Ags. 1954 Forfar Dispatch (11 March):
We're twa bonnie tattie-doolies and wud mak her car a' gutters.
(25) Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 120:
Broad rigs o' corn an' tatie dreels.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 33:
In the he'rt o' the tattie dreels.
(26) Per. 1960 People's Jnl. (11 June):
It was made with potatoes, leeks or onions and milk with plenty of pepper and eaten with oatcakes. It had the most revolting name of “Tattie Drottle.”
(29) Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 19:
Tatoe grapes an' sickles Gae tapsalteerie in the flicht.
(31) Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 14:
Wi' his timmer tae tearin' up the grund as if it was a kind o' improved tattie-grubber.
(32) Per. 1875 J. Stewart Sketches 33:
Like corbie craws on tawtie grun!
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 78:
Pieces of “tattie grund” here and there.
Ags. 1933 W. Muir Mrs Ritchie xxi.:
Down to the end of the tattie ground.
Slk. 1956 Southern Reporter (18 Oct.) 14:
Every out-bye herd, as a perquisite, had what was known as the “tattie-grun.”
(35) Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon xv.:
In the autumn Garlie school was closed for the Tattie holidays.
Bnff. 1970 Dufftown News (17 Oct.) 2:
“Fit's the holidays for this time?” “Tattie holidays, Alickie.”
(36) Ags. 1920 D. H. Edwards Men & Manners Foreword:
He was laid bye aboot the tattie-holin' time.
(38) Fif. 1830 A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 34:
The 'tattie-howkin' in October.
Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 256:
As wrinkled and stany as an auld tattie-howker's face.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 43:
A wheen tattie howkers in a field.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chronicle (19 Aug.) 2:
Tattie howkin! It is in full swing all around.
Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 46:
Lifted in June by gangs of Irish ‘tattie-howkers'.
Dmf. 1964 Dmf. Standard (7 Oct.) 3:
The tattie howkers have been the most active people in the fields during the past week.
(40) Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (16 Jan.) 294:
Whiles tak them cold, whiles tak them hot, Or tatie leekie i' the pot.
(41) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 238:
About the tail o' the tawtie-lifting.
e.Lth. 1895 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 13:
We started to the pleuchin an the tattie-liftin.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 8:
The tattie-liftin's nearly through.
(42) Fif. 1830 A. Stewart Dunfermline (1889) 34:
The “tattie maiden,” or harvest home, was a great occasion to old and young.
(44) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1889) 41:
He'll be dealin' wi' anither tattie man gin neist mornin'.
(45) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (17 Dec.):
I gae him his lent apo' da tattie müld.
(46) Mry. 1888 J. McQueen Beauties 119:
Rivin' the vera sod in bits Whan houkin' them an' tatie nits.
(47) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (8 Oct.):
Diel better tattie-pairer is been i' wir place foar Laeder Breeks deed.
Abd. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 32:
He'll grudge the tattie parin's.
(48) Abd. 1945 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 174:
Mina hersel' felt as much pairt o' the tattie park as the broon mools themsel's.
(49) Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 8:
A forpit-dish, a tatie-peck.
(50) Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 76:
'Tatty peels and banes o' herrin'.
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 46:
Wi' a face like tattie-peel.
Slg., Fif., Lth., Peb. 1975:
An awfu tattie-peelin wey o talkin.
(51) Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 63:
That was a very fine tautie pie.
(52) s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 1:
Some large wool-packet or tatta pit.
(53) Rxb. c.1800 Mem. S. Sibbald (Hett 1926) 203:
Then there's tata plash. The tatas after they're champet ar' pet on the fire again, an' milk or may be's a soupe ream pet in among them, an' stirred a'together till warm.
(54) Lnk. 1909 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 68:
He slang tattie-plooms frae the end o' a whaun.
(55) Abd. 1928 P. Grey Making of a King 44:
I fell aff the tattie pock.
(56) Ayr. 1873 A. Glass Tales 90:
A cap on her heid that appeared to be washed in the tatie pourin's an' bleached up the lum.
(57) Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems 13:
Prime tatty-puddins brawly toastit.
(58) Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 246:
Ae dey I sew a tattie-rig wi' bereseed.
(59)Per. 1997 Herald (4 Jul) 23:
Being from near Blairgowrie, are you the berries?
I'm more of a potatoes man. I was a tattie-roguer in the summer holidays. That's not to be confused with lifting, by the way, or howking to give it its proper term.
