Monday, January 20, 2020


A Scots Proverb

Allan Ramsay, A Collection of Scots Proverbs (Edinburgh: J. Wood, 1776), p. 33 (Chap. XIV, Number 130):
He snites his nose in his neighbour's dish to get the brose to himsell.
Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. snite, v., sense 2.a:
transitive. To clean or clear (the nose) from mucus, esp. by means of the thumb and finger only; to blow.
Id., s.v. brose, n:
A dish made by pouring boiling water (or milk) on oatmeal (or oat-cake) seasoned with salt and butter.
Hat tip: Eric Thomson, who adds:
How can southron English have retained snout and snot and yet let their cousin 'snite' fall by the wayside? As so often, Scots is the last bastion, a vernacular that Hume and Boswell were brought up speaking but were forced to renege, and now Scots itself has more or less fallen by the wayside. The curmudgeon's chosen path must always be backwards, to rescue everything senselessly tossed aside.

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