Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LACHTER, n.1 Also lauchter; laachter (Sh.); lochter (Per. 1808 Jam.); la(u)ghter; lighter (Ork.); lafter. [Sc. ′lɑxtər, ′lx-, Ork. ′lɑɪtər, Rxb. + ′lɑf-]

1. The total number of eggs laid by a fowl in a season, also the clutch of eggs on which she broods (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcb. 1900; Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. Add., lachter, lafter; Uls. 1953 Traynor, laghter, lochter; ne., em.Sc.(a), Lnl., Uls. 1960). Ags. 1790  D. Morison Poems 68:
While thus she [a goose] liv'd his darling pet Her lachter's laid with which she's set.
Abd. 1804  W. Tarras Poems 71:
Quo' Grannie, trouth I wyte they're fresh, An' a' this season's laughter's.
Sc. 1833  Chambers's Jnl. (May) 136:
If I set my brood hen when thy [moon] waxing I see, I am sure that the lauchter will never misgie.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 71:
We biggit it again aneth A fir, and thocht it free frae scaith. And laid anither lachter there.
Dmf. 1899  Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 339:
Their hens sit on a “lauchter” o' gude eggs.
Ags. 1931  Abd. Press & Jnl. (15 Jan.):
“Lauchter”, the number of eggs in a season's laying, is of common occurrence in this district (Montrose).

Fig. in phr.: to tell ane mair than one's lauchter, in relating a story: to expand or add to it (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

2. A hatch or brood of chickens (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 132; Dmf. 1865 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 56; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., lachter, lafter; Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (Jan.); Sh., Ork., ne.Sc., m.Lth., Wgt., Rxb., Uls. 1960). Also transf. of other animals and human beings. Ork. 1930  :
A lighter o chickens, o grices. A bonnie lighter o bairns she hed about her.
Sh. 1931  J. Nicolson Tales 87:
Her dutiful son, in his desire to promote swimming among henkind, had drowned her favourite “lachter” of chickens.
Sh. 1948  New Shetlander (Oct.–Nov.) 22:
Dey wir laek a klockin hen wi a laachter o' shickens.

3. A layer, stratum (Sc. 1808 Jam.); the site of a house. Hence lachterstead, a house site or foundation (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); vbl.n. †lauchterins, small straggling fragments or wisps of a massy substance, e.g. left behind in clearing away dung from a midden. Cf. midden-lachter, -stead s.v. Midden. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 101:
See it ye rake the lauchterins o' the midden clean up.

[O.N. látr < *lahtr, the lair of an animal, from lag-, to lay, the orig. meaning being a place where something is laid or something which is laid.]

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"Lachter n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Nov 2018 <>



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