Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KILL, v., n.2 Also ‡kyil (Bnff.). Sc. usages:

I. v. 1. Pa.t. kilt (Ags. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck II. iii.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). As in Eng., to put to death, to slaughter. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) killing-claiths, the clothes worn by a butcher in the slaughterhouse; (2) killing-time(s), the name given to the period of the greatest persecution of the Covenanters in 1685, later extended to cover the whole period 1679–1688. Hist.; (3) kill (the) cairter, a strong raw kind of cheap whisky, see Cairter; (4) kill (the) coo or cow, (a) a serious matter, bother, trouble (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Kcb.4 1900; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Arg.1 1936; Ayr., Kcb. 1960), gen. used in neg. sentences; (b) a swashbuckler; ironically, a champion (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. 315). (1) Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch v.:
Out flew the flesher in his killing-claiths.
(2) Sc. 1727  P. Walker Remarkable Passages 114:
The Eighty five was ev'n a killing Time.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
It was in killing time, when the plowers were drawing alang their furrows on the back of the Kirk of Scotland.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
The killing time was now nearly over, and those in power were only instituting trials in order to improve heavy fines and penalties.
Sc. 1894  S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie 310:
One had even endured martyrdom for “Christ's Kirk and Covenant” in the old “killing times”, as they are still called in Scotland.
Sc. 1901  D. H. Fleming Six Saints II. 133:
Modern writers sometimes use the term “Killing Time” as synonymous with the whole period of the persecution. By those who lived through that period, the term was applied to the hottest time of the persecution.
Sc. 1951  Scots Mag. (April) 48:
“The Killing Time” was a terrible yet brave page in Scots history.
(3) Ags. 1848  Feast Liter. Crumbs (1891) 12:
Famed for the quality of its liquors, more particularly for a compound known by the name of “Kill Carter.”
Crm. 1881  Bon-Accord (20 Jan.) 7:
What we want is that “kill the carter” be selt at a penny a glass.
(4) Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 188:
The laird, however, partly for the love o' timmer, and partly to lay the axe to the root o' superstition, cut them down. This was reckoned another awful “kill the cow.”
Slk. 1875  Border Treasury (26 June) 539:
It was only a sort o' formal jury job, an' the chairge was nae great kill-coo.

Hence agent n. killer, a flat piece of metal about the size of the palm, used in the game of Cundies (see quot.). Ags. 1955  (Lochee) :
This was thrown so as to fall on the top of a cundy (street manhole) cover. If this was achieved the player then had to “kill” his opponent's “killer” by throwing his own so as to strike the other. He then threw his own killer from that spot on to the next cundie further along the street and so on till a previously arranged goal was reached.

2. To thrash, beat (n.Sc., Per., Fif., m.Lth., Kcb. 1960), to hurt badly (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Ayr., Kcb. 1960). Vbl.n. killin, a thrashing (Ags., Slg. 1919 T.S.D.C.; Uls.3 1930; m.Lth., Kcb. 1960), Pa.p. kilt, badly hurt. Now only in colloq. Eng. and Ir. Uls. 1880  Patterson Gl.:
The wean's kilt.
Uls. 1901  Northern Whig:
If ye come home drounded, yer father will kill ye.
Edb. 1910  Scotsman (6 Sept.):
The master's gied me an a'fu killin.

3. To overcome from weariness (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Wgt. 1960). Sh. 1898  Shetland News (2 July):
We're ower weel, but kill'd wi' wark.

II. n. 1. “A schoolboy name for a rough, spirited game of any kind” (Sc. 1910 Scotsman (13 Sept.)).

2. = Death, in phr.: to laugh one's kill, to laugh immoderately, “to laugh one's head off.” Also to get one's kill (lauchin) (Abd., Ags. 1960). Abd. 1940  C. Gavin Hostile Shore v.:
Folk would lauch their kill if they thocht ye was sic' a mither's bairn.

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"Kill v., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Dec 2018 <>



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