Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BLETHER, BLATHER, BLEDDER, v., n.1, int. [′blɛðər Sc., but Abd. + ′blɛdər and ′bledɪr]

I. v., tr. and intr. Gen.Sc.

1. To talk foolishly, or loquaciously; to brag. Gen.Sc. Given in N.E.D. as Sc. or north. dial. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 324:
It blather'd Buff before them a', And aftentimes turn'd doited.
Bnff. 1856  J. Collie Poems and Lyrics 55:
Gif I ask ane's assistance in speaking, Man, how he'll blether and puff.
Rnf. [1819]  R. Tannahill Poems and Songs (1876) 312:
She blether'd it roun tae her fae and her frein, How brawlie she was kiss't yestreen.
Ayr. 1803  Sir A. Boswell Poet. Works (1871) 12:
A lawyer neist, wi' blathrin' gab, Wha speeches wove like ony wab.
Uls. 1927  St John G. Ervine Wayward Man iv.:
Ate your tea, man, an' quit bletherin'!

2. “To speak indistinctly, to stammer” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Chiefly as ppl.adj. vbl.n. bletherin', (1) nonsense, verbosity; (2) stammering. (1) Lnk. 1838  J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers, Letter i. 13:
But I maun draw this bletherin' till a conclusion.
(2) Sc. [1769]  D. Herd Sc. Songs (1776) Gloss.:
Stammering is called blethering.

Phr.: to be bletherin' fou, to be so far drunk as to talk loquaciously or foolishly. Abd.(D) 1920  G. P. Dunbar Gaff o' Peat Reek 10;
9 :
Like some chiel bletherin' fou.

II. n. Often in pl. Gen.Sc.

1. Foolish talk, nonsense; profuse and boasting talk. Sc. 1719  W. Hamilton in
Ramsay Poems (1721) 197:
For an' they winna had their Blether, They's get a Flewet.
Ork.(D) 1880  Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 123:
I want neen o' thee idle blether.
Abd.(D) 1924  Leebies Wooin in Swatches o' Hamespun 72:
Curse the aul hag wi' her bledder!
Fif. 1929  St Andrews Citizen (9 Feb.) 9/3:
It nearly gars me spue sometimes tae read sic' blethers.
Lth. 1813  G. Bruce Poems 78:
Aroun' ilk standart soon wad gather, Our lads sae crouse, An' lay ilk noisy braggart's blather, As quiet's a mouse.
Rxb. 1921  Hawick Express (13 May) 3/7:
Hei never tried tae hide his views in a blether o' words.

2. Chat, gossip. Lnk. 1881  A. Wardrop Poems, Songs, etc. 114:
'Tis strange that strangers oft forgather, And meet tae ha'e an antrin blether.

3. One who talks foolishly or profusely. Gen.Sc. Dmf. 1817  W. Caesar Poems 49:
Ne'er fash your heads 'bout Donald's rant, He's but a blether.
Dwn. 1912  F. E. S. Crichton Precepts of Andy Saul (1913) 17:
“Away out o' that, ye impident wee blether!” says I.

III. In pl., int. Nonsense! rubbish! Gen.Sc. wm.Sc. [1835]  Laird of Logan (1868) 558:
Hout! tout! tout! tout! havers, blethers, how could a bauchle speak to a hat?
Dwn.(D) 1886  W. G. Lyttle Sons of the Sod ii.:
“A doot it's ower late,” murmured the girl. “Blethers, woman! it's no yin o'clock yet,” said Johnnie.

Combs.: (1) blether-banes, “a jabberer” (nw., centr. Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (2) blether-bus, “a chatterbox” (Crm. 1914 T.S.D.C. I.). For bus, see Buss, n.6; (3) blether-lippit, “chattering” (Ib.).

[O.Sc. bladder (1540), to stammer; to talk nonsense; pr.p. bletherand (a.1440) (D.O.S.T.). O.N. blaðra, to utter inarticulately (Zoëga), Norw. bladra, to babble, speak imperfectly, Icel. blaðra, to twaddle (Torp).]

Blether v., n.1, interj.

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"Blether v., n.1, interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Apr 2019 <>



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