Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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JOTTER, v., n. Also joater and variant form joiter. Cf. Dotter, Doiter. [′dʒotər]

I. v. 1. To do odd jobs or light menial work, often in a dilatory manner (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Lth.1, Bwk.2 1959). Hence ppl.adj. jotterin, joit'rin, employed in light work; fiddling, trifling; vbl.n. jotteran, employment in light work (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 92; Abd. 1959), jottereen, menial labour (Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 12). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 92:
He's eye jotterin' aboot, bit he winna brack the behns o' a sair turn. He's a jotterin' bodie.
e.Lth. 1885  J. Lumsden Rhymes 65:
Joit'rin Jamie laid siege to the Nabob's fair queen.

2. To act in a flurried or flustered manner, to fumble; ppl.adj. jottering, fumbling. Sc. 1886  Stevenson Kidnapped xxix.:
Before your jottering finger could find the trigger, the hilt would dirl on your breast bane.
Ayr. 1886  J. Meikle Lintie 9:
The brush hings in this closet just abune whaur the hen was sittin'. In mother comes . . . jotterin' to get it for her.

3. To flounder about, “to wade in mire” (Lnk. 1825 Jam., joater).

II. n. 1. An odd job man (m.Lth.1 1950); hence a ne'er-do-well, a trifler, a dawdler. Also in form jothart. e.Lth. 1885  J. Lumsden Rhymes 65:
O hae ye ne'er heard, man, o' Jamie the joiter? . . . He wad . . . Mak' trocks for the bairnies.
Kcd. 1889  J. & W. Clark Leisure Musings 120:
I kent the father o' ye, min. The auld jothart, that had neither sheep, siller, nor credit, an' yet he selt mutton.
e.Lth. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 66:
The maitter o' a joiter's “jiffy” yet!

2. A flurry, a hurried bustling movement. Ayr. 1885  J. Meikle Yachting Yarns 56:
He withoot kennin' ae bit what he was daein', got up wi' a great jotter an' actually fell intae the sea.

[Freq. form of Jot. In some of the senses however the word may be merely onomat.]

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"Jotter v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Nov 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/jotter>

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