Observations on the Scottish Dialect
Author(s): Sinclair, Sir John
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IT was the full perſuaſion that a
Collection of Scoticiſms would be
of uſe to my countrymen, not the vanity
of being thought an Author,
which gave riſe to the following Publication.
In compoſing the Work, the Collection
annexed by Mr. Hume to the firſt
Edition of his Political Diſcourſes, and
the Remarks made on the Scottiſh Dialect
by Dr. Beattie and Mr. Elphinſton,
were of eſſential uſe. The Author was
alſo favoured with the aſſiſtance of
other Gentlemen, not unacquainted
with philological ſtudies, who expunged
many errors he had inadvertently
fallen into, and added many
ingenious Obſervations, which otherwiſe
might have been loſt.
But, notwithſtanding every poſſible
attention, the firſt edition of a work
of this nature muſt be deficient in
many important particulars; and can
never be brought to any tolerable degree
of perfection, without the united
efforts of almoſt every individual converſant
in ſuch ſubjects. The Author
has therefore been led (though prudence
would have dictated otherwiſe)
to prefix his name to a performance,
in many reſpects imperfect,
truſting that thoſe who are friends to
ſuch an undertaking, will exert themſelves
in its behalf, and will favour
him with their remarks, aſſiſtance,
THE INTRODUCTION, 1
Phraſes peculiar to Scotland, 11
Words peculiar to the Scots, or which
they uſe in a ſenſe diferent from the
Miſcellaneous words and phraſes, 142
Legal and clerical words and phraſes, 202
Page 4. line 18. for Scotch read Scots.
119. — 8. for gallentree read gallontree.
175. — 8 and 10. for Talumnius read Tolumnius.
[ I ]
GRAMMATICAL diſquiſitions are
accounted, of all others, the dulleſt
and moſt inſipid. To many it ſeems of no
importance, whether this or that word
expreſſes, with the greater purity, a particular
idea: and, perhaps, it is of little
conſequence to any individual, who lives
in a retired and diſtant corner of the country,
in what ſtile his ſentiments are given.
His higheſt ambition generally is to be underſtood,
not to pleaſe his hearers. But
ſuch as wiſh to mix with the world, and
particularly thoſe whoſe object it is to have
ſome ſhare in the adminiſtration of national
affairs, are under the neceſſity of conforming
to the taſte, the manner, and the language
of the Public. Old things muſt then
be done away — new manners muſt be aſſumed,
and a new language adopted. Nor
does this obſervation apply to Scotchmen
only: the ſame remark may be extended
to the Iriſh, to the Welſh, and to the
inhabitants of ſeveral diſtricts in England;
all of whom have many words and
phraſes peculiar to themſelves, which are
unintelligible in the ſenate-houſe, and in
It is not however in a private, but in a
national view, and as a circumſtance of
importance to the Public in general, that
this ſubject ought properly to be conſidered.
Whilſt ſo ſtriking a difference as
that of language exiſts between England
and Scotland, antient local prejudices will
not be removed; nor can it be expected that
two neighbouring nations, which, though
now ſo happily united, were for many
ages at variance with each other, will be able
to conſider themſelves as the ſame people.
A late eminent Stateſman (Archibald Duke
of Argyle) thought a reſemblance or identity
of language of ſuch real national importance,
that he is ſaid to have furniſhed
Mr. Hume with the materials of his printed
collection *. Of late many Scotch authors
have ſhewn an uncommon degree of attention
to the purity of their ſtile and diction:
and if they had publiſhed the diſcoveries
which their knowledge and experience
in compoſition taught them, it would
* I mention this upon the authority of that eminent
phyſician Dr. Cullen, whoſe connexion and intimacy
with the family of Argyle are well known.
have rendered theſe obſervations unneceſſary.
But before we proceed to examine the
differences between the Scotch and Engliſh
dialects, it may not be improper to make a
few ſhort obſervations upon the origin of
the Scottiſh dialect, and to explain the
means by which it became, even in an
early period, ſo general and ſo prevalent in
The Scotch language is acknowledged to
be a dialect of the Saxon or Old Engliſh,
with ſome trifling variations. Indeed the
two languages originally were ſo nearly
the ſame, that the principal differences at
preſent between them, are owing to the
Scotch having retained many words and
phraſes which have fallen into diſuſe among
At firſt, it ſeems difficult to account for
the introduction of a dialect of the Saxon
into a country where the Erſe or Gaelic
was ſpoken; a language not a little celebrated
for its ſtrength and beauty. It
muſt ſtrike every one as an uncommon
circumſtance, that the language of England
ſhould prevail in a ſtate, the members
of which had a rooted enmity to the Engliſh
name: and ſome authors have thought
it neceſſary to account for ſo ſingular a
phenomenon, by endeavouring to trace a
remote connection between the Scots and
Engliſh, even in the foreſts of Germany
* "Nay, they (the Scots) might even bring the
"language they ſpeak (namely, the Broad Scotch)
"out of Germany. For Tacitus tells us the Æſtyii,
"a people of German Scythia, a little to the north of
"Brandenburgh, ſpoke a language that came nearer to
"the Britiſh, though they followed the cuſtoms and
Others, however, are ſatisfied with carrying
their reſearches as far back as the
year 858, when the Saxons, under the
conduct of Oſbreth and Ella, ſubdued the
ſouthern provinces of Scotland, expelled
the antient poſſeſſors, and ſettled there
with their adherents. It is certain that
Lothian, which included the country from
the Frith of Forth to the Tweed, was for
many years inhabited by Saxons, and governed
by the ancient Monarchs of Northumberland.
The inhabitants of that country,
though afterwards ſubdued by the
Scots, retained the manners and language
of their progenitors: and when Edinburgh,
"habits of the Suevians. Now we know from Pto"lemy
and Tacitus, that the Angles or Engliſh were
"Suevians; which makes it more than probable, that
"the Engliſh and Scottiſh were neighbours in Ger"many,
before they dwelt together in Britain."
Free's Eſſay on the Engliſh Tongue, 3d Edit. p. 118.
the principal city of Lothian, became the
capital of Scotland, a dialect of the Saxon,
the language of that province, gradually
ſpread itſelf from the metropolis of the
kingdom, to its moſt northern extremities.
To this we may add, that many Saxons
ſettled in Scotland under the auſpices of
Malcolm Caenmore, and fled thither from
William the Norman's tyranny and oppreſſion
*. And as that country, even in
* "The Normans having thus ſettled themſelves in
"England, Prince Edgar, with his mother and two
"ſiſters, and ſuch of the Engliſh nobility as adhered
"to him, or could not endure the inſolence of the
"Normans, withdrew themſelves into Scotland.
"And Malcolm, the third of that name, having mar"ried
Margaret, the elder of the two ſiſters, the Scot"tiſh
court, by reaſon of the Queen, and the many
"Engliſh that were with her, began to ſpeak Engliſh.
"Moreover, many of the Engliſh nobility and gentry,
"that now came into Scotland, were, by the benevolater
ages, was always a ſecure aſylum to
ſuch of the Engliſh as thought themſelves
injured by their own Monarchs, it became
the uſual place of their retreat. From them
many of the firſt families now in Scotland
derive their origin; whoſe example and
influence could not fail to render the
Engliſh language more generally adopted.
It ought alſo to be obſerved, that it is
very natural for an inferior kingdom to
imitate the manners and language of a
wealthier and more powerful neighbour:
a circumſtance ſtill more to be expected,
when both nations came to be governed
"lence of the King, ſo preferred in one condition or
"other, that they there ſettling themſelves, their off"ſpring
have ſince ſpread themſelves into ſundry very
"noble families, which are yet, unto this day, there
"remaining, and by their ſurnames to be diſcerned."
Verſtegan's Reſtit. of decayed Intell. p. 193. 195,
by the ſame King, who ſeldom viſited Scotland,
and who would not offend the prejudices
of his new ſubjects, by permitting
any other language to be made uſe of at
his court, than that of England.
During the reign of James the Firſt, the
Scotch and Engliſh dialects, ſo far as we
can judge by comparing the language of
the writers who flouriſhed at that time,
were not ſo diſſimilar as they are at preſent.
Time, however, and commerce, joined to the
efforts of many ingenious men, have ſince
introduced various alterations and improvements
into the Engliſh language, which, from
ignorance, inattention, or national prejudices,
have not always penetrated into the
north. But the time, it is hoped, will ſoon
arrive, when a difference, ſo obvious to
the meaneſt capacity, ſhall no longer exiſt
between two countries by nature ſo intimately
connected. In garb, in manners,
in government, we are the ſame; and if
the ſame language were ſpoken on both
ſides of the Tweed, ſome ſmall diverſity in
our laws and eccleſiaſtical eſtabliſhments
excepted, no ſtriking mark of diſtinction
would remain between the ſons of England
The Author of this little performance,
with pleaſure contributes his mite to a
purpoſe ſo truly deſirable.
[ II ]
Phraſes peculiar to Scotland
THOSE who pay attention to their
ſtile and manner of expreſſion,
may not improperly be arranged
into two claſſes: into thoſe who are fond
of needleſsly introducing new words and
phraſes, and into ſuch as are determined
enemies to innovation. Few hit that proper
medium which Pope has ſo well inculcated,
"Be not the firſt, by whom the new are try'd,
"Nor yet the laſt, to lay the old aſide."
Languages, it is certain, are ſubject
to a variety of alterations, and at firſt
they ought to be ſo. The ſame ſounds
which are well calculated to expreſs the
rough ſentiments of a tribe of warlike Barbarians,
ſuch as the Saxons were when
they firſt landed in this iſland, are found,
by experience, too harſh and rugged for
the nicer feelings of their poſterity. Nor
indeed can it be expected, that ſuch a
language ſhould be able to expreſs the vaſt
accumulation of new and varied ideas that
neceſſarily ariſe in a learned and commercial
nation. There are few who will not
allow, that it was requiſite to ſoften and
improve the barbarous dialect brought into
Britain by Hengiſt and Horſa, deſcribed
by the Hiſtorian of the Engliſh language
as a ſpeech curſory and extemporaneous,
abrupt and unconnected, and probably,
without even an alphabet *.
But, on the other hand, it may be obſerved,
that there is a point beyond which
alterations ought not to be raſhly complied
with, and muſt prove equally pernicious,
whether their object be to introduce new,
or to explode old and well-known words
and phraſes. Indeed, when a language (as
was the caſe with that of England in the
reign of Queen Anne) has once acquired
an ample ſhare of ſtrength, copiouſneſs
and beauty, material changes are ſeldom
neceſſary, and in general ought to be carefully
* Vide Johnſon's Hiſt, of the Engliſh Language,
in his Folio Dictionary.
If that age, therefore, is to be conſidered
as the claſſical period of the Engliſh language,
a Scoticiſm may be defined to be
that mode of ſpeaking or writing (for it
is difficult to draw the line between colloquial
and written idioms) which now
prevails in Scotland, and is neither at this
time generally known in England, nor
was current at the æra we have mentioned.
The following idioms, which, it is preſumed,
come under that deſcription, are
thoſe which the Author has had an opportunity
SCOTCH and ENGLISH
Scotch.To want for any thing.
Engliſh. To be without any thing not
Ex. Though the plague raged in London,
we wanted it (inſtead of we had it not, or
were without it) in Scotland *.
To cauſe a perſon to do any thing.
To make a perſon do any thing.
* The verb want, ſays Dr. BEATTIE, denotes, I. To
wiſh for. Ex. What do you want? I want a candle.
2. To be without ſomething fit, neceſſary, or good. Ex.
He wants his ſight. 3. To be without ſomething not
good, or deſirable: but in this ſenſe it is never uſed, unleſs
preceded by a negative. Thus, "They never want
"the plague at Conſtantinople," is good Englifh; but it
would be reckoned a Scoticiſm to ſay, "By the laſt ac"counts
from the Levant, it appears they wanted the
"plague at Conſtantinople."
Uſing cauſe for make, is a frequent and
To do bidding.
To do what is bidden or ordered.
Hinder to do.
Hinder from doing.
"Hindered not Satan to pervert the mind,"
may be found in Milton; but that idiom, if it
was not originally a poetical licence, is now
obſolete. "Contented himſelſ to do," inſtead
of "contented himſelf with doing," is alſo
To do any thing to purpoſe.
To do any thing to the, or to good, purpoſe.
A purpoſe-like perſon is alſo erroneouſly
made uſe of in Scotland, for a perſon ſeemingly
well qualified for any particular buſineſs
He behoved to do it.
It behoved him, he muſt or was obliged, to
There is no word that Scotch authors are
more apt to uſe improperly than the word
behove, which is ſeldom made uſe of by
Engliſh writers, except in very ſolemn ſtile;
and even then only imperſonally.
To affront any one.
To eclipſe, or get the better of any one.
This ſenſe of the word affront, according
to Dr. Johnſon, is peculiar to the Scottiſh
dialect, of which a paſſage from Arbuthnot
is cited as an example.
To think ſhame.
To be aſhamed.
To think ſcorn., for to diſdain, is old Engliſh.
Eſther iii. 6. To think long, for, to think
the time long, ſtands in the ſame predicament.
To take notice, or to mention.
There is this difference, ſays Mr. Elphinſton,
between the Scotch and English
dialects; that in the former, to notice, is
miſapplied, for to take notice, whereas in
the latter, it only ſignifies to give it.
To draw cuts.
To caſt lots.
Drawing cuts, though formerly made uſe
of by Locke and Sidney (vide Johnſon's
Folio Dict. Voce Cut, No. 7.), and ſtill a
colloquial phraſe in ſome Parts of England,
is now generally exploded.
To tak' tent.
To take heed.
A ſtory is told of an Engliſh lady, who
conſulted a phyſician from Scotland, and
being deſired by him to tak' tent, underſtood
that tent wine was preſcribed her, which
ſhe took accordingly. It is not ſaid what
was the conſequence of this miſtaken preſcription;
but as that ſpecies of wine is far
from being a ſpecific for every diſorder,
this is a phraſe which, by the faculty at leaſt,
ought to be carefully avoided.
To be ſeized with a fever.
To ſteik a door.
To ſhut a door.
To tak' the door with one, is alſo made
uſe of by the vulgar in Scotland, for, to
ſhut the door after one.
To ſneck the door.
To latch, or ſhut, the door.
The ſneck, or ſnecket, of a door, is
the latch, by which the doors of the
common people are generally faſtened.
This, and ſome other phrases which are
accounted Scoticiſms, are not uncommon
in ſome parts of England, particularly in
the North; but a phraſe being provincial
or current among the vulgar in England,
is no reaſon why it ſhould be made uſe of
by ſuch Scotchmen as with to be diſtinguiſhed
by the elegance of their ſtile, or the
purity of their expreſſion.
To give one a hat.
To make a bow to any one.
To give one a hat, in the common dialect
of Scotland, does not imply, making the preſent
of a hat to a perſon, but only pulling it
off, as a mark of reſpect and attention.
To make ſongs on one.
To praiſe one much.
To make ſongs on one, in the Scottiſh dialect,
is to praiſe one much, either in proſe or
verſe. The Scotch were, formerly, much
addicted to poetry; and from the cuſtom,
ſo frequent in Scotland, of making ſongs
in praiſe of a perſon in verſe, that phraſe
came at laſt to ſignify, great praiſes in the
duller vehicle of proſe.
