Short leet

The first and possibly only time I heard the term short leet in real life was in 1995 when I was applying for teaching jobs in and around Edinburgh. At one point, I was informed that I had been placed on the short leet for a position. To which my response was, “the short what?”

Betty Kirkpatrick writes in the Caledonian Mercury about useful Scots words and phrases:

A short leet is used to describe a list of selected candidates for a job or an office which has been compiled from a longer list. Thus, the list of candidates most likely to get the job is a short leet. This is a good place for job-hunters to be unless all the other names on the list belong to relatives of board members.

Leet was first recorded in Scots in the sixteenth century In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, a short leet was applied specifically to a short list of nominees for the seats of the retiring members of a burgh council. This short leet was a culled version of the original, much longer, list of nominees for these posts, the longer list being known as a long leet. It was the reduced list, or short leet, which formed the basis of the voting. Leet could also be a verb and meant to put a candidate’s name on a select list.

A quick google search shows that the phrase is still in use, but only in Scotland. And even so, it’s not very common.

The reason I thought about it is because I’m working on my occasionally-annual-and-rarely-timely Radio Sunpig playlist for 2015. iTunes used to make it easy for me to compile my short leet, because since 2005 I had used a fairly rigorous classification scheme for rating songs that I downloaded and listened to. The short leet was basically the list of 5 star songs from each year.

I use Spotify instead of iTunes now, and Spotify doesn’t have granular options for rating songs. So I’m having to use a combination of Spotify’s playlists (junk),’s listening history (actually very good), and my own Mixed Media posts here on to help me out. I’m annoyed at iTunes because Spotify doesn’t have ratings. See how that works?

Anyway, Radio Sunpig 2015 incoming soon. Some great songs last year.