Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAOCHAN, n. Cf. Keechan.

1. “A small stream flowing across moorland and boggy ground with its channel concealed by heather and other moor vegetation” (Cai., Inv. (Badenoch) 1929 (per Cai.8); e.Rs.1 1935).

2. “A small stream or narrow burn flowing in the open, usually with some force of water and some noise” (Cai., Inv. (Badenoch) 1929 (per Cai.8)).

3. “Fermented worts. The word is still current in the district, but is being superseded by the word Pook” (Arg.1 1929). Arg. c.1850  The Follinash in L. M'Innes Dial. of S. Kintyre (1936) 30:
Dohl a' Voomper had a brewing In Kilmaschenachan Glen And of foreshot strong and caochan too A greedy squeep has taen.

[Gael. has caochan, a streamlet hidden by herbage (MacBain), whisky in its first process of distillation (Macleod and Dewar); Irish caochán, a blind person, beast or bird; purling noise like the sound of worts fermenting; based on caoch, blind, blasted (of wheat), cf. Lat. caecus, blind. “Sense 2 may be due to the influence of Gael. caothach, cuthach, rage, wrath, because of the noise or violence of the water” (Cai.8 1938).]

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"Caochan n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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