To make a phraſe about one.
To make a great work about one.
To make of one.
To make much of one.
To make up to a lady.
To make an offer of marriage to a lady.
To make up to a perſon, in England, only
means, to advance towards a perſon, and to
begin a converſation.
To caſt out with a perſon.
To fall out with a perſon.
To cut out one's hair.
To cut off one's hair.
As cutting out, implies roots and all, it
would probably be found a very cruel and
To follow out a plan.
To carry on, execute, or finiſh, a plan.
To follow out a chain of reaſoning.
To trace out a chain of reaſoning.
To open up a wound.
To open, or lay open, a wound.
To go even up a hill.
To go ſtraight up a hill.
To inſiſt for a thing.
To inſiſt on, or upon, a thing.
To call for a perſon.
To call on a perſon.
To call for, is to demand; to call on, is to
viſit. This diſtinction ought to be attended
To wait on a perſon.
To wait for a perſon.
To wait on a perſon, implies his being
preſent, and your attending him. To wait
for; his being abſent, but your expecting to
To tell upon one.
To tell of one.
To tell on one, is called, by Dr. Johnſon,
a doubtful phraſe; but to tell upon one, is,
without doubt, improper.
To be married on one.
To be married to one.
Married with, I believe, is alſo exploded,
To meet one upon the ſtreet.
To meet one in the ſtreet.
To have a watch upon one.
To have a watch about one.
To ſee about one.
To ſee, inquire, or look after one.
One may ſee about himſelf, but he muſt
look after another perſon.
Come in by.
Come in, or draw near.
To come into the fire.
To come, or draw, near the fire.
To be liable in a compenſation.
To be liable to a compenſation.
To make a point of honour in any thing.
To make a point of honour of any thing.
To be provided in a living, or office.
To be provided with a living, or office.
To profit from experience.
To profit by experience.
To blow the bellows.
To blow the fire with the bellows.
If blowing the bellows is Engliſh, it is
ſurely a ridiculous expreſſion.
To ſtick any thing.
To ſpoil any thing in the execution.
To be ill to guide.
To be difficult to manage.
To be a good guide of any thing.
To be a good husband, or manager, of any
To art one to any thing.
To direct or point out any thing to one.
The verb art, is probably derived from
the Gaelic aird, a coaſt or quarter. Hence
the Scots alſo ſay, what art, for what
quarter, does the wind blow from?
To fall in the gutter.
To fall in the dirt.
A gutter, is properly a paſſage for water;
not the dirt or water with which it may be
To be loſt in a river.
To be drowned in a river.
Unleſs the body was loſt, as is generally
the caſe at ſea, and could not be diſcovered,
the phraſe is exceptionable. It is, ſometimes
however, made uſe of in England.
To be out of one's judgment.
To be out of one's ſenſes.
The Scotch phraſe is ſurely preferable,
becauſe a lunatic may have loſt his judgment,
and yet have his ſenſes in perfection.
And if, in the Engliſh phraſe, it is ſaid, that
the reaſon or underſtanding is meant, why
is ſenſes in the plural?
To be angry at a man.
To be angry with a man.
Angry at, may be found in the Spectator,
No. 197. in fine, but it is at preſent confined
to Scotland. Properly ſpeaking, we
may be angry at a thing, but with, and not
at, a perſon.
To have hatred at a man.
To have hatred to a man.
To aſk, inquire, or demand at a man.
To aſk, inquire, or demand of a man.
To aſk at, &c. is a French, and not an
To ſet off on a journey.
To ſet out on a journey.
At leaſt ſetting out is preferable.
To look over a window.
To look out at a window.
To look. over a window, can only refer to
a window below, and not to the one you
look out at.
To crave a man for a debt.
To aſk, demand, or dun a man for a debt.
To crave a debt, or payment of a debt,
cannot be objected to.
To challenge, or quarrel any one.
To reprove, or rebuke any one.
To lay our account with an event.
To expect, or previouſly apprehend an
To meet with one's marrow.
To meet with one's match or equal.
Meeting with one's marrow, is an old
Engliſh phraſe, now grown obſolete.
To even one thing to another.
To equal or compare one thing to another.
To even, is ſometimes made uſe of in
Scotland, for to lay out one perſon for another
in marriage. Nor does it matter whether
the match is equal or not: generally
it is unequal, and the perſon who is ſaid to
be evened to the other, has the better of the
To be well appointed with a houſe, ſervant,
To be well ſettled in a houſe, and well
ſuited with a ſervant.
To be reconciled with a perſon.
To be reconciled to a perſon.
To have a reſemblance with one.
To have a refemblance to one.
To be prevailed with to do any thing.
To be prevailed upon to do any thing.
To burſt for laughing.
To burſt with laughing.
Addiſon fays, to die for thirſt; but of, or
by thirſt, ſeems to be preferable.
To bring a note for one.
To bring a note to one.
The note, it may be ſaid, is carried for
the perſon it is ſent by, and to the perſon to
whom it is directed.
What's your will?
What would you have? What do you want?
or What was you ſaying?
There is no colloquial idiom more common
with Scotchmen, or more diſagreeable
to the Engliſh, than What's your will?
As I shall anſwer.
Upon my honour, I proteſt, or declare.
The Scotch phraſe ſeems to be elliptic,
for, as I ſhall anſwer at the great day of
Let me be.
Let me alone.
I am hopeful that.
I hope that.
I furniſhed goods to him.
I furniſhed him with goods.
I have no fault to him.
I have no fault with him, or, to find with
I cannot think enough of ſuch a thing.
I cannot help thinking of it; or, I am aſtoniſhed,
I cannot underſtand it.
One would readily imagine.
One would naturally imagine.
Readily properly means with expedition,
or, with little hinderance or delay.
He will ſome day repent it.
He will one day repent it.
He is preſently in London.
He is now, or at preſent, in London.
He is colded.
He has got a cold.
The Scots alſo ſay, he has got the cold,
for, he has got a cold.
He is ſome better.
He is ſomewhat, or a little better.
He is the better of ſuch a thing.
He is the better for ſuch a thing.
Ex. He was much the better of (for) his
journey to Bath.
He was in uſe to do it.
He uſed, or was in the habit of doing it.
He is ten years old next May.
He was nine years old laſt May.
The impropriety lies in aſſerting a circumſtance
which, by the death of the perſon,
may never happen, inſtead of affirming
what is certain, and has already happened.
He is not fit to hold water to ſuch a one.
He is not fit to be compared to ſuch a one.
It is ill your common.
It ill becomes you.
Come, ſay away.
Have with you.
I'll go with you.
Shakeſpeare makes uſe of, have with you,
in his Merry Wives of Windsor, Act II.
Have you any word to him.
Have you any letter, or commands, to him.
Word, for command or meſſage, is an old
Shakeſpearian phraſe, now exploded. It
may be alſo found in the Engliſh Bible.
I am the more impatient of pain, that I have
hitherto enjoyed good health.
I am the more impatient of pain, as, or becauſe,
I have hitherto enjoyed good
This is, properly ſpeaking, a Galliciſm;
another inſtance of which occurs in the
following phraſe: "I expected to have ſeen
"you, as you ſaid you were to be in town;
"and that (as, or becauſe) you promiſed
"to call on me."
Though one ſhould meet with diſappointments,
he ſhould never abandon himſelf to deſpair.
Though one ſhould meet with diſappointments,
one ſhould never abandon one's
ſelf to deſpair.
It is obſerved by an ingenious critic
(Remarks on the Engliſh Language, printed
Anno 1770, p. 23), that he or ſhe can
never properly be introduced as relatives to
the indefinite noun one. The impropriety
will appear particularly ſtriking, in an example,
where ſhe is made uſe of as the relative
pronoun. "Though one ſhould be
"admired for grace and beauty, ſhe ſhould
"never ſuffer her mind to be neglected."
It is blooding.
Kibed, or ſore heels.
Chaped lips, or hands.
Chopt lips, or broken into chinks.
A ſore head.
A head-ach, or pain in the head.
Sore, implies excoriation, and cannot,
therefore, with propriety be made uſe of,
if the head only aches.
Weak or tender eyes.
Sore eyes, would imply their being ſo
very bad and diſagreeable to look at, that
polite people rather make uſe of the words
weak, or tender. And adding clean, as,
a clean ſhirt, when a plate, knife, handkerchief,
&c. is called for, is reckoned indelicate,
as it implies a dread, that a dirty
plate, &c. might be brought. Perſpire, is
alſo generally made uſe of by polite people,
for ſweat, and certainly expreſſes the ſame
idea in a more delicate manner.
Swell'd cheek is more proper, but not ſo
common in England.
For my part.
In place of
This is a Scoticiſm often fallen into.
This much, and that much.
Thus much, and ſo much.
Spick and ſpan new, is ſometimes uſed
Our whole actions.
All our actions,
The whole way.
All the way.
The whole ſpeeches.
All the ſpeeches.
Yet the whole proceedings is good Engliſh,
on account of their forming one whole,
the parts of which are naturally related to
A gone man.
A dead, loſt, or ruined man.
Perhaps gone, may not be without ſome
Conviction on a thing.
Conviction of a thing.
As the verbal phraſe is to depend on, independent
of a common Scoticiſm, in Dr.
Johnſon's opinion, is an improper idiom.
Here, alſo, it may be proper to take
notice of ſome obſervations made by that
excellent grammarian Dr. Prieſtley (vide
his larger Grammar, p. 158.), regarding
the prepoſition "of;" which Mr. Hume,
and other Scotch, and indeed Engliſh writers,
are apt to uſe as the French do their
prepoſtion "de," and conſequently in a
manner not at all ſuited to the genius of
the Engliſh language. Such Galliciſms
would not he pardonable in a tranſlator
from the French, and arc ſurely very culpable
in an original author. Examples from
Hume. "Richlieu profited of [by] every
"circumſtance which the conjuncture af"forded."
"The king of England pro"vided
of [with] every ſupply." To
provide a perſon in, for with, food and
raiment, is alſo exceptionable. "It is
"ſituation, which decides of [concerning]
"the fortunes of men." "Of [for] which
he was extremely neceſſitous." "He
"was eager of recommending it [to recom"mend
it] to his fellow-citizens." "The
"eſteem which Philip had conceived of
"[for] the ambaſſador." "An indem"nity
of [for] paſt offences." "Youth
"wandering in foreign countries, with as
"little reſpect of [for] others, as prudence
"of their own." Other examples. "You
"know the eſteem I have of [for] this
"philoſophy." "The good lady was
"careful of ſerving me of [with] every
"thing." "It might, perhaps, have given
"me a greater taſte of [for] its antiqui"ties."
A taſte of a thing, implies actual
enjoyment; a taſte for it, only ſignifies
a capacity of enjoying.
Dr. Prieſtley alſo obſerves (p. 166), that
though we ſay to depend on, or to depend
upon a thing, to promiſe upon a thing is improper.
Ex. "This effect we could not be"fore-hand
promiſe upon," for "we could
"not before-hand promiſe ourſelves."
A man who writes.
A man who has written.
Ex. Mr. Hume, who writes [has written]
the Hiſtory of England. Yet it may
be ſaid, with propriety, ſuch a one writes
the London Gazette, or the Annual Regiſter,
becauſe they are unfiniſhed works, and
conſtantly going on.
A good hand of writ.
A good hand-writing.
A good hand of writ, is a very common
Scoticiſm, which ought to be moſt carefully
Such a thing has been.
Such a thing muſt have been.
Ex. Wallace has been [muſt have been]
a ſtrong, as well as brave man, or he could
not have done what he did.
This hero was not more conſpicuous for
his valour, than for his love of liberty.
The following rhymes, more remarkable
at the ſame time for their ſpirit, than their
beauty, it is ſaid, he uſed often to repeat, to
encourage his followers:
"Dico tibi verum, libertas optima rerum,
"Nunquam ſervili, ſub nictu vivito fili."
Abundance of ſuch a thing.
A great deal of ſuch a thing.
In Scotland, abundance is made uſe of for
ſufficient, or enough; whereas in England it
means plenty, or exuberance.
A neafful and hantle of any thing.
A handful, or ſmall quantity of any thing.
Neafful comes from neif, or neaf, a word
uſed by Shakeſpear for fiſt. Hantle is a corruption
of handful. Lock, alſo, Ex. "a lock of
"ſheep," ſeems to be corrupted from flock.
This day eight days.
This day ſe'nnight.
The ancient Germans, we are informed
by Tacitus, counted their time by the number
of nights, and not of days; and the
practice, except among the French and
Scots, has always been general among
northern nations; probably in conſequence
of the ſhortneſs of their days in the winter
ſeaſon, compared with the greater length
and duration of the night. How the Scots
came to be an exception, can only be accounted
for by their connection with France,
and their imitation of the Gallic idiom,
The learned Bayle, in his diſſertation concerning
the ſpace of time called day, annexed
to the laſt volume of his Critical
Dictionary, § 2, has thrown together ſeveral
obſervations upon this ſubject. He
affirms, that in ſome places even in France,
they ſay anuict [to-night] for aujourd'-
huy [to-day]; and that in Germany, inſtead
of ſaying St. John's day, and St.
Martin's day, they ſay St. John's night,
and St. Martin's night. They muſt avoid,
therefore, ſuch ſtrange anomalies as this
day ſe'nnight, and this day fortnight.
This day ſe'nnight, and this day fortnight,
are certainly odd phraſes, and, ſtrictly
ſpeaking, improper. But, as the Scots
make uſe of this day fortnight, and not of
this day fifteen days, as the French do of
quinze jours, as well as huit jours, it is incongruous
not to adopt the one phraſe as
well as the other.
Tueſday come ſe'nnight, Tueſday was fe'nnight,
The Engliſh ſuppoſe they can underſtand
from the reſt of the ſentence, whether time
paſt, or time to come, is meant; and the
Scots may pay themſelves the compliment
of believing it is in their power to do the
Once in the two days.
Every other day.
Every other day, implies that one day
intervenes between the other; whereas
once in the two days, does not mean alternately,
and leaves it uncertain, whether one
day intervenes or two.
Once in the week, or year.
Once a week, or year.
Ex. I ride out once in the [a] week. The,
only denotes one particular week. Whereas
the article a, has an indefinite ſignification,
and ſtands for any, or every.
Half ſix o'clock, &c.
Half an hour paſt five, or, half an hour to
Yet this ellipſis, as Mr. Elphinſton obſerves,
is almoſt as eaſily ſupplied, as in
the Engliſh phraſe of half after five, for,
half an hour after five, &c.
The firſt of a month or year.
The beginning of a month or year.
Ex. An event that happened on the ſecond,
or third of January, according to the
Scotch dialect, happened in the firſt of the
month, and the firſt of the year.
The morrow's morning.
(Uſually in England)
The morn's night.
Morn, ſays Dr. Johnſon, is not uſed but
by the poets, at leaſt in England.
But the Engliſh ſay, yeſterday, and not
laſt day, as the Scots do. Ex. I ſaw him
the laſt day (for yeſterday, or the other
day) in town.
The ſtrein, or yeſtrein
Strein, ſeems to be a corruption of the
Latin heſternus; and yeſtrein, of yeſter
The third ſeaſon of the year, is almoſt
univerſally called harveſt, inſtead of autumn,
Rough, or ſtormy weather.
