Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DOCTOR, n. and v. Sc. usages.

I. n.

1. An assistant-master in a school. Cf. rare Eng. doctor, a teacher or instructor. Sc. 1730  T. Boston Memoirs (1852) 13:
The school-doctor's son having, in his childish folly, put a pipe-stopple in each of his nostrils.
Bnff. 1714  in Rec. Bnff. (N.S.C. 1922) 296:
Objections to the appointment of Patrick Morrison, late doctor in the school of Banff as Burgh Schoolmaster, because he is not a graduat.
Fif. 1704  in E. Henderson Ann. Dunfermline (1879) 375:
The Counsell unanimously elected Mr Thomas Anderson to be doctor of the grammar school.
Edb. 1708  J. Chamberlayne Present State Gt. Britain ii. Bk. iii. 745:
The Queen's School in Edinburgh. Master. Doctors or Ushers. Writing-Master.
Ayr. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 VII. 179:
Before our connection with America was dissolved, many young men from that country and the West Indies were sent here for their education. Mr Cunningham, who was then rector, and had always a doctor under him, had frequently from 20 to 26 boarders in his house.

2. “The red-tailed bumble-bee” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Rxb.5 1940).

3. (1) “A black insect with red streaks, which boys pick up and place upon the hand or arm, saying: ‘Doctor, doctor, draw bluid, or else A'll kill ee.' It is regarded as so doing, or as dropping red serum upon the hand” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also called doctor draw-bluid (Ib.); (2) a ladybird, “supposed to cure cuts when placed on them” (Ags.19 1948), also doctor Ellison (Ags.17 1940). Doctor is applied to the cleg or horse-fly in n.Eng. dial.

4. A large minnow (Fif. 1950 (per Abd.27); Edb.5 1940), the red-breasted minnow (Ayr.9 1949). In e.Dur. the term is applied to a stickleback. Sc. c.1860  J. B. Hunter in Scotsman (13 Sept. 1910):
“Fishin' for doctors” Fishing for minnows with big bellies.

5. The white skate, Raja alba (Abd. 1880–84 F. Day Fishes II. 340).

II. v. To do for, finish off (Sh.10 1948; Lnk.11 1940); “to kill” (Cld. 1825 Jam.2). Also in Eng. dial. Ayr. 1928 4 :
When two boys had a fight one would say of the winner, “He fairly doctored Jock this time.”

[The n. is found in O.Sc. in sense 1. from 1565.]

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"Doctor n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2018 <>



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