Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

GAWPUS, GAUPUS, n. Also gap(p)us, -as, -is, gaapus, -as, -is, gapos; gaipas. [Sc. ′gɑ(:)pəs, but Cai. + ′ge:pəs]

1. A fool, a stupid clumsy lout, an open-mouthed vacant-minded person, esp. one given to talking much and foolishly (Sc. 1808 Jam., gapus; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 456; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 59, gaupus; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), gapos; Cai.9 1939, gaapas; Ork., Cai., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Edb. 1954); “an indiscreet person” (Cai.8 1934, gaipas). Also in s.Eng. dial. Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 141:
About Political Economy . . . I hae observed ae thing . . . that the greatest gawpuses are aye speakin about it.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 41:
What's the gapas feul taen twa hallows o' strae here for?
Sh. 1886  J. Burgess Sk. & Poems 54:
I winder 'at da gaapus canna see 'at dir naebody i' da hoose wantin' him.
Fif. 1890  A. Burgess Poute 119:
Ye mean greedy gawpus that ye are!
Kcd. 1934  “L. G. Gibbon” Grey Granite i. 20:
The gawpus blethered a lot of stite.
Ork. 1938  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 376:
Thoo great gowk, thoo great big stupid gappus, why did thoo no' tell me?

2. A big-mouthed person (Abd.4 1931); hence, the mouth itself. Abd. 1925 7 :
Apen yer gapus or I see yer teeth.

[From Gaup, gawp (in I.Sc. prob. rather from Gap-py), q.v., + -us, as in Docus, Gumpus, etc.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

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



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down