The length of ſuch a place.
As far as ſuch a place.
Length, for diſtance, is made uſe of by
Clarendon, but not by more modern authors.
The knock ſtrikes.
The clock ſtrikes.
Clocks are called knocks, in ſome parts of
Scotland, from the noiſe they make.
The clock is behind.
The clock is ſlow, or goes ſlow.
A few days thereafter.
A few days after.
Thereafter, for after, is a common Scoticiſm.
It properly means accordingly, or
according to, and not after that time, or
The plight of the ſeaſon (old Engliſh, for)
The height of the ſeaſon.
When every thing is in good caſe, or plight.
He is twenty years, or thereby.
Thereby, is properly, by means of that,
and not about that, or near that.
A tour of viſits.
A round, or number or viſits.
A great many company.
Much company, a great deal of company,
or, a great many people.
All our friends and acquaintances.
All our friends and acquaintance.
At leaſt acquaintance is preferable.
Beſt man and beſt maid
Bride-man and bride-maid.
Indeed the Scots and Engliſh affix a different
meaning to the word bride, which is,
properly, one who has been lately married,
and not one going to be married, according
to the Scotch idiom. The former alſo
make uſe of tocher, an Erſe word, for
dower, or portion; and jo, from joie, French,
A fine flower.
A fine noſegay.
A flower is only a fingle one; a bunch,
or bouquet of flowers, is properly a noſegay.
A fine lad
A very good kind of lad; or, a very good.
A fine girl.
A good-natured, good kind of girl.
In England, a fine girl, means not a
good-natured, but a ſhowy, and handſome
girl; and a fine lady, one who is nice in
her dreſs, and affected in her ſentiments
A pretty man.
A polite, ſenſible man.
A pretty man, in England, is a deſpicable
character, the words implying beauty of
perſon, with ſcarcely any other accompliſhment;
but in Scotland, it is often uſed in
the ſenſe of graceful, beautiful with dignity,
or well accompliſhed
A gentlemanny, man.
A gentlemanlike, or gentlemanly man.
A young man.
In the Engliſh verſion of the Bible,
young man is made uſe of in the ſame
An old wife.
An old woman.
None are wives but ſuch as are married,
which old women ſometimes are not.
The London copy (of a book).
The London edition.
A good thing by-hand.
A good thing over.
Out of hand
Ex. He did ſuch a thing out of hand, for,
he did it immediately. At the ſame time,
out of hand, may be found both in Spenſer
\and Shakeſpear, and is ſtill occaſionally uſed.
Ex. I ſhould be glad to ſee you or (before)
As ſuch a thing.
Than ſuch a thing.
Ex. I love claret better as (than) port,
and ſtill better as (than) white-wine.
Sometimes the Scotch and Engliſh dialects
only differ in orthography, of which the
following words are inſtances.
The Scots indeed frequently pronounce
admiralty, admirality; deriving that word
from the Latin admiralitas, and not as the
Engliſh do, from the French ammiralté.
Pin, by the vulgar, alſo, is generally called
prin, another ſingular corruption in the
pronunciation, or the orthography. And
in ſome parts of Scotland, particularly in
the north, humble, is very improperly pronounced
humeble, as if the u had the ſame
ſound in that word that it has in humility.
Yet the Englifh univerfally write collection,
and reflection; and ſome authors have
even given connection the preference.
Ordonance, or ordinance,
Oeconomy, (now commonly written)
Deſcendants is preferable, becauſe it is
proper to make a diſtinction between the
noun and the adjective. Yet the Engliſh
write independents, and not independants,
which they ought to do by analogy.
Deſireable and reſolveable.
Deſirable and reſolvable.
The two laſt being the moſt common,
ought to be particularly guarded againſt.
The Scots are alſo apt to err in ſpelling
the plural of words ending in y, in general
ys, inſtead of ies. Ex. familys, for families;
extremitys, for extremities, &c.
Sometimes the Scots uſe the singular for
the plural, the plural for the ſingular, and
a noun for an adjective.
This is an impropriety which even Mr.
Hume was guilty of. You, is confeſſedly
plural; and therefore the verb, agreeably to
the analogy of all languages, ought to be
in the plural alſo. Indeed, if you, were a
pronoun ſingular, you waſt, and not you
was, would be the proper idiom.
Three ſheet of paper.
Three ſheets of paper.
Stairs, or a pair of ſtairs.
A ſtair, in modern Engliſh, is not the
whole order of the ſteps, but only one ſtep,
or one ſmall diviſion of the ſtairs. There
is alſo a diſtinction between ſtairs and ſteps.
Stairs are thoſe within the houſe; ſteps
Ex. It will be the mean (the means) of
procuring ſuch a thing. But care ſhould be
taken, as Dr. Johnſon well remarks, not
to make uſe of means with a pronoun ſingular;
an error which is often fallen into,
even by good writers. Ex. He carried it
through by theſe (and not by that) means.
Hence Mr. Hume has ungrammatically ſaid
(Hiſt. Vol. VIII, p. 65.), leſt this means,
for, theſe means, ſhould fail
This word has no plural termination;
but though ſeverals is improper, others
may be uſed.
Ex. As you may either marry, or live
ſingle, you have two very good alternatives,
for, one very good alternative. Two alternatives,
would mean the choice of four
Ex. "I have no objections (objection) to
"ride out with you to-day."
But I received your favours of the fifth
and tenth current, &c. is proper. In favours
of, for, in favour of, is however exceptionable.
John and Charles Thomſons; and the like.
John and Charles Thomſon.
The broth are very good.
The broth is very good.
It is a common error in Scotland to ſuppoſe
that broth, cabbage, ſpinnage, and pottage,
or porridge, are in the plural number.
N. B. He has got his broth, is a common
Scotch phraſe, for, he is tipſy.
The Aberdeen's Journal.
The Aberdeen Journal.
Aberdeen is here made uſe of (ſays Dr.
Beattie) as an adjective, and conſequently
the addition of 's, denoting the genitive
caſe, is highly ungrammatical; for Engliſh
adjectives have no caſe, gender, or number.
The Scotch and Engliſh dialects, alſo differ
Give me it, ſhow me it.
Give it me, ſhow it me.
Any body elſe's.
Any body's elſe.
A pretty enough girl
A pretty girl enough.
Dr. Prieſtley obſerves, that an adjective
ſhould not be separated from its ſubſtantive,
even by words which modify its
meaning, and make but one ſenſe with it.
Hence he objects to the following phraſes
of Mr. Humes: A large enough number
ſurely, for a number large enough. The
lower ſort of people are good enough judges
of one not very diſtant from them, for are
judges good enough. Ten thouſand is a large
enough baſe, for a baſe large enough.
Picktooth, and picktooth-caſe, may be
found even in Swift, but are now accounted
Scoticiſms. An Engliſh wag being aſked
why he gave toothpick the preference,
replied, "That, for his part, he put tooth
"firſt, becaufe one muſt have teeth, be"fore
it was neceſſary to pick them."
Tomkins Leſlie; and the like.
Double ſurnames are placed differently
by the Scots and Engliſh. For in England,
the name a perſon wiſhes to be particularly
known by, is put laſt, and in Scotland firſt.
Ex. A perſon that has two names, ſuppoſe
Leſlie and Tomkins, and wiſhes to be called
Mr. Tomkins, in Scotland muſt call himſelf
Tomkins Leſlie, and in England, Leſlie Tomkins
There are other examples of improper arrangement,
which, though not the monopoly
of Scotland, yet ought to be avoided.
I better had.
I had better.
As ever I ſaw.
As I ever ſaw.
To which may be added, fork and knife,
for knife and fork; milk and bread, for
bread and milk; butter and bread, for bread
and butter; pepper and vinegar, for vinegar
and pepper; paper, pen, and ink, for pent
ink, and paper. The ear is the beſt dictator
of arrangement, and the Engliſh, in general,
aſſign the firſt place to the moſt important
article, and the laſt to the longeſt
The Scots are alſo fond of expletives, and
ſometimes of ellipſes.
Say the grace.
The ſeventeen hundred and forty--five.
Seventeen hundred and forty-five.
Ex. Such a thing happened in the 1745,
is a phraſe by which a Scotchman might
be diſtinguiſhed. The forty-five, for ſeventeen
hundred and forty-five, is an ellipſe peculiar
Go to the ſchool, or church.
Go to ſchool, or church.
Notwithſtanding of that.
Mr. Hume is often guilty of this impropriety.
Ex. "Notwithſtanding of this un"lucky
example." "Notwithſtanding of the
"numerous panegyrics on the ancient Eng"liſh
liberty." In ſuch caſes, the prepoſition
of is ſurely ſuperfluous, and ought to
have been avoided.
A little more of bread.
A little more bread.
Will you ſtay to dinner, tea, &c.
Will you ſtay dinner.
Will you ſtay to dine with us, with propriety
may be uſed.
To be a miſſing.
To be miſſing.
I love for to do good.
I love to do good.
For to, at the ſame time, is in the Eng1iſh
verſion of the Bible.
I gave him a pen for till write with.
I gave him a pen to write with.
This idiom has now become vulgar,
even in Scotland.
I was not ſo well laſt winter.
I was not well laſt winter.
It is improper to ſay ſo well, unleſs as
follows: Ex. I was not ſo well laſt winter,
as I was the winter before.
The ellipſes are equally numerous; for
Is he in?
Is he within?
Goat milk and whey.
Goat's milk and whey.
A bit bread, paper, &c.
A bit of bread, paper, &
A juſtice of peace.
A juſtice of the peace.
In writing, it is always a juſtice of the
At worſt. [Hume's Hiſt.Vol. vi. p. 435.]
At the worſt.
To go out walking.
To go out a walking.
To be out riding.
To be out a riding.
He wrote me.
He wrote to me, or he wrote me a letter.
'Tis a week ſince he left this.
'Tis a week ſince he left this place.
I ſhall quarrel you.
I ſhall quarrel with you.
There are alſo many falſe formations in the
Scottish dialect, which ought to be avoided;
Ex. He catched (caught) cold. This is
a. very common Scoticiſm, formerly current
Proven, improven, &c.
Proved, improved, &c.
At leaſt, he ran a great way, and he
drank a great deal, is preferable.
Ex. Which in ſome cave, or vaulted cavern hings,
Woven thick with complicated feet and wings,
Epigoniad, Book ix. p. 285.
The Scots are alſo apt to mutilate the termination
of time paſt, in verbs ending with
t, as breakfaſt; or te, as educate. For
Have you breakfaſt.
Have you breakfaſted.
Are you acquaint with him.
Are you acquainted with him.
The houſe is well ſituate.
The houſe is well ſituated.
Where was he educate?
Where was he educated ?
The enemy was defeat.
The enemy was defeated.
He dedicate his book.
He dedicated his book,
He communicate it.
He communicated it.
Yet, in the Pſalms, it is ſaid, they are
confederate againſt thee.
But there is nothing that the inhabitants of
Scotland are ſo apt to err in, as in the
uſe they make of ſhall and will, ſhould and
would, there and thoſe: at the ſame time,
it is eaſier to remark the difference, than
to explain the principles on which it ought
to be corrected.
The principal error of the Scots, in their uſe
of ſhall and will, originates from ſuppoſing
ſhall, more emphatical and expreſſive
in the firſt perſons ſingular and plural,
than will; which, though it might be ſupported
by ſome examples from the old poets,
yet is far from being the caſe in modern
poetry, and far leſs in modern proſe. For
I will come, we will come — denotes, I am
determined to come, and implies a firm reſolution,
a promiſe, or a threat.
Thou wilt come, he will come, ye will
come, they will come — expreſſes futurity
I ſhall come, we ſhall come — only foretels
what may happen.
Thou ſhalt come, he ſhall come, ye ſhall
come, they ſhall come. — In theſe perſons,
ſhall continues the emphatical ſenſe of will,
and implies a promiſe, a threat, or a command.
As an inſtance of the different manner in
which the Scots and Engliſh uſe ſhall and
will, in the firſt perſon ſingular, a ſtory is
told of a Scotchman, who having fallen
into a river in England, had almoſt periſhed
in it, in conſequence of his calling out,
I will, for I ſhall be drowned; the ſpectators
having for ſome time heſitated, whether
they ſhould venture their own lives
for the ſafety of one, who, as they were led
to imagine, was determined to make away
Will I do this, or that, for ſhall I, is not
unuſual in Scotland. "Will I help you to
a bit of beef? &c." for example, is a
common phraſe at the tables of Scotchmen;
and as it properly means am I willing to
help you? and, conſequently does not neceſſarily
denote any inclination in the ſpeaker,
it is far from being ſuited to the hoſpitable
character of our countrymen. Will I buy
a horſe? for ſhall I, is alſo a very improper
expreſſion; for, if it means any thing
at all, it would imply, "am I reſolved to buy
a horſe?" It may be obſerved, with Dr.
Prieſtley, when a queſtion is asked, that
ſhall, in the firſt perſon, is uſed in a ſenſe
different from both its other ſenſes. For,
Shall I write? for inſtance, means, Is it
your pleaſure that I ſhould write? But will,
in the ſecond perſon, reverts to its other
uſual ſenſe; for, Will you write? means,
Is it your intention to write or not?
There is reaſon to believe, ſays Mr.
Hume, that the Scotch was the old method
of uſing ſhall and will; but that it
was gradually altered, as the Engliſh grew
more polite. It became the courteſy of
England to make uſe of will, when ſpeaking
to others, or of them, becauſe that
term implies volition only, even where the
event muſt happen; and ſhall, when ſpeaking
of themſelves, which implies conſtraint,
though the event is the ſubject of choice
It is alſo in the firſt perſons ſingular and
plural, that the Scots are moſt apt to err, in
the uſe they make of ſhould and would.
I would, implies only an inclination in the
ſpeaker. I ſhould, an obligation upon him,
with or without inclination. In vain would
we do ſuch a thing, means, in vain would
we have the inclination to do it. In vain
ſhould we do ſuch a thing, implies, in vain
ſhould we carry it into execution. Mr. Hume
obſerves, where a condition, and the conſequcnce
of that condition, is expreſſed in a
ſentence, that the former, in the ſecond
and third perſons, always requires ſhould,
and the latter would. Ex. If he ſhould
fall, he would break his leg.
Theſe, is the plural of this, and thoſe, of
that; conſequently the former expreſſes
what is near and definite, and the latter,
what is more indefinite and remote. The
Scots principally err in uſing theſe, as the
plural of that. Ex. One of theſe days, for
one of theſe days. Where a relative is to
follow, and the ſubject has not been mentioned
before, theſe is excluded, but either
the, or thoſe, may be made uſe of. The,
where the demonſtration is general. Thoſe,
where it is particular, or ſpecific: as, the
kingdoms, or, thoſe kingdoms, which Alexander
conquered, and the obſervations, or
thoſe obſervations which he made.
Words peculiar to the Scots, or, which they
uſe in a ſenſe different from the Engliſh
THAT the Scots ſhould indulge a
ſtrong partiality in favour of their
own dialect, is the leſs to be wondered at,
when we conſider how many words are
now condemned as Scoticiſms, which were
formerly admired for their ſtrength and
beauty, and may ſtill be found in the
writings of Chaucer, of Spenſer, of Shakeſpeare,
and ether celebrated Engliſh authors.
