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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WAST, adv., prep., adj., v., n. Also wasst (Sh. 1898 Shetland News (1 Oct.), 1931 Shetland News (14 March) 7). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. west (Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. ii.; Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Herds ii.; Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 282; Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.; e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 91; Ags. 1899 Barrie W. in Thrums vii., Kcb. 1913 A. Anderson Later Poems 28, Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson, Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 50; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. See P.L.D. § 76.1. and cf. East.

I. adv. 1. As in Eng., lit. in or to the west. Also in a less specific directional sense, as over, out, away, down, from one side to the other, esp. away from or to the left of the speaker or the person addressed, away from home, etc., more precision being determinable only from the context. Cf. East, II. 2. Freq. in Highl. Sc. as an equivalent of Gael. siar, west, back, sideways, upstream (of a river flowing east).Sc. 1793 Burns in Merry Muses (1911) 121:
Wanton Wattie cam west on 't.
Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 137:
[They] drank till their wames did stand wast.
Sc. 1858 Sc. Haggis 80:
The terms ‘east' and ‘west' are as common with the country people in the Highlands, and are used in the same manner as right and left are in the south. ‘The servant lass has been sewing on the button, and she has put it an inch o'er far west.'
Edb. 1871 A. MacLagan Balmoral 151:
Tell him to come wast the nicht.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 78:
Though some may gang pushin' an' oxterin' past, An' order ye proudly to “stand a bit Wast”.
Sc. 1928 Scots Mag. (July) 275:
That man's place That sits fornent a congregation vast And strummels on an organ east and wast.
Rs. 1950:
Rax east thee 'an an tak wast a scone.
Bnff. 1960 V. Gaffney Lordship Strathavon (S.C.) 35:
The idiom was used in everyday speech and persisted until early in the present century; even indoors, where west = Scots “ben”.

2. Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) bewast, see Bewast prep.; (2) wast about, = (3); (3) west-awa, in or to the west (Slg., Lnk. 1973); (4) west-by, westward, in a westerly direction (Ags., Per. 1973); (5) wast-gaun, western, leading to the west; (6) wast ower(-bye), westwards, to or in the west (Sh., Kcd. 1973); (7) wastrin, westrin, Sc. forms of Eng. western (Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 16; Sh. 1973); (8) wastru, waastroo, adv., id. (Sh. 1973); adj., western, from the west (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh. 1973). See Throu, II.; (9) westweys, westwards; (10) westwith, westwards, in the west. See -With.(2) Per. 1881 D. MacAra Crieff 36:
The natives west about will be as well to keep a good look-out.
(3) Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
The treaty that opened us a road west-awa' yonder?
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 141:
The fair, weel-wooded, pleasant kintry That stretches wast-awa' frae Fintry.
(4) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 72:
[She] taul's ye gaed west-by a wee afore.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxix.:
Whan are we to see you twa wastbye?
Ags. 1894 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. ix.:
We'll get her ta'en Wast bye to Noran Kirkyard?
(5) Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Lowlands Hills 15:
Till gloamin' draps through the wast-gaun yett.
(6) Bnff. 1827 Aberdeen Star (20 July) 313:
We gang wast oerbye for mussels to be bait.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (22 July):
Whin I was waast ower yisterday.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 19. 26:
So I took da koo an medd wast ower.
(8) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (29 July):
Da waastroo boys is met Bawby at da burn as shü cam' trow.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
When will du be gjaain wastru?
(9) Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 158:
Nations maistly gaed westweys lang syne.
(10) Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 43:
Wastwith, the sin i' the reid, reid lift Dwines laich yont the muckle Ben.

