Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLATTER, n. Meanings not found in St.Eng. [′klɑtər]

1. Gossip, scandal, defamatory talk; a rumour. Often in pl. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1746  Diary Rev. J. Bisset in Spalding Club Misc. (1841) I. 372:
If I should credit the clatters of this stormy day, I should tell you that the Duke of Cumberland came to Edinburgh on Fridayes night.
ne.Sc. a.1835  J. Grant Tales of the Glens (1836) 22:
I'se warren' ye he doesna ay credit the clatter o' the countra whan he's forc't to speak aboot it.
Edb. 1825  R. Chambers Trad. of Edb. I. 252:
[Lady Stair] declared that she had lived to a good old age, and had never till now got entangled in any clatters.
Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 238:
I . . . speered if he was gaun to lea us, as the kintra clatter had it.

2. Confidential talk. Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 33:
Lovers have ay some clatter o' their ain.
Rnf. a.1810  R. Tannahill Poems and Songs (1876) 361:
Gudeman, wheesht, lea this wooin wi me, An I'll fixt in a five minent's clatter.

3. A chatterer, a gossip (Sc. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.; Abd.22 1937). Bnff. 1943 2 :
Tibbie wid deave ye: she's nithing bit an everlastin' clatter.

4. A blow (Abd.22 1937). Lnk. 1923  G. Blake Mince Collop Close 273:
Gi'e her a clatter on the heid that'll finish her.

5. Phr.: in a clatter, at once, immediately (Ags.2 1937). Cf. in a clap, id., s.v. Clap, n.1 Ags. 1819  A. Balfour Campbell I. xiv.:
Send up word to Lon'on; ye'll get help in a clatter amo' your gryte friends.

6. Combs.: (1) clatterbag(s), a tale-bearer (Bnff.2, Abd.19 1937; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 136, clatterbag); cf. Clashbag; (2) clatterbash, id.; (3) clatter-stoup, a chatterer, a gossip; (4) clatter-vengeance, “a talkative, gossiping person” (Abd.4 1930); (5) clatter-wallet, idem. (1) Fif. 1941 10 :
I was at schule wi' 'm an' he was aye a clatterbags.
(2) Uls. 1914  St John G. Ervine Mrs Martin's Man (2nd ed.) xiii.:
“Strike you,” she exclaimed. “I wouldn't lay a finger on you, you ould clatterbash you! How dare you go about spreadin' stories.”
(3) Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie II. vi.:
Whar's Leddy Sandyford, or that glaikit clatter-stoup, Flounce, her maiden?
(4) m.Sc. 1927  J. Buchan Witch Wood viii.:
I'm nae clatter-vengeance to be clypin' wi' auld wives at the roadside.
(5) Kcb. c.1900 4 :
A bodie that kens ither folk's affairs better than they ken them themselves is a clatterwallet.

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"Clatter n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2018 <>



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