Indeed, many words in the old
Engliſh or Scottiſh dialects, are ſo emphatical
and ſignificant, that, as Ruddiman obſerves,
it is difficult to find words in the
modern Engliſh capable of expreſſing their
full force, and genuine meaning. But
what our language has loſt in ſtrength, it
has gained in elegance and correctneſs.
In the following Gloſſary, as it may be
called, it is propoſed to follow an alphabetical
order, and to arrange the words under
four general heads, namely, verbs,
adjectives, nouns, and particles. With little
difficulty it might have been extended to a
much greater length: but I wiſhed not to
include the words which have grown obſolete
among the Scots themſelves, nor to
trouble the reader with tedious obſervations
of an etymological nature. I have endeavoured,
however, with the aſſiſtance of
Dr. Johnſon, Mr. Ray, and that excellent
gloſſariſt Ruddiman, to gratify the curioſity
of thoſe who may wiſh to know from what
language any particular word is ſuppoſed
to be derived, or with which of the northern
dialects it may be more immediately connected.
For as the moſt learned of our
Engliſh Lexicographers has obſerved, the
Dutch, the Belgick, and the German, like
our language, are derived from the Teutonic,
and are therefore to be accounted, not
the parents, but the ſiſters of the English.
Scotch. To big [Saxon and Iſlandic.]
Engliſh. To build.
Biggins, is alſo a Scotch word, for buildings.
To drink cheerfully, to carouſe.
To chap (as to chap at a door) [chopper,
To knock, or ſtrike.
To choiſe [choiſir, Fr.]
To cleek [from click].
To ſnatch or catch.
To clek [Saxon].
To clout [clouer, Fr.]
To cry (as, cry him).
To cryn [Belgick].
To dry, or ſhrink in.
To dearn [Saxon].
To darn, or to mend cloaths.
To deburſe [debourſer, Fr.]
Debourſement is alſo ſometimes made uſe
of by the Scots, for diſburſement.
To deduce (in arithmetic).
To deduct or ſubtract.
To deduce, properly means to draw from,
or to form concluſions from premiſes.
To demit [demitto, Latin].
And demiſſion, not for diſmiſſion, but reſignation.
To deſiderate [defidero, Latin].
To wiſh for.
Deſiderate is a word ſcarcely uſed, ſays
To detract [detractum, Latin].
To take away in general.
In England, detracting only refers to
fame, or reputation.
To ding [Dutch].
To drive, or daſh,
To diſcharge, (for)
To charge, prohibit, or forbid.
Ex. "I diſcharged (forbid) him to go
To evite [evito, Latin].
To evitate, or avoid.
To exeem [eximo, Latin].
To faſh [facher, Fr.]
To teaſe, trouble, or vex.
Faſh is ſtill uſed in Cumberland; vide
Ralph's Poems and Gloſſary, voce faſh.
To feel, (erroncouſly for)
Ex. "You complain much of that tan"nery,
but I cannot ſay I feel it."
To ferly [Saxon].
And a ferly, for, a wonder.
To find, (erroneouſly for)
Ex. "I am much hurt, find where it
To fleich [fleichir, Fr.]
To flatter, or coax.
Even coax, though uſed in England, is
To flit [rhymes hit, Daniſh].
To remove any thing in general, particularly
Flit, is ſtill a provincial word in England.
To flyt [rhymes flight, Saxon].
To chide, or ſcold.
To gab, (a corruption of)
To gang [Saxon, and Low Dutch].
Gang is an old word, ſays Dr. Johnſon,
not now uſed, except ludicrouſly.
To gar [Daniſh].
To girn (corrupted from grin).
Girn, it is ſaid, is ſtill in uſe among the
To glee [Saxon].
To gleek [Saxon].
To gibe, or ſneer.
To gloom [Saxon].
To frown, or look ſullen.
To glowr, or gloar [Dutch].
To long for, or vehemently deſire.
To greet [Iſlandic].
Some erroneoſly derive greet from the
Italian gridare, to cry, or weep.
To had (as had your hand) [Gothic].
Perhaps derived from haine, Fr. from the
ſpite and hatred with which avarice is attended.
To hap (corrupted from heap).
To harry [harer, Fr.]
To rob or plunder.
The Scotch uſe hire, as the French do
louer, which ſignifies both to hire, or to get
the temporary uſe of any thing, and to let,
or give it.
To houk, or holk [Saxon].
To jape [japper Fr.]
To inhance (any commodity).
To jouk [juchcr, Fr.]
To bend, or incline the head.
But jowkerry, in the compound word
jowkerry pawkry, comes from the verb,
jougler, to juggle.
To ken [Saxon].
To ken, is ſtill uſed in poetry, for to
To kep [capto, Latin].
To catch or meet.
To kilt [Daniſh].
To tuck up.
To kittle [Saxon].
In many of the European languages, the
ſame word ſignifies to gain, and to impart
knowledge: and it is the caſe in England as
well as Scotland; but good writers will
always make a diſtinction between them.
To lippin [Saxon].
To rely on, to truſt to.
To lout [Saxon].
To bow down.
To lowe [Dutch].
T'o maltreat [maltraitcr, Fr.]
I believe maltreat is ſometimes, though
not often, uſed by the Engliſh.
To mant [μαυτομαι, Gr.]
Or to heſitate in ſpeaking, as the perſons
who pronounced the Heathen Oracles affected
to do, when they pretended to be
To mind, (erroneoufly for)
To remind, or remember.
Ex. "My ſiſter (ſaid a devout and wor"thy
lady) can repeat a diſcourſe from be"ginning
to end, but for me, I never mind
"ſermons." It may, at the ſame time, be
obſerved, that the Scottiſh idiom was formerly
an Engliſh one.
To Miſgive (erroneouſly for)
To fail, or miſcarry.
To miſgive, does not properly ſignify to
fail, in the general ſenſe of that word, but
only a failure, or want of confidence in the
mind; and it is always uſed with the reciprocal
pronoun: Ex. "His heart miſgave
To miſguide, (erroneouſly for)
To ſully, or abuſe.
Ex. "He miſguides his cloaths;" which is
a counterpart to the phraſe, "he is a good
"guide of them."
To mynt (from mind).
To aim at, or have a mind to.
To narrate [narro, Latin].
To relate, or tell.
Yet narrative, and narration, are good
To neeze [Daniſh].
To occupy, (better)
Ex. "I am much occupied (employed)
"about ſuch a thing at preſent."
To pewther (corrupted from pother).
To pingle [Belgic].
To ſtrive, or labour hard.
To poach (a cant word).
To make wet, or marſhy.
To prie (corrupted from prove).
To try, or taſte.
Prieve is made uſe of by Spenſer.
To prig [from prog, corrupted from procurare].
To higgle, or haggle.
To remeed, (erroneouſly for)
To reſet [from ſet].
To reſtrict [reſtrictus, Latin].
To limit, or confine.
Reſtrict, is a word ſcarcely Engliſh, ſays
To ripe (as ripe your pockets).
To roar (as the child roars).
To cry, or weep.
To rove (in a fever).
To be light-headed, or delirious.
To ſkail [echeveler, Fr.]
To ſkar [from ſcar].
To ſlocken [Iſlandic].
To quench, or ſlake.
To ſmit [from ſmite].
To take ſnuff.
Ex. "He ſnuffs a great deal, for, he takes
"a great deal of ſnuff." This is a very
To ſpane [a child, Saxon].
To ſpier [Saxon].
To aſk, or enquire.
To ſtammer (as the horſe ſtammers).
To ſtot (Belgic].
To ſuccomb [ſuccomber, Fr.]
To ſink under, to yield.
Succomb is uſed by Foote, in his farce of
the Knights, but has always been accounted
a word peculiarly Scottiſh.
To ſuſtain (as, I ſuſtained his excuſe).
To tape [taper, Fr.]
To teem [Daniſh].
To pour out.
To thig [Saxon].
To beg, or aſk contribution.
To threap [Saxon].
To contend, or vehemently aſſert.
It is uſed in this ſenſe by Chaucer, and is
ſtill not uncommon in the north of England.
To tire, (erroneouſly for)
To wiſh for any thing.
To trow [Saxon].
To imagine, or believe.
To tyne [Iſlandic].
To tyr [tirer, Fr.]
To wale [Gothic].
To chuſc, or pick out.
To weary, (erroneouſly for)
To be, or grow weary.
To wiſſen [Saxon].
To dry, or wither.
To yoke (as yoke the horſes).
To harneſs, or put to.
Yoke, is a term confined to oxen, except
in poetry, where a greater licence is permitted.
Both the Scots and Engliſh make uſe
of this ridiculous phraſe, put the horſes into
the carriage. To be well yoked, for matched
together, is a phraſe peculiar to Scotland.
To youl (corrupted from howl).
Witty, or clever beyond expectation.
Beyond what is uſual at any particular
age, poſſibly derived from auld varand, old
traveller, the vieux routier, of the French.
Confined to bed; bedrid.
Blate, or bleit [Saxon].
Gay, or merry.
Blyth ſtill exiſts in poetry, particularly
Bonny [bonne, Fr.]
Boſs [boſſe, Fr.]
Bygone, (uſed by Shakeſpear for)
Bypaſt is alſo a term of the Scottiſh dialect.
Caller (corrupted from colder).
Perhaps caller, in the phraſe, "a caller
"egg," comes from cailler, to curdle, from
the white of a freſh egg reſembling curds.
Cankert (from canker).
At leaſt, cankert is an expreſſive word,
growing daily more obſolete in England.
Canty [canto, Latin].
Clamant [clamoſus, Latin].
Clamorous, noiſy, loud.
Clever, (erroneouſly made uſe of for)
Quick, active, or handy.
Clever, is either derived from cleave, or,
perhaps, it comes from the Scotch word
claver, to talk, or prattle, which quick and
active people are apt to do. The Engliſh,
it may be obſerved, never uſe cleverneſs; for
quickneſs, nor clever for quick.
Clear (when applied to ſolids).
Ex. "How clear (bright) the table is.
Comatable [from come].
Conform, (more uſually)
Conformable, or according to.
Diſconform is not an Engliſh word.
Curt [curtus, Latin].
Alſo curtly, for briefly, and curtneſs , for
brevity, or briefneſs.
Puzzled, or perplexed.
Diſcreet [diſcret, Fr.]
Civil, or obliging.
Ex. "He is a very diſcreet (civil) man,
"it is true, but his brother has more diſcre"tion
(civility)." This is a very common
Diſtreſs , is properly applied to the anguiſh
of the mind, not to the pain of the
Douce [douce, Fr.]
Dreigh (from draw, or dry).
Drumly [corrupted, it is ſaid, from trouble,
Dull, (uſed erroneouſly for)
Dure [durus, Latin].
Fendy (from find).
Dexterous at finding out expedients.
Ray ſays, fendy is derived from defend.
Fenſable, now ſpelt fencible (from defencible).
Fit for war.
Flory (corrupted from flowery),
Footleſs (from foot).
Gentle, (made uſe of by Shakeſpear for)
Vide Humphrey Clinker, Vol. II. p. 182.
Gim, (an old word for)
Neat, or ſpruce.
Gimmy, is ſtill in uſe in England,
Iniquous, (in Engliſh)
Iniquitous, or unjuſt.
Laigh (as, a laigh-houſe to let).
Landwart (pronounced landred).
Landwart, is properly inland, towards
the land or country; the idea of ruſticity
ſeems to have been taken from a
notion, that the interior parts of the country
are more barbarous and uncivilized than
thoſe of the ſea-coaſt.
Large (as, fodder is large).
Plentiful, or in plenty.
Giddy, or delirious.
Misfortunate, (in England always)
It is ſingular that a Saxon word, mickle, ſhould grow obſolete, inconſequence of the
introduction of a word from the Spaniſh
from whence much is derived,
Pawky [from pawkis, Saxon].
Pitiful (improperly for)
Pointed (as, a pointed man).
Mr. Hume alſo uſes precipitantly, for
precipitately. Dr. Prieſtley, who makes
this obſervation, likewiſe objects to informalities,
made uſe of by the ſame author,
for illegalities; diſobligation (though uſed
by Clarendon), for offence, or cauſe of diſguſt;
and circuity, for circuit.
Quheen, or wheen [Belgic].
Few, not many.
Ex. "A quheen (few), were preſent on
Scottiſh, or Scotch.
Scots, is the name of the nation; but the
proper adjective is Scottiſh, abbreviated into
Scotch. Vide Prieſtley's Grammar, p. 79.
When alone, in general, it ſhould be written
Scottiſh, but perhaps Scotch, when joined
with English, for the ſake of variety. Ex. The
Scottiſh language, but, the Scotch and Engliſh
Little, or ſcanty.
From the ſame word, in the Daniſh or
German language, ſhrimp is derived.
Shaal, (corrupted from)
Short-ſighted, (more uſually)
A near-ſighted man, is one that can only
ſee objects when they are near him: A
ſhort-ſighted man, is one that cannot ſee at
a diſtance. They are both in uſe; but
ſhort-ſighted is properly applied to the mind
only, and near-ſighted to the perſon.
The firſt is applied to horſes, the ſecond
Sicker [ſecurus, Latin].
Slim, though uſed by Addiſon, is not
now common in England.
Snack (from ſnatch).
Alert, or clever.
Sparſe [ſpargo, Latin].
Stingy, (properly covetous, uſed by the Scots
Strapping (a ludicrous word)
Mild, or amiable,
Tender (as, Pope was a tender man).
Delicate, is another adjective which the
Scots and Engliſh uſe in different ſenſes:
For by delicate, the Scots mean ſickly, and
the Engliſh beautiful, or pleaſing. Theſe
ſenſes of the words tender, and delicate, the
Scots ſeem to have taken from the French,
who make uſe of delicat, in the ſame ſenſe
as foible (weak, or feeble); and tendre, for
douillet (unable to bear any hardſhip).
Thain (as, the meat is thain).
Raw, little done.
Throng, or throng.
Throng ſhould never be uſed as an adjective.
They are very throng, for intimate
together, is a very common Scoticiſm.
Verſant, (made uſe of improperly for)
Warm, (in the extreme, properly)
Hot, or ſultry.
Warre, (ufed by Spenſer for)
We, wie, or wee.
Well advanced (as, the field is well advanced,
conſidering the coldneſs of the ſeaſon).
Even well-looking, though better, is exceptionable.
Kind, or good-natured.
Yaip (corrupted from gape).
Eager, or hungry.
An abbacy [abatia, Low Latin].
An abbacy, is the rights and privileges of
an abbot; not the monaſtery, or abbey, of
which he is the head.
An account, (erroneouſly made uſe of in
Accounts are confined to money negociations
only: Hence they ſay in England, an
account with a banker, but, a tradeſman's
Arles, earls, or arleſpenny [arrha, Latin].
A baggage trunk.
A travelling trunk,
A bairn, or bearn.
Bearn, is made uſe of by Shakeſpear,
Winter's Tale, Act III. Scene 7.; by Donne,
in his Satires, and indeed was a very common
old Engliſh word. Mr. Ray derives
it from the Syriac, bar, filius; but it is more
probably of Saxon original.
