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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.

WORTH, v. Also ¶wirth: Pa.t. ¶wort. Pa.p. weak word, oord, wort. To come to be, become, befall, betide; with til: to grow to, turn into. Obs. exc. arch. in Eng.Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 329:
Brichter it grew, While it wot [sic] till a flude o' day.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
I was considering what could be wort of a' the sheep.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man (1972) vii.:
I wonder what can be word o' thae dirty herd callants.
Slk. 1830 Hogg Baron St. Gio (1874) 446:
Ye'll mind your eldest brother weel eneugh. Did ye ever ken what oord o' him?

In phrs. 1. wae or weel worth, may ill or good betide. Arch. See Wae, n., 2. (1)(ix); 2. wirt o' reduced from wae wirt o(n), used imprecatively, = Eng. ‘devil a . . ., not a damned . . .'1. Sc. 1711 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 12:
Wae worth Death, our Sport's a' lost, Since Maggy's dead.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 74:
Well worth a' good takens.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 111:
Wae-wirth that whingin' whig, profession.
Sc. 1870 A. Hislop Proverbs 313:
Weel worth a' that gars the plough draw. Anglice, Good luck to everything by which we earn money.
Abd. 1925 Greig & Keith Last Leaves 5:
Wae worth the han's that brak the ban's That I had on his lady's arms.
2. Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 186:
Yea, wirt o' tha bit a skitter broltie hid was dere!

[O.Sc. worde, pa.p., 1629, weill worth, c.1480, O.E. weorðan, to become.]

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"Worth v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Dec 2023 <>



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