Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CONTER, CONTAR, Contir, prep., adv., adj., n., v. [′kɔntər]

1. prep. Against (Edb.1 1937). Also in forms conters and a conter. Sc. 1883  M. Oliphant It was a Lover I. iii.:
Braehead has aye an ill word conter Murkley.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 85:
An' what hae we a conter them to say?
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 17:
Conters my craig, he gat his thumbs on me.

2. adv. In phrs.: (1) to gae conter, to go wrong; (2) to gae conter to, to go against (someone's wishes, expectations) (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Lnl.1, Lnk.3 1937). (1) Ags. 1918  J. Inglis The Laird 12:
A'thing gaes conter when I'm fishin' here.
(2) Per. 1897  C. M. Stuart Sandy Scott's Bible Class (1924) 75:
The weight o' a godly man gaun conter to God is owre weighty for the biggest boat.

3. adj. Opposite (Ags.1 1937). Freq. with gate. Bnff. 1920  E. S. Rae in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Dec.):
A bittie roon' blyth Mormon's bonnie braes The conter gate.
Abd. 1933  J. H. Smythe Blethers o' Barrowsgate 12:
'Twas them that steal't aul Postie's jeuks, An' in the kirk upstair, Leet them lowse in conter neuks Fan a' were boo'ed in prayer.

Hence contirgates, adv., contrariwise. Abd.(D) 1922  J. Wight in Swatches o' Hamespun 60:
He jist wudna tak' a nasay. “Read quines contirgates,” he said.

4. n.

(1) The contrary (Bnff.2, Ags.1 1937). Abd. 1930  “Sub Divo” in Abd. Univ. Review (July) 199:
Wi' you the conter wis the truth.

‡(2) A reverse, misfortune, blow (Ags.2 1937). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 87:
'Bout then a days, we never met wi' cross, Nor kend the ill of conters or of loss.
Ags. 1879  T. Ormond in
A. L. Fenton Forfar Poets 141:
The greatest conter e'er she got.

†(3) In phr. in contars o', in defiance of. Bch. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 85:
Me a' her houp, she a' my care In contars o' them a'.

5. v. To oppose, contradict, thwart. Gen.Sc. Abd.(D) c.1750  R. Forbes Ulysses' Answer in Sc. Poems (1785) 20:
And syne fa' durst anes conter him Was like to tine the head.
em.Sc. 1894  (a) “I. Maclaren” Bonnie Brier Bush 160:
A' told him tae keep a calm sough, and no conter the elder.
Kcb. 1895  S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle 174:
He threepit that it was me that set the dogs on, but I never did that, though I didna conter him.

[Fr. contre, against, Lat. contra. In this word Sc. has resisted the usual tendency to change O.Fr. -on to -oun, -oon, prob. through the influence of school Latin. The word is most commonly used as a verb in Mod.Sc., but the meaning as given above appears to be a fairly recent development, D.O.S.T. giving only the meaning of “to meet, encounter,” from a.1400.]

Conter prep., adv., adj., n., v.

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"Conter prep., adv., adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Oct 2018 <>



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