Baubee, (an old Engliſh word for)
Boadle, for, half a farthing, ſtands in
the ſame predicament, and is ſtill known in
Derived from beal, or bealan, the baal
of Scripture, which, in the old language of
Gaul, ſignified the ſun. Bealtan, in the Celtic,
is the fire of the Deity. As to beltain,
vide an Eſſay on the Antiquity of the Iriſh
Language, printed anno 1772, p. 9, and 19.
A bicker [Italian].
A wooden mug.
Perhaps bicker, is only another mode of
ſpelling the Englilh word beaker, uſed by
Pope for a cup, with a ſpout in the form
of a bird's beak.
A blenk, or blink [Belgic].
A twinkling of fair-weather, a glimpſe of
A ſlight fit of ſickneſs.
A brig, (an old Engliſh word for)
It is ſtill uſed in that ſenſe in Lancaſhire
and Cambridgeſhire; but, in other parts of
England, a brig generally ſignifies only a
A boar, (ſometimes uſed for)
Bears, are wild animals; boars, male
Ex. "What a good body, for, good ſoul,
or creature, it is."
Burial, or burying, (better)
Ex. "He had a very magnificent burying,
(funeral)." Burial, is the act of burying.
A carle [Saxon].
A churl, or old man.
An old Woman.
The ceſs [from cenſus, Latin]
The king's, or land tax.
Ceſs, in England, means a levy or tax
upon property in general, perſonal as well
Chambermaids, are upper houſemaids; and
ſome adopt this diſtinction, the chambermaid
of an inn, but the houſemaid in private habitations.
Hence cheſtening (or the act of incloſing
the corpſe in a coffin) is derived, a ſolemn
rite at the funerals of Scotchmen.
A cloakbag, (an old word for)
A communing (from to commune).
A meeting, or converſation.
A communing, in Scotland, is a meeting to
converſe on any particular ſubject. A free
communing, is a meeting where the parties
are on little ceremony with each other.
The complexion is properly the colour of
the ſkin, whether dark, brown, or fair;
whereas colour, means the bloom of the
cheek, or the appearance of blood in the face.
Both theſe words are uſed in oppoſite ſenſes
by the Scots.
A compliment, is properly an expreſſion
of civility; a preſent, is a gift. Ex. "He
"made me a preſent of this book, and at the
"ſame time complimented me, with ſaying
"that I deſerved ſomething better." The
Scots alſo ſay, I got ſuch a thing in (for
as) a preſent.
But dubiety may be found in Clarendon.
Atchievement, or hatchment.
Eſcutcheons, are the arms of one particular
family; atchievements, corrupted into
hatchments, contain alſo the arms of the
neareſt relations, ornamented with all the
pageantry of heraldry. The armorial eſcutcheons,
placed over the door of a houſe, or in
the pariſh church, after the death of any
diſtinguiſhed perſon, is called hatchment in
A factor, or chamberlain.
Factors, are properly agents, or ſubſtitutes
in oppidal (if that word may be made uſe
of), and bailiffs, and ſtewards, in rural matters.
A fleuk [Saxon].
A bad omen.
To fret, is to vex; and as nothing vexes
a peeviſh, ſuperſtitious perſon, more than
bad omens, hence it is ſaid that the Scots
came to call a bad omen, a fret. But Dr.
Percy, in his Gloſſarv, rather ſeems to think
that fret comes from fright. Vide Gloſſ.
vol. i. Voce freits.
A friend, (often made uſe of in Scotland for)
Relations are not always friends, in the
Engliſh ſenſe of that word.
A gavelock [Saxon].
An iron crow.
Gawntree (corrupted from gallentree).
Wooden frame for holding caſks.
Subſtance, or furniture.
A geck, gawk, or gawky.
A fooliſh fellow.
Glaſſes, (at leaſt better)
Greed (a corruption of greedineſs).
A black-lead pencil.
Black-lead, is called killow, or collow, in
Cumberland; and a guillivine-pen, is probably
a corruption of a fine killow pencil.
A firth [fretum, Latin].
An æſtuary, or arm of the ſea.
Fleet, was the old Saxon word for æſtuary,
and fiunder, the Cumbric one. The
Engliſh, if they uſe firth, ſpell it frith.
Flum [flumen, Latin].
Hanſel (from handſale ).
New-year's gift, or earneſt.
A goodſire, or gutcher.
Sir, is a corruption of ſire, ſieur, ſeigneur,
ſenior; and is a remains of that reſpect
which was paid to age by the nations
of antiquity. If the father was called ſire,
it was natural to ſuppoſe that the grandfather
would be called goodſire, corrupted
into gutcher, from his greater tenderneſs
and indulgence. The northern Scots alſo
ſay oye, for grand-child.
A horſe-hyrer, is properly one that gives
the hyre, and not he who gets it.
An inhabitant, or inmate.
Indwelling, is alſo Scotch. Dwell, and
dwellers, are Engliſh.
Yet, a ſilver inkhorn, is not ſo violent a
catachreſis as a ſilver candleſtick; for, in the
Anglo-Saxon, horn ſignified a receptacle in
general, of whatever materials it was compoſed.
Kindling (from kindle).
Coals, live coals, or firing.
I believe kindling, would be under-ſtood
Lift, is alſo uſed for a great load of
thing, or a great quantity of liquor.
Lime is the material, but mortar is the
cement when made.
A loch [Erſe].
In Aberdeen, it is ſaid that leeches are
cried in the ſſtreets under the name of Black
Doctors, whelped in a pool.
The palm of the hand.
The lug [Saxon].
A meath [Saxon].
A mark, a line, or channel.
At leaſt gnats, is the more uſual word in
A neb, or nib [Saxon].
A noſe, or bill of a bird.
A paddock [Saxon or Belgic].
A frog, or toad.
The Engliſh uſe paddock, a corruption
of parrack, whence park is derived, for a
ſmall incloſure, particularly where deer are
A pet, or peat [petit, Fr.]
Peat, is made uſe of by Shakeſpear for
darling; and hence pyet might be derived
(if it is an old word, which is much
doubted), a name given by the fair of
Edinburgh to a favourite beau.
Alſo halfpennies, for halfpence.
A pier (as, Leith pier).
A key, quay, wharf, or harbour.
A plagiariſt, (in England always)
Pleniſhing [plenus, Latin].
A little ſport, or merriment; a merry meeting.
A poke, (in England, generally)
Civil conſtitution, form of government.
Notwithſtanding Hooker's and Pownal's
authority, polity is reckoned a Scotch word.
The Præſes (of a meeting).
A proſpect glaſs, (better)
Prog [a cant word, from procurare, Lat.]
A quern [Saxon].
A roup [Belgic].
An auction, or ſale.
The roup, alſo, in Scotland, is hoarſeneſs;
and to roup, to fell by auction.
A rouping wife.
A female auctioneer.
A rung (corrupted from wrung).
A ſtick, or cudgel.
Scath, or Skaith [Saxon].
Loſs, or damage.
A ſhelty (from Shetland).
The ſhore, (erroneouſly for)
The ſhore, in England, is the coaſt of the
ſea, not the quay of a harbour.
A ſkipper [Saxon].
A pilot, or maſter of a veſſel.
The Scots uſe ſot, as the French do un
ſot, not for a tippler, but a fool.
Probably pepper was the firſt ſpice
known in Scotland.
A ſpunk, or ſponk.
A match; touchwood.
Hence ſpunky is derived, made uſe of
by the Scots, for gay or lively.
A ſurfeit, diſreliſh.
A great fall of ſnow, or ſnowy weather.
A ſtorm, in England, is a tempeſt, or
violent commotion of the elements; a lying
ſtorm, and a great ſtorm on the ground, are
phraſes peculiarly Scottiſh. A wreath of
ſnow, for a heap of ſnow collected by the
wind, ſtands in the ſame predicament.
Suet [ſuet, Fr.]
A tod [German.]
A toll [telonia, Latin.]
The turnpike is the gate, the toll is the
money paid. In many parts of England,
at the ſame time, turnpikes are called toll--
A triſte [Saxon].
A fair, or market.
A tike [Runic].
A dog, or cur.
Waits [guet, Fr.]
Hence comes the law-term wayt-fee, or
a fee anciently paid for keeping watch and
Wark was the original word, and is ſtill
uſed in compoſition, as in bulwark.
Waſter (in a candle).
The other great Scotch term, Martinmas,
the Engliſh have corrupted into Martilmas,
or Martlemas. Candlemas, and
Lammas, have been made uſe of by Engliſh
writers, but are not much known at
preſent. Yule, corrupted from vigiliæ, was
of old the name which Chriſtmas had in
Scotland; and in Wales, Wiliay, which
originally ſignifed holidays in general, was
afterwards confined to Chriſtmas. Shrove
Tueſday, is called Faſten's e'en by the Scots,
properly, faſting even, the ſucceeding day
being Aſh Wedneſday, the firſt of the Lent
Yate [Saxon], a provincial word in England.
Above (as, who lives above you).
Albeit (Old Engliſh).
Allenarly [from alone, or allen, Dutch].
Altogether, (erroneouſly for)
Ex. "Of money and moveables I loſt,
"altogether (in all), about fifty pounds."
Altogether, is completely, without exception.
Seldom or never.
Concerning, or with regard to.
As, (erroneouſly for)
Ex. "More as that, I would at all times
"rather chuſe to buy as ſell."
Attour [alentour, Fr.]
Beſide, over and above.
Below, (erroneouſly for)
Ex. "Below (under) the table. Alſo,
"he wore his armour below his clothes, and
"hid his goods below ground." Below never
ſignifies beneath, ſo as to be covered or
Ben (corrupted from be in).
In, or into.
But (a corruption of be out).
But and ben, is the outer and inner room.
In low farm-houſes of two rooms, the
outer room is called the but, and the inner
one the ben. Dr. Percy (Reliques of Ancient
Poetry) derives but, from the Dutch
buyten; and ben, from the Dutch binnen.
Gloſſ. to Vol. III. The reader will ſee
ſome curious obſervations upon but, and
other conjunctions, in Horn's Letter to
Dunning, printed anno 1778, particularly
p. 39, and 53.
Elſe , (as, I have done it elſe, for)
Ever a, or e'er a.
Ex. "Saw you e'er a thing like it."
The Engliſh ſpell it heigh (but without
pronouncing it as the Scots do), in the interjection
Hout (from out).
How ſoon, (improperly for)
As ſoon as.
Ex. "How ſoon (as ſoon as) I go home.
I will ſend it.
Ex. "Ilk ane (every one) of you ſhould
"have been there." It alſo ſignifies the
ſame, for "Martin of that ilk" would denote
a gentleman, whoſe ſurname is the
ſame with the name or title of his eſtate.
Juſt ſo. [as juſtlement, Fr.]
True; it is ſo.
Long ſince, or long ago.
No, (ſometimes uſed for)
As, no drop, for not a drop; no poſſible,
for not poſſible.
No farther, only.
Ex. "How often has he been married?
"Na more than (only) once. How far does
"he go with you? No more (farther) than
"Edinburgh." Mr. Hume, and other
Scotch writers, are alſo apt to uſe no more,
for any more. Ex. "Arioſto,,Taſſo, Ga"lileo,
no more than (any more than) Rap"phael,
were not born in republics."
Not ſo ſoon.
Wherever not yet can be uſed, not ſo ſoon
ought to be avoided.
Now, or at preſent.
Ex. "I do not know where he is preſently."
Slidderly (corrupted from ſlide).
Slippy [a provincial word].
So ſoon as.
As ſoon as.
Ex. "He deſiried Edinburgh, ſo ſoon (as
ſoon) as he came to Leith." So ſoon as,
ſays Dr. Prieſtley, certainly does not read
ſo well as, as ſoon as, particularly in the
middle of a ſentence. This is a fault which
Mr. Hume is very apt to fall into. Ex.
"Religious zeal made them fly to their
"ſtandards, ſo ſoon as the trumpet was
"ſounded by their ſpiritual and temporal
Ex. "Such a juſt title, for ſo juſt a title."
Ex. "To walk through (acroſs) the
Timouſly (from timeous).
Tout (as, tout man).
In Shakeſpear it is ſpelt tut.
As ſoon as.
Yon, or yond [Saxon].
Yon and yond, are two old Engliſh adverbs
and adjectives, on the brink of being
exploded; and perhaps yonder, will ſoon
ſhare the ſame fate.
I ſhall conclude this Gloſſary with the
following lines of Horace, as written in
the original, and as tranſlated by Dr. Francis,
who has given us the laſt, and beſt
verſion of that excellent Poet.
"Mortalia facta peribunt:
"Ne dum ſermonum ſlet honos, et gratia vivax.
"Multa renaſcentur, quæ jam cecidere, cadentque,
"Quæ nunc ſunt in honore vocabula, ſi volet uſus,
"Quem penès arbitrium eſt, et jus, at norma loquendi."
DE ARTE POET. verſ. 68.
"All theſe muſt periſh; and ſhall words preſume,
"To hold their honours, and immortal bloom?
"Many ſhall riſe, that now forgotten lie,
"Others, in preſent credit, ſoon ſhall die;
"If cuſtom will, whole arbitrary ſway,
"Words, and the forms of language, muſt obey,"
Miſcellaneous words and phraſes.
WHEN the union, the conſtant intercourſe,
and the frequent inter--
marriages between the Scots and Engliſh
are conſidered, it would be natural to ſuppoſe
that the dialects they ſpeak ſhould
nearly reſemble each other; ſo far at leaſt-as
regards entertainments, amuſements,
clothes, furniture, and other miſcellaneous
articles, the common ſubjects of converſation.
But the words and phraſes made
uſe of by the two nations, differ in theſe,
as well as in other things; and the odious
diſtinction, as Sheridan calls it, remains
equally conſpicuous, at the table, in the
pulpit, and at the bar: A diſtinction, which
is far from being of advantage to ſuch
Scotchmen as either reſide in, or occaſionally
viſit the capital. It is, indeed, aſtoniſhing
how uncouth, and often how unintelligible,
Scotch words and phraſes are to
an inhabitant of London, and how much it
expoſes ſuch as make uſe of them, to the
deriſion of thoſe with whom they happen
to have any communication or intercourſe:
It is therefore hoped that the following liſt,
comprehending the moſt common and material
differences, will not be unacceptable.
Scotch. To cover the table.
Engliſh. To lay the cloth.
The Engliſh here agree with the French
idiom, of "mettez la nappe."
To diſh dinner.
To ſerve, or bring up dinner.
To diſh dinner, may be ſaid to the cook;
but to ſerve, or bring up dinner, to the butler
To take the air off any thing, (better)
To take the chill off any thing.
To make a ſallad.
To dreſs a ſallad.
The Scotch phraſe probably means, to
make a ſallad fit for eating.
To take out a glaſs of wine.
To take off a glaſs of wine.
To take off, is the proper word for to
To ſerve the tea-things, (better)
To hand about the tea-things.
To fill the kettle.
To fill the teapot.
The kettle is emptied, and not filled.
To be appetiſed.
To be hungry.
Appetiſe is a word peculiarly Scottiſh.
To have a good ſtomach.
To have a good appetite.
