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HOAST

Ye micht be feelin unner the wedder. Dae ye hae a hoast?

Hoast, n. and v., cough

The wedder is cauld an fowk are forfochen. Ye micht develop a ‘hoast’ (hos(s)t, hoist, houste, haust, howst), meaning ‘a cough’.

Ye wull find monie examples in The Dictionary of the Scots Language that include this yin in A. Shirrefs' Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1790):

For being just as dry's a post, She burrs like ane that has the host.’

The quotation yaises ‘the host’ raither than ‘a host’. This yiss o the definite article 'the' is common in Scots; in Scotland fowk aften say 'they hae the flu' raither than 'they hae flu'.

 Whit dae ye say?

The wird can be yaised tae indicate that somethin his nae chance. In John Mackay Wilson's Historical, Traditionary and Imaginative Tales of the Borders (1857):


The case is no guid in law. It wadna stan a hoast in the Court o' Session.’

A hoast micht be a signal, ye micht hae tae tak tent tae it. In The Scots Magazine (1753):

 ‘Allan Breck came behind him, and hoasted, . . . desired him to come to him.’

Wi the addition o ‘oot’ or ‘up’ it is yaised to indicate that ye maun get somethin “aff yer chest''.

Burns yaises it in To Willie Chalmers’ Sweetheart (1786):

May claw his lug, and straik his beard, And hoast up some palaver.

 Ye micht hae come across the phrase ‘to hoast oot the craig’.

Sheena Blackhall captures the misery o colds in The Bonsai Grower and Other Tales (1998):

 ‘Aa roon her, fowk snochered and pyochered an hoastit into their snifter-dichters.’

Detective wark

The wird ‘host’ is yaised in Old Scots tae mean a cough frae aroon 1470. The Old Norse wird hósta means ‘to cough’ an the Old Norse hósti means ‘a cough’.

We wid be interestit tae ken if ye yaise this wird. Hae a leuk at The Essential Scots Dictionary or The Concise Scots Dictionary for mair wittins.

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