Scottish verdict

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 2 17:48:45 UTC 2010

I also checked OED using a full text simple search and could not find:
scottish verdict
scotch verdict shows that "scotch verdict" is defined in multiple
references online. Here are two that provide dates of origin:

Merriam-Webster online has it:
First Known Use of SCOTCH VERDICT: 1912 Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary:
Origin: 1910–15

Google Books contains many cites before these dates. Here is one to start:

1835 June, Cochrane's Foreign Quarterly Review [Volume also contains
The Metropolitan], Page 141, Re-published by Peck and Newton, New
Haven. (Google Books full view)

As jurymen trying the case, we should have no hesitation in returning
the Scotch verdict of "Not proven."

No one is currently paying me for antedating quotations (and some
words and phrases). However, I do have a carefully calibrated scheme
to obtain immense wealth based on 30th episode of South Park that
describes the business plan of the Underpants Gnomes:

Phase 1: Research quotations and place the results on a website
Phase 2: ???????
Phase 3: Profit

On Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 1:12 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender: Â  Â  Â  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster: Â  Â  Â  "Shapiro, Fred" <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: Â  Â  Â Re: Scottish verdict
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> I think that Paul is quite right that "Scotch verdict" or "Scottish verdict" is not in OED. Â It wasn't even in Black's Law Dictionary until recent editions, although it goes back at least as far as the 19th century (whoever the idiot is who supplied the dates of first use for Black's was way off on this one, giving a date of 1912).
> However, Paul is way wrong in supposing that a lot of people on this list get paid for fooling around with the OED.
> Fred
> ________________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Paul Frank [paulfrank at POST.HARVARD.EDU]
> Sent: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 11:53 AM
> Subject: Scottish verdict
> 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,
> fooling-around-with-the-online-OED-when-I-ought-to-be-working-which-is-what-I-actually-get-paid-for,
> 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, Â 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
> Paul Frank
> Translator
> Chinese, German, French, Italian > English
> Espace de l'Europe 16
> Neuchātel, Switzerland
> paulfrank at
> paulfrank at
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