This may be cited as one inſtance, among
many others, of the refinement of the Engliſh
language; for appetite, is ſurely a more
polite and delicate word than ſtomach, which
was formerly made uſe of by many Engliſh
authors, and is ſtill ſometimes uſed,
though not in genteel company.
I have had two ſervices of broth.
I have had two plates of broth.
The Engliſh ſay a plate of broth, as, a
glaſs of wine. A ſervice, for a plate of any
thing, is never made uſe of.
A ſad dinner.
A hearty dinner.
Sad is here made uſe of, not for a bad
or diſmal, but for a hearty and ſubſtantial
dinner. In ſome provincial dialects, at the
ſame time, ſad is uſed for heavy.
An aſſet [aſſiette, Fr.]
A ſmall diſh, or plate.
The head and foot of a table.
The top and bottom of a table.
The foot of a table, is properly what it
Old bread would probably be muſty,
Sowens, (an old Engliſh word for).
Gruel, or water-gruel.
Kail (a corruption of cole).
Greens, or cabbage.
Cole, is a general word for herbs; and
as many herbs were put into the Scotch
kinds of broth, hence kail, corrupted from
cole, came to ſignify broth.
In the old Engliſh dialect, meat ſignified
food in general. John, xxi. 5. But in
modern Engliſh, it denotes fleſh meat, or
fleſh fit to eat. Meat is ſurely a more delicate
word to uſe than fleſh, particularly at
A jigot of mutton [gigot, Fr.]
A leg of mutton.
Veal's head and feet [veel, Old Fr. now
Calve's head and feet.
Veal, is the fleſh of the animal killed
for the table; and the Scots uſe that word
as the French do veau, copying that faſhionable
nation in idioms, which they are
obliged to make uſe of from the poverty
of their language.
A ſliver of beef (old Engliſh, for)
A ſlice of beef.
The Scots judge by the touch, the Engliſh
by the taſte.
Rauns, or roans [Daniſh].
There are few, if any, prawns in Scotland;
but the Scots give that name to what
in England are called ſhrimps.
Toes of crabs and lobſters.
Claws of crabs and lobſters.
The Scots do not always attend to the
diſtinction between ſauce and gravy. Gravy
is the natural juice of the meat, ſauce is
made by art, as anchovy, or lobſter ſauce,
&c. The Engliſh, at the ſame time, give
the name of gravy, to the artificial liquid
made for fowls.
Game includes hares, partridges, and the
like; for the preſevation of which ſo many
laws have been vainly enacted. Teal,
wild ducks, and the like, have monopolized
the name of wild fowl. Some arbitrary
diſtinctions have been eſtabliſhed in numbering
game, fiſh, and wild fowl, not
always attended to by the Scots. Thus,
the Engliſh always ſay, a couple (not pair,
according to the Scottiſh idiom) of fowls,
ducks, &c.; a brace of carp, tench, partridges,
woodcocks, &c.; a pair of foals,
and a leaſh, for three partridges, woodcocks,
A couple of hens.
A couple of fowls.
Fried chickens, (properly)
A diſh invented by that luxurious body
Bun, (an old word for)
Plumcake, or twelfthcake.
Both nations write this word as they pronounce
How much the pound of tea, &c.
How much a pound of tea, &c.
The pound, only refers to one particular
pound. The article a, ſtands for any, or
every. "We have gained five ſhillings the
"piece," for "a piece," is alſo exceptionable
Biſcuit, is properly bread baked hard for
long voyages, from bis, twice, and cuit,
baked. But in Scotland, it is alſo made
uſe of for confectioners cakes, in imitation
of the French word biſcuit
Thin cakes of flour.
The Scots uſe ſpice, (the general word)
for pepper, as if there was no other ſpice
Scotched collops is not a diſh invented by
the Scots, or peculiar to Scotland, but derived
from the old English verb, to ſcotch,
or cut. A haggeſs, is another diſh not, in
former times, belonging exclusively to Scotland,
but derived from the English verb,
to haggle, i. e. to chop, or cut; from the
meat being chopt ſmall, of which the diſh is made.
Barm, (an old Engliſh word, for)
Yeſt, or yeaſt.
In the ſouthern parts of England, yeſt is called riſing.
Strong Ale, (uſually in England called)
Whiſky is a corruption of uſque (water),
the to firſt ſyllables of uſquebaugh.
The Scots alſo ſay powdered, for ſalt butter;
a crumb of butter, for a little bit of
butter; a kebbuck (an Erſe word), for a
cheeſe; and crudy butter, for curds and butter.
Crudy butter is a kind of cheeſe, only
made by the Scots, whoſe curds being generally
of a poorer quality than the Engliſh,
they mix it with butter to enrich it.
Ream, (ſtill uſed in Lancaſhire, as well as
in ſome parts of Scotland, for)
The following is a ſtate of the difference between
the Scotch and Engliſh liquid meaſures.
A Scotch mutchkin, makes
An Engliſh pint.
Chopin, is derived from the French chopine.
It is a meaure
now confined to
Scotland, though formerly known in England.
Stoop, ſtands in the fame predicament.
The following Tables will explain the
difference between the Scotch and Engliſh
meaſures regarding grain and land.
For reducing the Engliſh Buſhels, or Quarters, to
Scotch Meaſure, according to the Edinburgh
Note, 4 Buſhels make 1 Comb.
8 Buſhels, or 2 Combs, or 1 Quarter.
4 Quarters, 1 Chalder, Enghliſh meaſure.
And 4 Lippies makes 1 Peck.
4 Pecks, 1 Firlot.
4 Firlots, 1 Boll.
16 Bolls., 1 Chalder, Scots Meaſure.
For reducing the Price of the Engliſh Quarter to the
In England, all Grain is bought and ſold by the Quarter: In Scotland
by the Boll. The Scotch Boll varies in its Meaſure according to
the different Grains; to Boll of Barley and Oats being conſidered
larger than the Boll of Wheat or Peaſe.
GAMES and AMUSEMENTS.
Scotch. A Trump [trompe, Fr.]
Engliſh. A Jew-harp.
Fiddler, is only applied, in England, to
the loweſt of the muſical tribe; and fiddle,
to the inſtruments they play upon.
Dams [le jeu des dames, Fr.]
A pirn (for angling).
To breed a dog, (better)
To break a dog.
To ride a horſeback, (better)
To ride on horſeback.
The diſtinition is, to ride a horſe, but
to ride on horſeback.
The Scots and Engliſh often uſe different
words and phraſes at the card-table; as, to
trumph (corrupted from triumph), for to
trump a card. Firſt in hand, for eldeſt
hand. To play with liberty, for to play
with leave. Six cards, for ſix tricks, &c.
A tune on any muſical inſtrument.
CLOTHES, DRESS, &c.
To ſet any thing.
To become any thing well.
Ill does it ſet you, alſo, for ill does it become
you to do ſuch a thing.
To be trig (corrupted from tricked up).
To be neat.
To clean ſhoes.
To wipe, or black ſhoes.
A barber, (ſometimes for)
A ſwatch (from ſwath).
A pattern, or piece for a ſample.
A wrought waiſtcoat, gown, &c.
A worked waiſtcoat, &c.
A ſewedgown, &c.
A worked gown, &c.
The diſtinction is, to ſew with a needle,
but to work in the tambour.
A handſome coat.
A handfome ſuit of clothes.
The neck, or neckpiece of a coat.
The cape, or collar of a coat.
A great-coat, or ſurtout.
A cloth-bruſh, would properly be one
made of cloth.
Towels are uſed in a chamber; napkins,
as tea-napkins, at table.
Napkin, for handkerchief; is uſed by
Shakeſpear (Othello, Act Ill. Scene 7),
and is ſtill current in the North of England,
particularly about Sheffield. Vide Warner's
Letter to Garrick, p. 35.
A ſervite [ſerviette, Fr.]
A table napkin.
A ſervice of linen [French].
A complete ſet of linen.
Napery [naperia, Italian].
Mittens [mitaines, Fr.]
Mittens, in England, at preſent, are underſtood
to be gloves without fingers.
Stripped ſtockings would properly be variegated
with lines of different colours.
Tartan [perhaps from tarote, Fr.]
A philibeg [Erſe].
A ſhort, or little petticoat.
A durk [Erſe].
A dagger, or poniard.
Edinburgh and Stirling, two of the principal
towns in Scotland, are ſituated on
hills, with one wide ſtreet, and many narrow
lanes, leading from thence down the
ſides of the hills; which lanes, from their
being generally winding, and not ſtraight,
are called winds.
A court, ſquare, or alley.
Ex. The Parliament Cloſs at Edinburgh,
which is properly a ſquare, and is now begun
to be called ſo, The name of cloſs, is
improperly given to any place which is not
almoſt altogether ſhut up, which Edinburgh
alleys ſeldom are.
Up a ſtreet, or the ſtreet.
The head or foot of a ſtreet.
The top or bottom of a ſtreet.
The right or left ſide of a ſtreet.
The right or left-hand ſide of a ſtreet.
A ſtreet has no right or left ſide of its
own, but as it refers to the right or left--
hand of any particular perſon.
Number firſt, ſecond, third, fourth, &c. of
Number one, two, three, four, &c. of a
In London the houſes are in general
numbered; and it is not number firſt, but
number one, that a perſon ſhould inquire
Ex. Oxford college, for the Univerſity of
Oxford. An Univerſity conſiſts of many
The other ſide of the ſteet.
The other ſide of the way,
The ſtreet, is only that part of the way
which is allotted for carriages. The term
way, includes alſo the pavements for foot--
paſſengers on both ſides of the ſtreet.
Ex. A plain-ſtone cloſs , for a paved alley.
To ſet a houſe.
To let a houſe.
The Scots alſo ſay, to ſet a farm, garden,
To lodge in a houſe.
To dwell, or live in a houſe.
To ſtay in a houſe.
To reſide in a houſe.
To red up a room.
To put a room in order.
Red is probably derived either from reddere,
Latin, to reſtore, from its being reſtored
to its former order; or from the verb
to rid, becauſe it muſt be rid or freed from
A well-aired houſe.
A houſe in an airy ſituation.
A well-aired houſe, is properly one free
from damps within, and not a houſe in a
high and airy ſituation, and conſequently
enjoying good air without, which is the
meaning of the Scottiſh idiom.
A houſe within itſelf (better)
A houſe by itſelf,
A ſclated houſe.
A ſlated houſe.
The Scots ſpell and pronounce ſlate,
ſclate, nearer the original French word
eſclate, a tile, than the Engliſh edition of
A turnpike-:ſtair [perhaps from tourniquet, French].
A well, or winding ſtaircaſe.
Turnpike-ſtairs, ſays Mr. Arnot, are built
in a ſpiral form; ſcale-ſtairs, have ſtraight
flights of ſteps. Hiſtory of Edinburgh,
A tranſe [tranſitus, Latin].
A paſſage from a ſtaircaſe.
Rooms with a fire-place.
A chimney-piece, (more elegantly)
The jaum of a door [jambe, Fr.]
The roof of a room.
An inn, a tavern, or hotel.
In England, public-houſes are kept by
the inferior, and not better, kind of publicans.
A ſmithy, (an old Engliſh word for)
A ſmith's houſe.
A ducat (corrupted from dovecot).
A reeky houſe.
A ſmoky houfe.
Reek is an old Engliſh word for ſmoke,
A tea-urn, or vaſe.
It is improper to give one word (kitchen)
two meanings, when there are other words
that expreſs one of the ſenſes equally well,
and are confined to that alone.
A waiter, or tea-board.
Trays are made of common wood, and
are calculated to carry victuals, &c. Waiters
and tea-boards are either made of japaned
ware, or of the fineſt kinds of wood,
or ſomctimes of ſilver.
Plates are only for eating out of.
A deep plate.
A baſon, or baſin.
Bowls never hold leſs than a Scotch
mutchkin, or Engliſh pint. Baſons. are
A brander [Runic].
A gridiron, or grateiron.
The Scots alſo ſay to brander, for to broil
A beſom [Saxon].
A ſmall bruſh.
Beſom may be found in Iſaiah, xiv. 22.
and in Bacon.
A ſtove, or grate.
The chimney, is properly the whole fireplace.
The ſtove or grate, that part of it
in which the fire is contained.
Nothing are called grates in England
but fixed ones, ſuch as the laundry and
A ſhake-do wn.
Bed-clothes ſpread upon the floor.
A bowſter (corrupted from)
A cod [Saxon].
Pincod is alſo fometimes uſed for pincuſhion.
A large houſehold knife.
A ſhort light.
A flat candleſtick.
AGRICULTURE, and the COUNTRY.
A ſquire, or lord of a manor.
Laird and lord were originally the ſame.
In the Border Laws, publiſhed by the
Biſhop of Carliſle, the Earl of Northumberland
and the Lord of Galloway
are both called lairds. Vide Ruddiman's
Gloſſary, to Biſhop Douglas's Virgil, voce
lard. Both words are properly derived
from the Saxon; but Miſſon, in his Travels,
Vol. ii, p. 375. pretends that they
came from the Hetruſcan language, in
which lars, or lartes, ſignified a lord or
prince. Hence he ſays the Lartes Talumnius,
mentioned by Livy, ought to be
tranflated Lord Talumnius. A proof, among
many others, to what length etymologiſts
But the real origin of lord, is given us
by that valuable Engliſh antiquarian Richard
Verſtegan; who informs us, that lord
was originally written laford; and as laf,
from whence loaf is derived, ſignified bread,
ſo laford, was properly an afforder of bread,.
or a bread-giver. An honourable appellation
in thoſe days of unbounded hoſpitality.
Lady, alſo, was originally written leafdian,
afterwards lafdian, lafdy, and ultimately lady,
which, in the Saxon, ſignificd bread-ſerver,
that is, the perſo n who diſt ributed, or portioned
out the food among the gueſts. And hence, ſay-s
Verſtegan, aroſe the ancient cuſtom of the
lady of the houſe carving the meat, and ſerving
the gueſts at table, which, in other countries,
is altogether ſtrange and unuſual.
Our antiquarian adds a compliment to
the lafords and leafdians of his time, which
it is hoped their poſterity will endeavour,
like them, to merit. "The nobility of this
"iſland (he ſays) are really intitled to the
"Saxon names by which they are diſtinguiſh"ed,
having always ſhown themſelves ſupe"rior
to thoſe on the continent, inhoſpitality
"to ſtrangers, and liberality to the poor."
It ought alſo to be obſerved, that it was
formerly a cuſtom in Scotland to call the
wife of a laird a lady, by the name of his
eſtate; and the eldeſt ſon of a peer, where
there was no ſecond title in the family, by
the name of, the maſter of ſuch a thing.
But both thoſe cuſtoms are now exploded.
An heritor, (abbreviated from inheritor)
A leaſeholder, tenant, or farmer.
The Scots pronounce the word take, tak',
hence they call a farm a tack, and a great
farmer, a tackſman.
A cotter, or ſub-tenant.
Cottier may be found in old Engliſh
Dictionaries, but cottager at preſent is only
made uſe of.
A grieve [Belgic].
An overſeer, or bailiff.
Grieve is derived from grave, which, in
the Belgic, ſignifies præfectus; hence comes
the German words landgrave, and margrave.
A carter, (more commonly)
Some make this diſtinction, carters in the
country, but carmen in London.
