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Scottish word of the week: Sprunt

'Chasing the girls around the haystack after dark' just wouldn't cut it. Picture: TSPL

'Chasing the girls around the haystack after dark' just wouldn't cut it. Picture: TSPL

SPRUNT is a Victorian-era Scots word that originates from the Roxburgh region. Much as the Cromarty dialect is rich with nouns and verbs of the region’s historic fishing, so the Scottish Borders’ own dialects are redolent of the area’s farming communities.

The extinction of spurt is sad in itself, but it’s an increasingly familiar story of the pace of language. Just as “texting” and “selfies” offer a glimpse into how a technologically savvy Scotland now speaks, “sprunt” takes us back to a much simpler time.

So what does it mean? Basically: boys chasing girls around haystacks after dark. Possibly a portmanteau of “sprint” and “hunt” - such as these escapades may have felt for all involved - it not only reads like an activity straight out of a Boy’s Own manual, but it also suggests that it was done so often that “chasing the girls around the haystack” didn’t really cut it for a quick description.

You do wonder what the girls would’ve called it, though.

 

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