In Reply to: What's this? Scotch mist? posted by Gary Martin on September 08, 2008 at 13:26:
: : Anyone heard the phrase, "what's this? Scotch mist?" before? A colleague says it's from Scotland and I disagree, surely the Scottish would simply call it mist! Anyone?
: Eric Partridge, in A Dictionary of Slang, says it is an RAF coinage. I can't find an earlier usage than 1940.
: The Scots prefer, these days at least, to reserve the word scotch for the drink and, apart from that, prefer Scots or Scottish to things or people from Scotland. Whether that preference dates back to the 1940s I'm not sure.
1. The point about "Scotch mist" is that it isn't just mist; it's a very fine (but exceptionally wetting) steady drizzle. The gag is that what anyone else would describe as rain, the Scots dismiss as "mist".
2. In 1954 the novelist Nancy Mitford, writing about the distinction between English U (upper-class) and non-U (non-upper-class) English usage, asserted that "Scotch" was the adjective used by the upper classes, saying that she always wrote "Scotch" in the manuscripts she sent to the publishers, and in the proofs they sent back to her this was invariably altered to "Scottish". (VSD)