I saw this word in a BBC News item this very morning, what pray does it mean?
swither v. to be uncertain or perplexed about what to do or choose; doubt; hesitate; dither.
wither is a word that many Scottish people use without realising that it is a relative stranger outwith Scots and Scottish English. My spell-checker has in fact just proven the point, underlining both ‘swither’ and ‘outwith’, which have clearly bemused its limited lexicon. A number of stealth Scots words like these have so comfortably established themselves across all Scottish linguistic contexts, from the formal to the informal, that speakers may only become aware of their exotic character when quizzed about them by puzzled non-Scots. The Official Report of the Scottish Parliament (2000) includes former MP and MSP Winnie Ewing’s account of events when she uttered the word in the House of Commons: “The members all stopped and said, ‘I don’t understand’. I wondered what the English word for ‘swither’ was, and they shouted, ‘prevaricate’ and ‘hesitate’. Neither of those words is exactly the same as ‘swither’ … That illustrates part of the strange experience of speaking Scots”.
I might suffer from Swithering. Another word would, could be, confusion. Which when recognized, I’ve found to great benefit, can be dismissed, said goodbye to. ‘Hello confusion (swithering) goodbye confusion’. Works every time.