II. prep. As in senses I. 1. above, westwards to, along or over, on the west side of, freq. in such phrs. as wast the fleer, across the floor (Abd. 1947), wast the gate, road, street, toun, etc. (ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a) 1973).Fif. 1704 D. Webster Witchcraft (1820) 139:
She went so far west the town before her.
Rxb. 1740 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1918) 11:
Bailly Gledstanes and James Gledstanes, taylor, for west the water, to collect the subscriptions for the bridge.
w.Lth. 1757 Session Papers, Petition W. Smith (4 Feb.) 3:
He was walking West the Street, in company with the Pursuer.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 24:
Rabby got aff at the gallop on his gray powney west the hags.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West 53:
If he would come west the gait, he would be treated wi' a' manner o' respek and cordiality in Paisley.
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gaz. (15 Oct.):
Two carters with their carts both empty, were proceeding west South Street.
Per. 1881 R. Ford Readings 27:
When he cam' bye ye, wast the way.
Ags. 1926 J. M. Smith Puir Man's Pride 24:
Foo dae ye no haud wast the toon to them that hae mair amo' their fingers?
Slg. 1949 W. D. Cocker New Poems 75:
Wha's yon gaed wast the gate?
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 141:
The bold Scott now threw away his crutches like one whom love had healed, and taking this girl by the hand he led her west the town.

III. adj. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) west-ender, an inhabitant of the west end of Hawick (Rxb. 1973); (2) west Highland, originating in the west Highlands, specif. of (i) a hardy breed of beef cattle. Also used as a n., and in deriv. West-Highlander. Cf. Hieland, II. 6. and Hielander, 3.; (ii) a small white breed of terrier. Also White West Highland. Gen.Sc. Hence West Highlander and dim. westie, as a n.; (3) Wastie, see Wastie n.; ¶(4) wastly, westerly; (5) wastmost, most westerly, westernmost (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1973). Chiefly Sc. since 15th c.(1) Rxb. 1919 Jedburgh Gaz. (14 Feb.) 3:
The west-enders on Saturday ‘hailed' four, and the east-enders two.
Rxb. 1924 Hawick Express (1 Feb.) 3:
Maister Thompson, a Wastender like masel.
(2) (i) Sc. 1761 Caled. Mercury (11 April):
Forty Two Stots, from three to five years old, of the West Highland kind.
Arg. 1798 J. Smith Agric. Arg. 235:
That which is found to be best suited for Argyllshire is the true West Highland breed.
Sc. 1875 Encycl. Brit. I. 389:
They [the Pembrokes] excel the West Highlanders in this respect, that they make good dairy cattle.
Sc. 1898 Trans. Highl. Soc. X. 242:
The long-horned majestic West Highlander — has of late years been used for crossing purposes.
Sc. 1916 Trans. Highl. Soc. XXVIII. 165:
Cows and heifers of the Galloway and the West Highland breeds.
(ii) Sc. 1904 D. M. Dennis W. Highl. White Terrier (1967) 15:
West Highland or Poltalloch Terriers.
Sc. 1911 H. Buckley W. Highl. White Terrier 19:
The original [Scotch] terrier was actually of the type of the West Highlander.
Highl. 1944 Dugald Mcintyre Highland Naturalist :
the breed known as the White West Highland or Poltalloch terrier.
Edb. 1956 Edb. Ev. News (22 Dec.) 8:
Westie dog pup, 7 weeks.
(4) Ags. 1910 J. Lee Poems 108:
A wastly wind cam' oot o' Lochee.
(5) Rxb. 1744 J. Wilson Hawick (1858) 131:
This parish, from the eastmost to the westmost house, is about 11 miles in length.
Abd. 1776 Abd. Journal (18 March):
The two Westmost Lotts of the Lands of Stocket.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlii.:
Clinkstyle's wastmost intoon shift rins in wi' a lang nib.
Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Sketches 211:
The bell o' the kirk on the wastmost shore [of Luce Bay].
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 44:
On the riggin' o' the wastmost byre.
Sc. 1947 Scotsman (8 July):
Heritable subjects, comprising the westmost house in the top flat at that address.

2. In a less specific sense: back, left, etc. Cf. I.Per. 1899 C. M. Stuart Sabbath Nights 66:
He's chained to twa o' the quaternion, ane o' them at his east side and ane o' them at the west.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
At the west end of the yard i.e. at the back of the yard.

IV. v. Of the wind: to veer or back to the west (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff, 207; Ork., Slg., Lth. 1973).

Wast adv., prep., adj., v., n.

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"Wast adv., prep., adj., v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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