Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GAITHERIN, vbl.n. Gen.Sc. form of Eng. gathering. Sc. usages (mainly hist.).

1. A signal for assembling fighting men, sounded on bagpipes or drum. A tune used for this; Gen.Sc. Sc. 1785  in A. D. Fraser Bagpipe 360:
Cean Drochaid Beg, Head of the Little Bridge, or the Cameron's Gathering, to be played by John M'Gregor.
Sc. 1803  J. Macdonald Compleat Theory Sc. Highl. Bagpipe Pref.:
At meal-time, their guests were regaled with favourite Marches, or gatherings, complimentary to their several clans.
Sc. 1810  Scott Lady of the Lake ii. xvii.:
The clan's shrill Gathering they could hear.
Sc. 1847  Wilson Recreations Chr. North I. 167:
Some old soldier, probably, playing a gathering or a coronach.
Per. 1881  D. MacAra Crieff 239:
“The gathering,” the march, the combat, the confusion, and lament, and his vast repertory of music.
Sc. 1915  J. Grant Piobaireachd 59:
There are many tunes of the Gathering species in “Ceòl Mòr.”

2. One of many assemblies organised annually in various parts of the Highlands for the holding of athletic, dancing and piping contests. Comb. Highland gathering (see also Hieland, adj., 4.). Sc. 1828  Edb. Ev. Courant (16 Aug.):
The Athole Gathering or Highland Meeting was held at the Bridge of Tilt, on Wednesday the 6th instant.
Sc. 1850  Queen Victoria Leaves (1868) 123:
We lunched early, and then went at half-past two o'clock, . . . to the Gathering at the Castle of Braemar.
Sc. 1893  in Colquhoun and Machell Highl. Gathering (1927) 92:
Highland Gathering at Luss, on Friday, 18th Aug., 1893, under the patronage of Sir James Colquhoun, and other county Gentlemen.
Sc. 1947  Scotland (ed. Meikle) 244:
Of the greater “gatherings” the Northern Meeting at Inverness, the Braemar Gathering on Deeside, and the Oban Games are the outstanding examples.

3. Combs.: (1) gatherin'-bell, a tocsin, a bell to summon the town to a meeting, etc.; (2) gatherin(g)-coal, a large piece of coal laid on the embers to keep a fire going over a considerable period (m.Sc. 1953); also in n.Eng. dial.; (3) gathering-cry, a summons to assemble for war; (4) gathering note, see first and third quots. (Slg.3, Lnk., Wgt.4 1952); (5) gathering-peat, (a) “a fiery peat which was sent round by the borderers, to alarm the country in time of danger, as the fiery cross was by the Highlanders” (Sc. 1825 Jam.). There is no confirmation of this meaning; (b) a peat used for the same purpose as (2) above (Per. 1950 per Ags.19); (6) gathering psalm, see first quot.; (7) gathering sound, = (3); (8) gathering word, = (3). (1) Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 27:
Arise, and ring the gatherin'-bell, And head the multitude yoursell.
(2) Sc. 1808  R. Bald Coal Trade Scot. 60:
Another demand for large blocks of coals, is, for the servants to make what is termed gathering-coals in the kitchen; the largest pieces are carefully preserved for this purpose.
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
And the matron of the family, having laid the gathering-coal upon the fire, and put things in some sort of order, retired to rest the last of the family.
Ayr. 1850  in Songs of Scot. (ed. Graham) II. 163:
In winter he [Burns] used to rise early in the mornings and chap up the gathering coal, and play away for the amusement of those in bed.
Fif. 1894  J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 18:
She's been in and awa' again, withoot haein' the sense to put on a gatherin' coal, sae the fire is again oot!
Fif. 1952  B. Holman Diamond Panes 96:
In a coal house, with the light of a candle, he expounded the Pons Asinorum of Euclid. The blackboard was a large “gathering coal.”
(3) Sc. 1817  T. Campbell Poet. Wks. (1830) II. 115:
And no gathering cry rose yet O'er the isles of Albyn's sea.
(4) Sc. 1932  G. T. Wright in Manual Church Praise 76:
The reintroduction in the Revised Church Hymnary and The Scottish Psalter, 1929, of the “gathering-note” — the long note sometimes at the beginning of the first line only, sometimes at the beginning of other lines as well.
Gall. 1935  Sc. Country (ed. G. Scott-Moncrieff) 39:
The service, which opened with a psalm, closes with a paraphrase. The old “gathering note” is used, not because the Revised Psalter prescribes it, but because it has never been abandoned.
Sc. 1949  M. Patrick Sc. Psalmody 23:
The much-discussed so-called “gathering-note” in the earliest Scottish psalm-tunes is derived from one type of line-formation of which he made much use [Louis Bourgeois in his Psalter of 1542]. . . . The term “gathering-note” is a misnomer, covering a modern misunderstanding of what was really a masterly musical device to impart variety and interest to the rhythm.
(5) (b) Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf iii.:
The gathering peat, if it was weel blawn, wad dress a' our Hobbie's venison.
wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 32:
Donald . . . preparing to crown the evening's debauch with a whif or two from his pipe, . . . felt the hob for the accustomed “gathering-peat.”
Ags. 1893  J. Inglis Oor ain Folk (1894) 26:
The fires never went out on the Glen hearths. There was always a “gathering peat” slowly smouldering, even in the hot drowsy days of summer.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxiv.:
Tales wherein queer figures not of earth come to a house at night and sit about the gathering-peat, with mould upon their faces.
(6) Sc. 1864–5  Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 46:
The psalm sung at the commencement of public worship was called the “inganging” or the “gathering” psalm, from its being sung at the gathering or assembling of the worshippers.
Sc. 1885  A. Edgar Old Church Life 67:
In this country within quite recent times the epithet of “the gathering psalm” was commonly applied to what we now call the first psalm.
Ayr. 1951  Stat. Acc.3 251:
While the “gathering psalm” is still retained, hymns have to a large extent replaced the exclusive use of metrical psalms and paraphrases.
(7) Sc. 1810  Scott Lady of the Lake iii. i.:
Clamorous war-pipes yelled the gathering sound.
(8) Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf vii.:
Just put a lighted peat on the end of a spear, or hay-fork, or something, and blaw a horn, and cry the gathering-word.

[Vbl.n. from Gaither. O.Sc. has gathering in sense 1., 1653 T. Urquhart Rabelais (1835) i. xlix.]

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



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