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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

WAT, adj., n., v.1 Also watt (Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 74). Superl. wattest (Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 16). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. wet (see etym. note) (Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 80; Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 82; Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween xv., Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.; Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 106; Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xliv.; Uls. 1879 “Robin” Hum. Readings 7; Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 20; Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 345; em.Sc. 1909 J. Black Melodies 68; Ags. 1932 A. Gray Arrows 55; m., s.Sc. 1973). Hence watish, wettish (Abd. p.1768 A. Ross Fortunate Shep. MS. 56), wat-looking, watness, wat-nurse, etc. For other forms see also Weet, adj. [wɑt]

Sc. usages:

I. adj. 1. Over fond of liquor, intemperate with drink. Also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
They're gey wat lads thae, they'll no part sune.
e.Lth. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 5:
He's getting to be owre wat, an' gin he doesna mind, drink will be his ruin.

2. Sc. combs. (1) watlin, wet land. Used attrib. in quot. in ref. to the ‘wet lands' of Indiana; (2) watshod, (i) having wet feet (Gall. 1885 Bards Gall. (Harper 1889) 50). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. See also Reid, adj., 1. (78); (ii) transf. of the eyes: wet with tears (Ayr. 1973). Obs. in Eng.(1) Ayr. c.1840 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 278:
See our watlin meadows rich Wi' corn an' a' the lave o't.
(2) (ii) Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 105:
Right oft wi' it, my een, watshod.
Gall. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 244:
But the lovelie bride o' Gallowa' Sat wi' a wat-shod ee.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers 79:
The woman's eyes watshod.

II. n. With def. art.: one's wet clothes (Gall. 1905 E.D.D.).Sc. 1776 D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 145:
Cast aff the wat, put on the dry.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
And then the man casts aff the wat and puts on the dry, and sits down ahint the ingle.

III. v. The reduced pa.p. wat (for wattit) is also found, only contextually distinguishable from I. (Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 21). Sc. phrs.: (1) to wat (a cup o') tea, to make (a cup of) tea (wm.Sc. 1973). Also in Eng. and Ir. dial.; (2) to wat thooms on (a bargain), to clinch (a deal) by licking thumbs. See Thoum, n., 2.(1) s.Ayr. 1951 Stat. Acc.3 782:
In course the hostess would announce she was going to ‘wat a cup o' tea'. Then she would get out the ‘cups an' flets'.
(2) Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 222:
“Let's wat thooms on that bargain,” quo' the green woman; sae thooms war wat.

[O.Sc. wat(e), wet, from 1375, as a v., 1576, reduced from the O.E. (Anglian) pa.p. ȝeweted, with a as in P.L.D. § 76.1., or poss. also from O.N. vátr. See Weet.]

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"Wat adj., n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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