Scottish verdict

Paul Frank paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU
Tue Nov 2 15:53:26 UTC 2010

I heard someone refer to the "Scotch verdict" on the Beeb today - also
known as the "Scottish verdict" or "Scots verdict," i.e. a verdict of
"not proven." It's a term I've heard dozens of times over the past 30
years. In Scotland (I used to have a Scottish girlfriend; she dumped
me) some people call it the "bastard verdict."

Now that I have a new hobby (for which read obsession), to wit,
I see that the OED lists neither "Scotch verdict" nor "Scottish
verdict" nor "bastard verdict." I want my money back. Just kidding.
How do you guys ever get any work done with the OED only a click away?
But,  wait, I forgot that fooling around with the OED is what you get
paid for.

Or is Scotch verdict in the OED and I'm just too dumb to find it?


Paul Frank
Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
Espace de l'Europe 16
Neuch√Ętel, Switzerland
paulfrank at
paulfrank at

The American Dialect Society -

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