Dey, is an old Engliſh word for milk
(vide Johnſon's Dictionary, voce dairy),
and a dey, perhaps, might fignify a dairy--
maid; but the only deys at preſent heard of
in England, are thoſe of Tunis and Algiers.
A ſhepherd, a cowherd.
In Scotland, and anciently in England,
a herd was a keeper of cattle; but now it is
made uſe of by the Engliſh, only for the
flock he keeps. Nay, Allan Ramſay calls the
hero of his Paſtoral, the Gentle (that is, not
the meek, but the high-born) Shepherd,
thinking herd, too vulgar an expreſſion.
A ſhearer of corn.
To ſhear corn, is alſo improperly made
uſe of in the north of England, as well as
in Scotland, for to reap corn. Shearing,
can only be done with ſhears, or ſciſſars,
whereas corn is cut down, or reaped, by the
hook, the ſickle, or the ſcythe.
A hook, (better)
A ſickle, or reaping-hook.
To kirn butter.
To churn butter.
Ky, or kine [Belgic].
From ky, the Scots have alſo formed quey,
A ſtot, or ſtoat [Saxon].
A young bullock.
A ſtirk (in Lancaſhire, ſturk).
A ſteer, or heifer.
A gaut (as, a mill gaut).
A hog, a ſow.
A young ſheep.
Even in Yorkſhire, and Northamptonſhire,
a ſheep of a year old is called a hog.
A grice (an old Engliſh word for)
A little pig.
A croft [Saxon].
A ſmall farm.
In England, a croft only means a ſmall
paſture, near a cottage.
To labour well, they alſo uſe in Scotland,
for to farm well.
A little farm, or landed property.
Maling comes from mail, in conſequence
of rents being originally paid in mails or bags;
mails and duties, alſo, a common phraſe in
Scotland for rents, is derived, as is generally
imagined, from maille, a bag, and dû, the
participle of devoir. Biſhop Fleetwood, at
the ſame time, affirms (Pref. to Chron. Prec.),
that mails was an old Engliſh word for
halfpence. It appears, from the ſame learned
writer (p. 5o, 51.), that the Scotch
mode of dividing a farm into ſo many
pennylands, halfpennylands, and farthinglands,
was formerly known in England; nor
was a penny ſo deſpicable a rent for a little
ſpace of ground, at a time when one penny,
as the biſhop informs us, would purchaſe a
ram, and twelve pence an ox, p. 43.
Lands near a manſion-houſe.
Mains, is either a contraction of domains,
or derived from maneo, in the ſame
manner as manſe and manor.
A ſtock for a farm.
Good Winter's proviſion.
Proviſion for cattle, in the Winter ſeaſon,
being ſeldom in great plenty or abundance
in Scotland, whilſt the Scots were indifferent
farmers, it occasioned the formation
of a particular word (wintering) to
expreſs its ſcarcity or abundance.
Fodder is plenty.
Fodder is plentiful, or abundant.
There is no ſuch adjective as plenty.
Fogage [fogagium, Low Latin].
Aftermath, or aftergraſs.
Fogage, is properly the graſs that has
grown after the hay has been made. In
ſome counties in England it is called erſh,
or eddiſh; and in Suſſex gratton. The
Engliſh, at the ſame time, ſay a fog, for a
A ſtook of corn (old Engliſh, for)
A ſhock of corn.
Rent in grain.
Feorme, the Saxon primitive word, whence
farm is derived, ſignified food, or proviſion.
Black. Com. Vol. ii. p. 318. And
as rents in Scotland were originally paid in
kind, and from arable grounds, conſequently
in grain; hence rent paid in grain,
came to be called farm; and in thoſe primitive
days of hoſpitality, were all made
uſe of as feorme, or proviſions for the ſuſtenance
of the proprietor's family.
Rents, in Scotland, were at firſt paid for
the arable lands only; but when graſs became
more valuable in that country, the
landlord would naturally inſiſt upon ſome
conſideration for the ground in graſs. The
Scotch farmers were fonder of fines, which
they imagined was only a temporary burthen,
than a perpetual increaſe of rent, and
they were often more convenient for the
matter. Fines were therefore paid for the
graſs grounds, and hence came to be called
Bear, or big.
Barley of inferior quality.
Grain, and ſometimes oatmeal.
The Scots alſo ſay, "the wind and
"rain have lodged (laid flat) my corns."
Whereas corns are only the hard and painful
excreſcences on the toes. "Corn the
"horſe," alſo, for give the horſe a feed of
oats, or corn, is not unuſual.
Grains of malt.
Lint [linteum, Latin], generally, in England,
Young ſhoots of corn.
A bee's ſcape [Daniſh].
Scape, or ſcaupe, is uſed for a cluſter,
quantity, or bed of any thing; as a ſcaupe,
for a bed of oyſters, muſcles, &c. &c.
Sceppe, alſo, according to Biſhop Fleetwood,
Chron. Prec. p. 77. was an old Engliſh
word for buſhel.
A byre [Erſe].
Beſtial (from beaſt).
Beſtial is uſed in England as an adjective,
but not as a ſubſtantive.
A bow [Erſe].
A dairy, or herd of cattle.
A bow is alſo made uſe of for a fold,
contracted from bought, and perhaps derived
from the French boucher, to ſhut up,
A bothie (from booth).
A little cottage.
A corf-houſe (from coffer)
A barn -yard, (better)
A ſtone-dike, (in England, always)
A ſtone wall.
Dike, according to Skinner, comes from
dig, and conſequently dikes, like thoſe of
Holland, are made of earth, and never of
ſtone. Properly we may dig a dike, but
we muſt build a wall.
A ſlap, in a dike.
A gap in a wall.
A pailing [palus, Latin], uſed erroneouſly for
A paliſade, or paliſado.
Pailing is ſtill uſed in England, for any
common wooden fence.
Or, ground formerly tilled, now in paſture.
A fur, or fure [Saxon].
Ex. A light fur, for a ſhallow furrow.
A day's ploughing.
Faugh [fauve, Fr.]
A rig [Saxon].
Chingle, (a word uſed in Suſſex alſo, for)
Feal (from fewel).
Dung, or manure.
Muck is a word now growing out of uſe,
even in the remoteſt parts of England.
A midding [Saxon].
Midding, ſays Biſhop Gibſon (Notes on
the Pol. Mid.), is derived from myke, Saxon,
for dung, and ding, which ſignified a heap.
Gooding for the land.
Kail is derived from cole, a general name for all ſorts of cabbage; and blade, from the
French bled, or blé:
Whins (from the Welſh).
Furze, at leaſt, is more common in England.
A Saugh [ſalix, Latin],
A birk [Saxon].
From Birk, Berkſhire is ſaid to have
taken its name.
Berry, (more commonly)
Alſo blackberries, for black currants. Black,
berries, in England, are a ſpecies of bramble.
Gins, or quens.
A notion prevails in the North, that the
blackcherry was originally brought from
Guines in France, and hence its name in
Shrubs, or thorns.
Grounds, or pleaſure-grounds.
This ſenſe of the word policy, is probably
taken from the French verb policer, to order;
as pleaſure-grounds are kept in better
order than other fields.
A park, in England, is properly a large
piece of ground incloſed for deer; whereas,
in Scotland, it is applied to every ſpecies of
A pretty lying field.
A field with a beautiful ſlope or declivity.
A crag, or craig [Saxon].
Mr. Ray ſuppoſes craig to be a Britiſh
A brae [Erſe].
Ex. A ſtay brae, for a ſteep bank. Brae
is alſo uſed in a more extenſive ſenſe, ſignifying
a large extent of hilly country, as
the braes of Mar, and the braes of Athol.
The ſhoulder of a hill.
The ridge of a hill.
A glen, or glyn [Erſe].
A dale, or narrow valley:
A ſtrath [Erſe].
A broad valley.
A haugh [Saxon].
A ſmall meadow in a valley,
A know, or knoll, (old Engliſh, for)
A little hill.
A Slak [Saxon].
A narrow paſs between two hills.
Bent, (uſed by Bacon, for)
Ruſhes, or coarſe graſs.
Links (from ling, an old Engliſh word, for)
Down, heath, or common.
Adding tie is unncceſſary, unleſs as a punſter
once ſaid, "ſince the ground in queſtion
"belongs in property to many, it muſt be a
"common tie among them." It is ſingular
that links, another word for heath or common,
from the manner in which it is pronounced
and written by the Scots, ſhould
give ſome additional grounds for ſo whimſical
In the north of England, it is called hadder.
Bracken is common in Eſſex, and other
parts of England.
A moſs (corrupted from moraſs).
A bog, or marſh.
According to the Engliſh idiom, moſs is
the excreſcence which grows upon walls
and trees, and not the earth of a bog.
Peat is an old Engliſh word for turf,
dug in pits, whence the name is derived.
A burn, or brun [Saxon].
A ſtream, or rivulet.
Burn was a word common even in the
ſouth of England; hence Sherburn, Milburn,
&c. take their name. It originally
ſignified water ſpringing out of the earth;
and hence, in Brabant, a well is called a
The Engliſh never ſay the water of
Thames, as the Scots do, the water of
Tweed, or the water of Tay.
A ſpeat (from the old Engliſh verb ſpet).
A great ſuperabundance of water.
A ſtank [ſtagnum, Latin].
A pond, or pool.
A dub [Saxon].
A pool of dirty water.
Proſpect is an indefinite term, and relates
to every thing that can be ſeen from any
particular place. View, properly refers only
to one particular object. Ex. There is a
delightful proſpect from Highgate-Hill of
the country about London, and a diſtinct view
from it, of St. Paul's.
A glede [Saxon].
Glede may be found in Deut xiv. 13.
A corby [gorbeau, Fr.]
A gawk [Saxon]
A mavis [mavis, Fr.]
A laverick, (abbreviated by the Engliſh into)
I ſhall conclude this chapter with a liſt of
TRADES and OCCUPATIONS, which
have different names in the Scotch and
Wright, at preſent, is a general name for
timber workmen; hence ſhipwright, wheelwright,
&c.; but the Scots, by wrights,
mean carpenters; which, Mr. Brokeſby affirms,
is ſtill the caſe in the Eaſt Riding of
But it may be remarked, that wright
originally ſignified labouring man, and
was not confined to artificers in wood,
which is ſuppoſed to be the caſe at preſent.
And that ſmith, ſtood the Saxons in the
ſame ſtead, as faber did the Romans; for
as they had their faber lignarius, and faber
ferrarius, ſo the Saxons had their woodſmith
(now called wright, or carpenter),
their ironſmith, and their arrowſmith *, or
maker of arrows. Indeed, as timber-workmen
are obliged to ſmite with their hammers,
as well as artificers in iron, the name
ſmith, which comes from ſmite, might,
with the ſame propriety, be applied to the
former, as to the latter.
Hence alſo, a ſpecious and plauſible reaſon
may be aſſigned for the great preva*
Arrowſmith is the name of a family in the
neighbourhood of Worceſter, who certainly took
their name from a profeſſion of the firſt importance,
when the archers or bowmen of England were the
conquerors of France, and the terror of Europe.
lence of ſmith over every other ſurname. For
taylor, turner, miller, &c. were names by
which only one particular handicraft trade
was diſtinguiſhed; whereas ſmith, was a
word by which two very common occupations
were jointly denominated.
A baxter, (an old Engliſh word for)
A webſter, (formerly uſed in England for)
Butt maltſter, &c. is good Engliſh.
A browſter (quaſi brewſter).
A brouſt, is alſo made uſe of, for a
A ſoutar [ſutor, Latin].
A cordiner [cordonnier, Fr.]
A cordwainer, or ſhoemaker.
A whiteiron ſmith.
The Scots alſo ſay whiteiron, for tin. In
Suſſex, tinmen are called whiteſmiths.
A heckler [Belgic].
At leaſt flaxdreſſer is preferable.
A tradeſman, it may be obſerved, in Scotland,
implies one who works with his hands
at any handicraft trade; whereas in England,
it means a ſhopkeeper, whether he
works himſelf or not.
Legal, and clerical words and phraſes.
THE Scotch and Engliſh ſyſtems of
juriſprudence, at one period, were
nearly the ſame. Our moſt ancient lawbook,
the Regiam Majeſtatem, and Glanville's
Treatiſe on the Laws of England,
may be compared to different editions of
the ſame work. It is well known with
what zeal many Scotch antiquarians have
contended for the originality of the Regiam
Majeſtatem, and how vehemently the Engliſh
have aſſerted, that it was only a ſervile
imitation of their countryman's performance
*. It is dangerous to engage in
* As to the controverſy regarding the authenticity
of the Reginam Majeſtatem, the reader may conſult
a conteſt, into which two nations have entered
with as much eagerneſs, as if the honour
of their reſpective countries depended
upon that ſingle point. I ſhall wave that
muſty controverſy; and, inſtead of making
fruitleſs inquiries into the ancient connexion
between the laws of England and Scotland,
ſhall endeavour to prove, in as few words
as poſſible, the wiſdom and policy of incorporating
our laws together, and of digeſting
them into one complete and regular
Lord Bacon, with whoſe admirable works
the lawyer, the divine, the ſtateſman, the
hiſtorian, and the philoſopher, ought to be
M'Doual of Bankton's Inſtitutes, Vol. i. Book I.
Tit. I. in defence of that work. And, on the other
hand, Craig de Feudis, Lib. I. 8. § II. Lord Lyttelton's
Hiſtory of Henry the Second, Vol. iii. p. 209.
and Lord Hailes's Firſt Eſſay on ſeveral Subjects relating
to Britiſh Antiquities.
equally converſant, has not omitted this
ſubject, among his political diſquiſitions
and the reaſons he aſſigns for compoſing a
Britiſh Code, are not leſs applicable to the
preſent, than they were to his own times.
They are contained in his Speech concerning
the Union of Laws, and in his excellent
Obſervations concerning the Union between
England and Scotland.
In the firſt place, it is certain, that the
forming of ſuch a code would be attended
with the happy conſequence of having the
laws of both nations reviſed and digeſted;
a work, which the number and verboſity
of our Britiſh Statutes renders daily more
neceſſary. The Scotch law-books are of
an immenſe magnitude, an onus multorum
camelorum, but nothing in compariſon of
the number which the Barriſters of England
muſt peruſe; an abridgment of whoſe
ſyſtem of juriſprudence has been ſeriouſly
offered to the public in no leſs than four and
twenty volumes folio. Such a heaping up of
laws, without obſerving much order or arrangement,
may increaſe the buſineſs of the
bar from the confuſion and uncertainty it
occasions; but every one muſt perceive,
that it is equally diſgraceful to the ſtate,
and ruinous to the people.
Since the principles of the laws of England
and Scotland were originally the ſame,
the reducing them into one complete and
regular ſyſtem cannot be a work of unſurmountable
labour and difficulty: Nor would
such an attempt meet with thoſe obſtructions
which might be expected, had there
never had been any connexion or reſemblance
between the two codes. And if
once our laws were again united, it is improbable,
whilſt our King and Parliament
remained the ſame, that any material difference
would be permitted. We ſhould
then lie under the ſame yoke, as Bacon obſerves;
our union and connexion with each
other would be ſtrengthened and confirmed,
and in ſucceeding ages, any diſcord or ſeparation
between the two nations would
probably be prevented.
