[Spellyans] Box

ewan wilson butlerdunnit at ntlworld.com
Sat Oct 9 19:40:47 BST 2010

In Scotland 'a kist'  ( pronounced as the past tense of the verb kiss: 
designates a wooden chest for holding linen, etc. They're a bit old 
fashioned these days but there's one in our family dating back to the end of 
the 18th century which went all the way across to North America and back!
A Kist O' Whistles was a derogatory term for a church organ in Presbyterian 
Scotland where the metrical psalms were and still are in the more 
conservative denominations such as my own still sung without instrumental 

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
To: "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
Sent: Saturday, October 09, 2010 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Spellyans] Box

On 9 Oct 2010, at 21:14, nicholas williams wrote:

> Where did the antiquarians get the word from?
> If they saw it written <kist> they would have pronounced it short.
> For it to have a long vowel it would have had to be written <keest>.

Kist is a word used in the North and in Scotland. OED:

[Northern form of CHEST n.1; either directly from Scandinavian, or owing its 
form to Norse influence; cf. ON.kista, Sw. kista, Da. kiste; also Du. kist, 
Ger. kiste. With the various senses, cf. CHEST 1, 3, 4, 5.]

1.a. A chest, box, coffer. (In Sc. the specific term for a servant's trunk.)
c1300 Havelok 2018 Al þat he milhen [= hy mihten] fynde Of hise, in arke or 
in kiste.

13.. E.E. Allit. P. C. 159 Ouerborde bale to kest,..Her kysttes & her 

c1420 Sir Amadace (Camden) xliv, Kistes and cofurs bothe ther stode,..fulle 
of gold precius and gode.

1535 STEWART Cron. Scot. II. 21 All tha buikis tha kist hes brocht till.

b. Applied to the ‘ark’ of bulrushes in which Moses was placed; and to 
Noah's ark. Obs.

a1300 Cursor M. 5614-17 (Cott.) A rescen [MS. An esscen] kyst [Gött. a kist 
of rises] sco did be wroght,..In þis kist þe barn sco did.

13.. E.E. Allit. P. B. 449 ‘Now Noe’, quoth oure lorde, ‘..Hatz þou closed 
þy kyst with clay alle aboute?’

Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com/

Spellyans mailing list
Spellyans at kernowek.net

More information about the Spellyans mailing list