(60) Ayr. 1883 W. Aitken Lays 45:
A guid meal o' tatties an' dab.
Ags. 1891 Arbroath Guide (24 Oct.) 4:
Feint a thing ye've made for dinner but tatties an' dip.
Rxb. 1924 Kelso Chron. (24 Oct.) 2:
Tatties and dippy — it was a mael itsel'.
(61) Abd. (Boddam) 1957:
The night after the wedding, those of the guests who were particular friends of the two families were specially invited by the “young men” and “maidens” to another festivity, called “The Taties an' Herrin'.” This was held in the home of the newly-married couple. Large quantities of salt herring boiled on the top of potatoes in their jackets, were provided.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 157:
She's a bonny face, the way the wind pulls her hair back fae her cheeks. Is she looking for a man? Brave northern chuchters, fed on brose and kail and tatties and herring.
Gsw. 2004:
Many Highland associations in Glasgow used to have tatties and herring suppers.
(62) ne.Sc. 1951 Hotch-Potch 11:
When the dinner was rather bare of “kitchie”, they used to call this a “tattie and p'int dinner” — “p'int” meaning pointing to the hams hanging from the roof of the kitchen.
(63) Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 114:
Some will eat more, and others less, Of Tatie scone.
Edb. 1964 J. T. R. Ritchie Singing Street 34:
I hut him wi' a tattie scone.
(64) Lnk. 1895 W. C. Fraser Whaups xiii.:
Short o' workers for the tatie settin'.
Abd. 1952 Buchan Observer (29 April):
Tattie-settin' . . . is now the order of the day.
(65) m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 284:
Like a frosted tatie-shaw.
Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 89:
The tattie-shaws were beginnin tae fill the drill.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 125:
He creeps alang the heid-rig, an' through the tattie-shaws.
(66) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (1 April):
I held twa or tree tattie sheeviks ta da gimmer.
(67) Gsw. 1962 Bill McGhee Cut and Run 44:
If he thought I, for one, was, at any time, going to have a buzz with the police, he was a tattie short.
Edb. 1993:
She's no the full tattie since she started gaun wi that laddie.
(69) ne.Sc. 1894 A. Gordon Northward Ho! 300:
“That's the ticket for 'tatie-soup!” cries a burly ploughman. This exclamation expresses the highest form of approbation.
(71) m.Sc. 1927 D. Carswell Brother Scots 169:
The “tattie strike” [of coalminers] of 1881, so called because the strikers, having no union and no funds, had to subsist on potatoes supplied by the charity of the local shopkeepers and farmers.
(73) Dmf. 1916 Chambers's Jnl. (1 July) 419:
There's only ae tattie-swinger at Glenhead, an' that's me.
(74) Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw 143:
Shut up yer tautie-trap, ye drucken auld ool.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy 175:
Juist you keep your tattie-trap steekit.
(75) Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters xxii.:
He fell to sorting out the potatoes, throwing the bad ones on a heap aside — “tattie-walin”, as they call it in the north.
(77) Ags. 1924 J. M. Smith Nettles 31:
I'm sure John Forsythe you can't afford to waste an afternoon in sic awful tatie weather.
(78) Sh. 1900 Shetland News (9 June):
Yon's as grumly as tattie wushins.
(79) Slk. 1847 W. Crozier Cottage Muse 48:
A snug house, on mountain breast, Wi' a guid 'tata yard.
(80) Lnk. 1895 W. Stewart Lilts 217:
She's no the clean taatie hersel', or she'd hae mair faith in my honesty.
Kcd. 1929 Montrose Standard (4 Oct.):
Ye're no the clean tattie.
Ags. 1990s:
Ah duh hink she's the clean tattie: I don't think she's to be trusted.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 6:
Ah shouda gubbed him wan. That guy wisnae the clean tattie, near he wiz.
(81) Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 217:
At length she consented to gang wi' him hame, An' for life to tak' share o' his tattie.

2. Fig., a contemptuous term for the head (Sh., ‡Abd. 1972).Gsw. 1878 W. Penman Echoes 29:
There's no much in the ‘tattie' O' ane that writes havers like that.

3. Fig., a stupid person, a simpleton (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 191; Sc. 1957 Sunday Post (5 Aug.); Ork., ne. and m.Sc. 1972). Comb. tattie-heid, a thick head, doltish wits, a simple mind.Ags. 1879 Forfar Poets (Fenton) 139:
Gae hame, ye simple tattie.
m.Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 24:
The boys said, “He's a saft tattie.”
Edb. 1897 C. M. Campbell Deilie Jock 174:
Surely noo it's clean, even to your tattie heid.
Ags. 1969 Forfar Dispatch (18 Dec.):
“Fat did she ca' ye then?” “Ye muckle tattie.”

[Aphetic form of potato, with later assimilation to a dim. form in -ie. For the phonetics see Pitawtie. Cf. Eng. reduced forms tatoe, tater, etc.]

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"Tattie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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