Indeed, when it is conſidered, that an
abridgment of the laws of England was
recommended to Parliament almoſt two
centuries ago, and that, in the reign of
Queen Elizabeth, it was ſaid, ſo voluminous
were the Statutes, that they could neither
be ſufficiently underſtood by the lawyers,
nor properly obſerved and practiſed by the
people*, it is aſtoniſhing to find that the
* Gurdon's Hiſt, of-Parl. Vol. i. p. 396.
Engliſh ſhould ſtill groan under a ſtill more
accumulated burden. *
If that happy union of laws ſhould ever
take place, which perhaps may be gradually
carried into execution, on the plan
which Mr. Juſtice Barrington has ſuggeſted
†-, the following differences between the
Scotch and Engliſh legal dialects (partly
ariſing from greater remains of Normannic
juriſprudence in Scotland, than in England,
but principally occaſioned by our
connexion with France, and the introduction
of the civil law into Scotland), will require
to be particularly attended to.
* There are no leſs than four thouſand different
offences puniſhable at this time by the laws of England.
Vide Addington's Abridgment of the Penal
† Vide Barring. Obſerv. on the Ancient Statutes.
Appendix, p. 499.
LEGAL WORDS and PHRASES.
Scotch. To adduce in proof of any thing.
Engliſh. To produce in proof of any thing.
To appretiate [apprecier, Fr.]
To aſſolzie [abſolvere, Latin].
To bruke [Saxon].
To enjoy, or poſſeſs.
To compete [competes, Fr.]
To enter into competition.
To condeſcend upon [condeſcendre, Fr.]
To ſpecify, or enumerate.
To ſwear, to depoſe, or to give evidence.
Yet the Engliſh ſay deponent, and not
To deſpulzie, and to ſpulzie.
To rob, ſpoil, and plunder.
The Scotch words are derived from the
French ſpolier, and depouiller.
To diſpoſe, deviſe, convey, or transfer.
To reply, duply, triply, quadruply, quintuply,
To anſwer, reply, rejoin, rebut, ſur-rebut,
&c.; hence the nouns rejoinder, rebutter,
The Scots imitate the French idiom, re--
pliquer, dupliquer, tripler, quadrupler, &c.
To excamb [excambere, Law Latin].
In the words derived from the Latin,
there is ſome reſemblance between the
Oſcan dialect and the Engliſh. Both of them
delight in cutting off the ends of the words
they have adopted, as if improvement conſiſted
in mutilation. A thouſand inſtances
occur in the Engliſh language; and with
regard to the Oſcan, it contracted cælum
into cæl, ſolidum into ſollum, famulus into
famul, and facultas, difficultas, capitalis, into
facul, difficul, and capital.
To extinguiſh a debt.
To pay off a debt by degrees.
To hold blench.
To hold lands for the payment of a ſmall
To homologate [homologuer, Fr.]
To ratify, or approve.
To implement an agreement [implementum,
To fulfil an agreement.
To incarcerate [incarcero, Latin].
Dr. Young, in his Night Thoughts, uſes
incarcerate in a figurative ſenſe.
To infeft [infeoder, Fr.]
From Bobbin's Gloſſary of the Lancaſhire
dialect, it would appear that to feft,
is made uſe of in that county, for to give
an eſtate for life, &c.
To inſtruct any thing by evidence [inſtruire,
To prove any thing by evidence.
To intromit with a man's goods.
To take the poſſeſſion, or management, of
a man's goods.
To give an account of one's intromiſſions,
is alſo a common Scottiſh phraſe.
To poind [Saxon].
In ſome places (nor is Scotland an exception),
this word is corrupted into pun.
To propone a defence.
To ſtate, or move a defence.
To repulſe, or diſcourage.
To reſile from an agreement [reſilio, Latin].
To depart from an agreement.
To ſummons a perſon.
To ſummon a perſon.
Summons is the noun, and ſummon the
To waken a plea.
To renew, or revive a ſuit.
Though bygone may be found in Shakeſpear,
yet it is now reckoned a word peculiarly
Defunct (old Engliſh, for)
Leſum (corrupted from lawſum).
Notour [notoire, Fr.]
Proven, and its compounds; as improven, &c.
Pled (improperly made uſe of, for)
Onerous [onereux, Fr.]
Weighty, ſufficient, for a valuable conſideration.
Ex. He, ſold his eſtate for an onerous cauſe,
that is for money; and implies a ſufficient
price, in oppoſition to gratuitous, which
means for nothing, or at leaſt voluntarily,
Relevant [relever, Fr.]
Sufficient, valid, lawful.
Timous is an expreſſion uſed by Bacon,
now exploded in England.
Udal [ccrrupted from allodium, Feudal Latin].
As no lands in England are held in abſolute
independence, without acknowledging
any Lord Paramount, even allodial is not
often made uſe of.
An act of contravention [contravention, Fr.]
The act of breaking- through any reſtraint
impoſed by deed, by covenant, or by a
court of juſtice.
An adjudication [adjudication, Fr.]
A legal conveyance.
It is a legal ſeizure, or judicial conveyance
of the debtor's eſtate, for the creditor's
ſecurity and payment, corresponding to the
Engliſh writ of Elegit.
An advocate [advocatus, Latin].
A counſellor, or barriſter.
The Lord Advocate of Scotland, is a
term equivalent to the Attorney General of
England: And counſellors, in Scotland, are
ſaid not to have been called to the bar, but
to have paſſed advocate; that is to ſay,
have paſſed through all thoſe trials, which,
according to the rules of the Scotch bar,
muſt take place, before any one can enter
into that profeſſion.
Annualrent [annual rente, Fr.]
Caution [caution, Fr.]
Bail, ſecurity, ſurety.
Cautioner [cautionner, Fr.]
Bail, or ſurety.
Cedent [cedant, Fr.]
A complainer, in England, is a murmurer,
or querulous perſon. The Scots alſo ſay,
purſuer for plaintiff and defender for reſpondent.
Conqueſt [conquêt, Fr.]
Acquiſitions made by a huſband or wife,
during the exiſtence of a marriage.
Debitor [debitor, Latin].
A decreet [decrêt, Fr.]
A decree, or deciſion.
The diſtinction is, a decree in the Chancery,
but a deciſion in the Court of King's
A deed of mortification [mortification, Fr.]
A gift in mortmain.
A perpetual donation for charitable purpoſes.
Deſuetude [deſuetudo, Latin].
Diſuſe, ceſſation from being accuſtomed.
A doer, (an old Engliſh word, for)
Expiry of a leaſe.
Expiration of a leaſe.
The fiar (from fee).
The perfon who has the fee.
The proprietor is termed fiar, in contradiſtinction
to the perſon who is intitled to
the rents of the eſtate during his own life.
Forfaulture [forfaiture, Fr.]
Fortalice [fortereſſe, Fr.]
Caſtle, or place of ſtrength.
Interlocutor [interlocutoire, Fr.]
An interlocutor, in Engliſh, is a dialogiſt,
or one who talks with another.
A leit (from let, or 1iſt).
A liſt of names.
Properly, liſts of the names of perſors nominated
for any office or employment, which
liſts muſt be approved of by thoſe to whom
the 1iſts are preſented.
Leſion [leſion, Fr.]
Loſs, or damage.
The libel [libellus, Latin].
The writ, or inditement.
Mails and duties [maille, & devoir, Fr.
A march [marche, Fr.]
A limit, or boundary.
Marches, in the plural, is uſed; but it
ſeems more appropriated to the boundary
between two kingdoms, than of neighbouring
pariſhes, counties, or eſtates.
Multure [mouture, Fr,]
A miller's fee for grinding.
When the great advantage of water--
mills was diſcovered, it was thought proper
to give every kind of encouragement to
thoſe who erected them. Thirlage, ſocomes
and multure, were then eſtabliſhed. Thirlage,
or an obligation upon certain lands to
grind all their grain at a certain mill. Socome,
and multure, or dues neceſſary to be
paid by the poſſeſſors of thoſe lands to the
occupier of the mill, and the perſon who.
The pannel [panneau, Fr.]
The priſoner at the bar.
Priſoners are called pannels in Scotland,
from their being incloſed in a pannel (panneau),
or little ſquare, when tried before a
judge. And the jury is ſaid to be
pannelled, when they are ſhut up by themſelves,
until they give their verdict.
A proceſs [procés, Fr.]
A ſuit, or action at law
the provoſt of a town [prevôt, Fr.]
The mayor, or lord mayor of a town.
Bailie, is alſo made uſe of for alderman,
burghers for burgeſſes, and treaſurer for
A reduction [reduction, Fr.]
A ſuit for reducing.
An action for voiding or ſetting aſide
any right, whether by agreement, or the
ſentence of a judge.
Sheriff depute [deputé, Fr.]
Under-ſheriff, or ſheriff-deputy.
The Engliſh alfo ſay deputy, and not depute.
Skaith, or ſkath [Saxon].
Loſs, or damage.
Sorners [ſorehon, Iriſh].
A man's ſubjects.
A man's goods, effects.
Such a man has a very good ſubject, and
his ſubjects have ſold well, are two very
Surplus, or overplus.
Teinds (from ten).
Tenements [tenementum, Latin].
A tenement of land (which is ſurely a
Scottiſh expreſſion), is a great collection of
houſes, one built over the other, in ſeparate
floors or ſtories.
Legal jointure to a widow of a third of
her huſband's eſtate.
Liferent, is alſo a Scotch legal term, for
Tinſel (from tyne, Iſlandic, to loſe).
A tutor, and curator [Latin].
In England, tutors are what the Scots
call governors, domines, or pædagogues; as
Vacance (as, the ſummer vacance).
Wadſet (from wad, an old word for pledge).
Warrandiſe [warrantiſo, Law Latin].
An attorney, or ſolicitor.
A writer, is properly an author.
Perſonal ſecurity, (more commonly)
A ſpecies of treaſon.
Liege pouſtie [legitima poteſtas].
As effiers [affaire, Fr.]
As is proper, or expedient.
Failing of him and his heirs.
In default of him and his heirs.
CLERICAL WORDS and PHRASES.
Scotch. To tranſport an incumbent [tranſporter,
Engliſh. To tranſlate an incumbent.
A kirk, (an old Engliih word, for)
A general aſſembly of the kirk.
The church of Scotland claim the right
of aſſembling by their own authority. The
clergy of England are convoked by the
A loft [Daniſh ].
Galleries, in churches, are called lofts in
Scotland, and, I believe, in the North of
England, from their being raiſed "aloft"
above the other ſeats of the church. Organ--
loft is ſtill retained.
Stool of repentance, or cutty-ſtool.
Church pillory, or place of doing penance.
The cutty-ſtool is a kind of pillory in a
church, erected for the puniſhment of thoſe
who have tranſgreſſed in the article of chaſtity,
and, on that account, are liable to
the cenſures of the church.
The ſacrament, or euchariſt.
The ſacrament is emphatically called the
ordinance, from its having been ordained by
Meſs John, (a ludicrous name for)
A good ſtipend, (more commonly in England)
A good living, cure, or benefice.
A precentor [preſenteur, Fr.]
The Scots alſo ſay, to preſent, for to give
out the pſalm.
The twentieth and ſecond pſalm.
The twenty-ſecond pſalm.
The Scotch phraſe would imply, that a
certain number of lines out of the twentieth),
and ſo many out of the ſecond pſalm
were to be ſung.
The manſe (uſually in England)
Manſe, which comes from the Latin word
manſio, is ſometimes made uſe of in England;
but parſonage-houſe is more common.
The Author has now concluded a ſubject,
which the proſpect he had at an early period
of life, of being obliged to ſpeak in public,
firſt induced him to conſider. — He conceived,
that any one who addreſſed the
Public, either at the bar, or as the repreſentative
of a number of reſpectable and
independent gentlemen, ought not to be
diſtinguiſhed by a ruſtic ſtile, or a provincial
dialect; and he now flatters himſelf,
that the pains he took to correct his own
language, may have led him to make ſuch
obſervations as may be of ſervice to many
of his countrymen, who are under the
The ſubject he has ventured to write
upon, includes an infinite variety of particulars,
many of which, from the very nature
of language, muſt neceſſarily be fluctuating
and capricious; he hopes, therefore,
the candid critic, who is acquainted with
the difficulty of the undertaking, will excuſe
any imperfections that may have attended
the execution; eſpecially as accuracy
and elegance of ſtile, however deſirable,
could only be conſidered by the Author
in his hours of leiſure from more
This, it may be obſerved, is the largeſt
collection of Scoticiſms that has hitherto
been offered to the Public; and without
ſuch aid, any conſiderable improvement in
the language of a Scotchman would require
much labour and attention. The
collection has been of conſiderable ſervice
to the Author; and any trouble he has had
in arranging the materials, will be amply
compenſated, if it ſhall tend to remove ſo
conſpicuous and unpleaſing a mark of diſtinction
between South and North Britain.
But it muſt not be imagined that bad
language, and improper or obſolete words
and phraſes, are entirely confined to Scotland.
On the contrary, if England were to be
ranſacked, as numerous a liſt of improprieties
as is contained in this collection, might
be exhibited to the world, of defects both
in writing and speaking: Nor is the capital
itſelf exempted, though in general accounted
the ſtandard of good language. And,
although it is proper for the Scots to acquire
the real and genuine Engliſh words
and phraſes; yet ſuch as are either provincial,
vulgar, or cockney, ought to be carefully
The provinvial phraſes made uſe of in
the various diſtricts into which England is
divided, would form a work both large and
curious; and, from the ſpecimens I have
ſeen, would contain many words and idioms,
at preſent ſuppoſed peculiar to Scotland:
But there are many of them of a
more confined and local nature, and fully
as abſurd and ridiculous, as any to which
the Scots are addicted. — For example, ſay
of it (corrupted from aſſay), for taſte of it;
a few broth, for a little broth; a couple of
peaſe, for a few peaſe; how he did do, for
how he was; without knowing to you, for
without being known to you; yes ſure, and no
ſure, for yes and no, and the like.
Vulgar phraſes are equally exceptionable.
For inſtance, cutting a figure, for making a
figure; prizes, for prices; much leſs expenſes,
for much leſs expence; in all my born days,
for ſince I was born; quarten's hour, for a
quarter of an hour, &c.
Cockney phraſes, a Scotchman is very
apt to get into when he makes his firſt
appearance in London. And when he can
eaſily and fluently bring out, this here
thing, and that there thing, for this or that
thing; I knode, for I knew; on it, for of it,
as, I heard on it; graſs, for aſparagus; your'n
and his'n, for yours and his, he fancies
himſelf a complete Engliſhman. It is a
common obſervation, that bad habits are
more eaſily, and indeed are more generally
acquired, than good ones, and experience
proves the obſervation to be true,
with reſpect to language.
Cite this Document
Observations on the Scottish Dialect. 2022. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved May 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=148.
"Observations on the Scottish Dialect." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2022. Web. May 2022. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=148.
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "Observations on the Scottish Dialect," accessed May 2022, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=148.
If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2022. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/.
Observations on the Scottish Dialect
|Title||Observations on the Scottish Dialect|
|Year of publication||1782|
Author information: Sinclair, Sir John
|Year of birth||1754|
|Place of birth||Thurso, Caithness, Scotland|
|Locations where resident||Edinburgh|