Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
LEATHER, n., v. Also leither (Sc. 1703 N. Dickson Kirk and its Worthies 202), laidder, ledder (I. and ne.Sc.); †lader (ne.Sc. c.1800 Child Ballads (1956) V. 265). [′leðər, s.Sc. ′læð-, ne.Sc. ′ledər]
I. n. 1. As in Eng. Adj. leddern, made of leather, leathern (Abd. 1960). Phr. leather-ty [to]-patch, orig. the name of a step in a dance, hence adv. of a similar staccato movement or sound; rat-tat-tat or the like. Also in n.Eng. dial.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) xxv.:
I'll beat leather-ty-patch wi' my buckles on the back-door. Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. vi. 147:
On's back a leddern wallet.
2. The skin, now only in slang usage in Eng., the hide of an animal; specif. the lining of the throat, in jocular reference to drinking.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186:
Deacon Cocks hae pass'd a law To rax an' weet your leather Wi' drink thir days. Ayr. 1787 Burns Auld Mare xviii.:
Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether. To some hain'd rig, Whare ye may nobly rax your leather. Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 75:
At times, nae doubt, he wat his leather, Till light his heart lap like a feather. Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 133:
An', if ye touch a single feather, I'll score your back till't lose the leather. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 239:
I rax'd da tar ledder o' da grice for humbli-baands. Abd. 1928 4 :
Lat the win' blaw upon strait laidder, i.e. eat your fill and face the weather.
3. The udder of a cow. Also in Eng. dial.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 56:
To drain the milk frae bruckie's leather.
4. A heavy blow (Bnff., Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; n.Sc., Ags., sm.Sc. 1960). Cf. v.
II. v. 1. As in colloq. Eng., to beat, flog, thrash. Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. leatherin, a hiding (Sc., Sh. 1825 Jam.) and in phr. clean leatherin, a ding-dong fight.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 60:
Earth! ye deserve a leath'ring, Right snell, this day. Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxiii.:
I cam to a place where there had been some clean leatherin', and a' the puir chields were lying there. Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 262:
“A leatherin, friend!” said I, “pray what may that mean?” “'Tis what we ca' threshin' ane's skin i' some places; or, a drubbing, as an Englishman wad ca't.” Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xii.:
Lord! yon's a wife who would be nane the waur o' a leatherin', as they say in the south. Abd. 1925 R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 15:
We herdit nowt the simmer throwe, In winter took a raith O' skweelin' wi' a maister brow, Fa wis tae ledderin' laith.
2. To scold, rail at, criticise severely (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102).
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 196:
We'll sing oor sang, tho' critics leather, We'll string oor rhymes, nay aiblins blether.
3. To tie tightly, sc. with a leather thong (Slk. 1825 Jam.).
4. Freq. with at or up: to do anything with vigour and speed, to tear on, to work hard or assiduously (Sc. 1808 Jam., Add., “a low word”; Sh., Ags., Kcb., Uls. 1960), often in conjunction with another verb. Also in Eng. dial.; to urge upon, to argue or plead with, to exhort; with aff: to utter vehemently or volubly.
Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 181:
To leather and gang — to walk rapidly. To leather and dance — to dance with much spirit and vigour. Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102:
She wiz leatherin' an' washin' the fleer. A'm eye leatherin' at 'im t' learn's lessons. Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 12:
Losh, the laddie's uncommonly gifted; Ye should see him mount up on a chair An' leather awa' at the readin'. Kcb. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xiv.:
He was just leatherin' aff the words that fast the folk couldna tell whether he was gi'en them guid Scots or ill-contrived Laitin. Abd. 1941 C. Gavin Black Milestone ii.:
He'll be leatherin' awa' at St Paul's missionary journeys.
5. To hurry, hasten, to walk briskly, “get a move on” (Abd., Lth., Slk. 1960).
Peb. 1800 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 477:
On Monday mornin', a' the bairns Through a' their friends are leatherin! Abd. 1955 :
If you've gotten sairt, then ledder.
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"Leather n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Feb 2019 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/leather>
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