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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.

WHEET, int., n.1, v. Gen. in deriv. forms wheetie, -y, wheatie, -y, whit(t)ie, whattie, -y, whaty-, ¶wattie; wheetitee-; weety; freq. wheetel, -le, wheeter. [′ʍit(i); ʍitl]

I. int. 1. Gen. in dim. wheetie: a call to ducks (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 210; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Abd., Per. 1905 E.D.D., wheet(le); Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 90; Slg., Lnk. (wheetle), s.Sc. 1974). See also Quytie.Peb. 1817 R. Brown Comic Poems 31:
Chucky! wheety! burdy! burd! Pow! pow! assail the ears.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 190:
My duck, wheetie, wheetie, My hen, chuckie, chuckie.
Slg. 1874 in W. Glen Poet. Remains 46:
On Bobby's again repeating it, adding an encouraging wheetel, wheetel, she waddled along.

2. In redupl. forms wheet(ie)-wheet(ie), in imitation of a bird's song.Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 76:
Wheet-wheet! ting-ting! doo-doo! it went — The gowdspink and the linnet.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 221:
Wheetie-wheetie Dickie-bird.

II. n. 1. The peeping sound made by certain birds, esp. young birds (Sc. 1825 Jam., wheetle). Also wheetle-wheet, id.Ags. 1844 Songs for the Nursery 61:
The hen wi' her teuckies thrang scrapin' their meat, Wi' her cluckety-cluck, an' their wee wheetle-wheet.

2. A young bird, esp. a duckling (Lth. 1825 Jam., wheetle) or chicken; a duck (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., wheetie). Also in reduplic. forms wheetie-wheet, wheetle-wheetie (Sc. 1887 Jam.).Sc. 1844 Songs for Nursery 54:
Chuckie wi' her wheetle-wheeties Never grudged a pick o' meat is.

3. The whitethroat, Sylvia communis (Lth. 1825 Jam., wheetie: e.Lth. 1867 W. P. Turnbull Birds E. Lth. 15, wheatie, 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 23. whattie: Ayr. 1909 Science Gossip (Aug.) 227, wheatie; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., whatty); Lnk. 1865 Zoologist XXIII. 9709; Ayr. 1929 Paton & Pike Birds Ayr. 58, wheetes), both so called in imitation of their song.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 16:
A whittie's nest in at the root o' yon rowen tree.

Deriv. and comb. forms: wheetie-whitebeard (Lnk. 1825 Jam.), wheety-why(-bird) (Arg. 1936 L. McInnes S. Kintyre 10), wheaty-why-bird (Ayr., Wgt. 1927 J. M. McWilliam Birds Bute 56), whaty-whey-beard (Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. I. 57), ¶wattie-(Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 209), whatty-whee(-bird), whitie-wha-bird, weety-wat (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), the whitethroat; also the willow-warbler (Ayr. 1929 Paton and Pike Birds Ayr. 58, Ayr. 1974), wheetitee-what (Slg., Clc. c.1895). See also Whey, 1.Slg. 1913 Trans. Slg. Nat. Hist. Soc. 89:
Wheety-Why the whitethroat Dances when he sings.

III. v. 1. Of birds: to twitter, chirp, peep (Sc. 1825 Jam., wheetle; Sc. 1882 Jam., wheetie; Rxb. c.1930; em., wm.Sc. 1974, wheetle). Reduplic. form wheetle-wheetle.Sc. 1850 Blackwood's Mag. (Jan.) 86:
A loud clear wheetle-wheetling note from some curious fowl.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 207:
Wae's me for thae innocent wheetlin' chits, In yon bonny hawthorn tree!
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 93:
The birds 'ill come fleein' doon an' wheetle-wheetle awa' for a whilie.

2. Of persons: to whistle, warble (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (27 Nov.): Abd. 1910, usu. unmelodiously; Ork., Per. 1974); also contemptuously of a church organ. Also fig. of a poet.Clc. 1850 J. Crawford Doric Lays 44:
Caiklin', wheetlin', glaikit thing, Fond to hear thy mither sing.
Gsw. 1872 J. Young Lochlomond Side 23:
I, 'mang ither wheetlin' peers. Drank in the spirit o' the strain.
Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Verses 52:
They maun hae organs gran' To wheetle oot their feeble praise.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 13:
Gran'pa sat a wheetling on his whustle.

[Echoic. Cf. Wheep, Wheeple.]

Wheet interj., n.1, v.

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"Wheet interj., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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