Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LAP, v., n. Also lapp; laip; lop.

I. v. 1. As in Eng., now obsol., to wrap, enfold, make into a parcel (Sh., ne.Sc., Ayr., sm.Sc., Uls. 1960), lit. and fig. Hence lapping paper, wrapping paper. Comb. lap-love, the climbing buckweed, Polygonum convolvulus (Teviotd. 1825 Jam.); the corn convolvulus, Convolvulus arvensis (Id.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Rnf. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 V. 344:
Here lapping paper, and only the coarser kinds of writing paper are manufactured.
Cld. 1880  Jam.:
In splicing a fishing-rod, the thread or cord is lapped round.

2. To fold newly-woven linen up in successive layers for storage or dispatch. Also in Ir. dial. Hence lapper, one who does this. Sc. 1740  Records Conv. Burghs (1915) 60:
Two dozen of damask napkins, seven-eights broad, all woven, bleacht, and lapp'd in Scotland.
Sc. 1764  in Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) I. 88:
Your linnen is blued, and at the lapping.
Ags. 1887  J. M. McBain Arbroath 353:
The first of these was The Arbroath Yearly Society, which was formed in 1842 … David Bennet, lapper, was its first treasurer.

3. To make a small truss of hay by taking a swath in the arms and folding round either end of the stalks. Also in Ir. and n.Eng. dial. Hence lap-cock (Slg. 1912), -cole, a hand-cole of hay. Rnf. 1774  Sc. Farmer II. 219:
This finishes the operation of lap-cocking. The lap-cock has five folds, and when well made, it has the appearance of a round ball, flattened a little beneath.
Uls. 1904  Vict. Coll. Mag. 11:
When hay is cut, armfuls are often rolled up in such a way as to form conical heaps, which “turn” the rain. Each of these is called in Ulster a “lap-cole.” Lap here conveys the idea of folding one part over another.

4. To cover over, as in mending a shoe, to patch (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Sh., Abd., Ags., Wgt. 1960); to mend a leak in a clinker-built boat (Sh. 1960). Cf. n., 4.

II. n. 1. A wrapping round, a fold or coil (I.Sc., ne.Sc., Fif., Slk., Uls. 1960). Cld. 1880  Jam.:
Tak' the string anither lap roun'.

2. A hand-cole of hay (Uls. 1960). Cf. v., 3. Uls. 1898  A. M'Ilroy Auld Meetin'-House Green 19:
The hay had not been got in, but stood — some in ricks and some in laps — in the meadows.
Cai. 1928  Trans. Highl. Soc. XL. 225:
Laps of growing corn in sloping sheaves made it a damaged crop.

3. A flap in gen. Hence comb. lap-loop, one of the stitches on each side of the heel of a stocking which are picked up in knitting on the rest of the foot (Abd., Ags. 1919 T.S.D.C.). Specif. (1) a lobe of the liver, of the ear (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1960). For 1897 quot. see Lug, I. 8. (25). Sc. 1722  Ramsay Poems (1877) II. 385:
Require a thing I'll part wi' never! She's get as soon a lap o' my liver.
Sc. 1755  Scots Mag. (March) 134:
Between my tongue and my teeth, and under a lap of my liver, where all the secrets of my heart lie.
Sc. 1764  Caled. Mercury (30 May) 261:
[He] hath ears of a size remarkably large, very long, and turned out from the side of his head with large laps.
Abd. 1817  J. Christie Instructions 13:
Nipping the lap of the ear with a small pincers.
Gall. 1820  Blackwood's Mag. (April) 56:
The deer to bound o'er bank and river Wi' an ounce o' lead i' th' lapp o' his liver.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (21 Aug.):
Tak' ye da lap o' my lug an' Arty o' Uphoos repents na his ill hertidness ta Willie Ridlan'.

Hence lap-lugged, laipie-luggit, having prominent or flapping ears, lop-eared (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., laipie-). Sc. 1785  John Thompson's Man (1829) 15:
Crook-backed, heckle-headed, … lap-lugged, ill-haired.

(2) A sheep-mark made by slitting the ear longitudinally so as to make a flap (Ork. 1929 Marw.). Ork. 1737  Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 55:
The Top of the Left lug and fouer Lops in the Stump.
Abd. 1786  Aberdeen Jnl. (7 Aug.):
The other round cut in the near lug, and cloven down the farther, with the back lap cut off.
Ork. 1827  Old-Lore Misc. I. v. 164:
Andw. Taylor, Schigibist, 3 laps in right lug and a sheer mark in left.
Ork. 1907  Ib. I. ii. 56:
Laps are made by the ear being slit or cut into two or three laps parallel with the length of the ear.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
The memory of sheep-marks is now almost extinct. This word I got from an old rhyme: “Three laps in the right lug, an' the fore-lap cut oot.”

4. A patch, esp. one to cover a leak in a boat (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cld. 1880 Jam.), usu. made with a piece of flannel soaked in Archangel tar and a slat of wood screwed on top (Sh. 1960). Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 38:
I wis bune at da noost pittin' a lap apo da fore hassan.

5. An arm- or lap-ful, a small amount or collection (Sh., Uls. 1960). Sh. 1900  Shetland News (10 Feb.):
Tak' an' cut a lap o' tatties in sheevs fil I come in.

[O.Sc. lap(e), a flap, 1438, lobe, 1661. For the I.Sc. forms and usages, cf. also Norw. lapp, a patch.]

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"Lap v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



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