Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SCULDUDDERY, n. Also -dud(d)(e)ry, -dudrie, skul-, ¶scol-. [skʌl′dʌdəri]

1. Lewd behaviour, fornication, unchastity (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc., only in liter. or occas. jocular use. Freq. used attrib. = lewd, unchaste, concerned with immorality. Sc. 1714  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 14:
To fill his Post, alake there's none, Could sa'r Sculdudry out like John.
n.Sc. c.1730  E. Burt Letters (1815) I. 183:
If any one be brought before a presbytery, etc. to be questioned for sculduddery, i.e. fornication or adultery.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 135:
Then we gat anither sort o' gospel fouk they ca'd curits they didna like sculdudery wark, but said nae meikle against it.
Sc. 1800  R. Bissett Douglas I. vi.:
The sins of the present generation, especially in the article of skulduddery.
Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 87:
But a sic clish clash cracks I lea' Tae yon sculdudry committee.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xvi.:
Officers, and constables, that can find out naething but a wee bit skulduddery for the benefit o' the Kirk-treasurer.
Slk. a.1835  Hogg Tales (1837) II. 329:
If this benae scolduddery, I never saw't wi' my een.
Abd. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. v.:
Some o's deevil-ma'-care sculduddery.
Sc. 1890  Scots Observer (23 Aug.) 346:
In a state of liquor and sculduddery.
Ayr. 1927  J. Carruthers A Man Beset i. ii.:
If a'body was as guid's you, there'd be nae sculduddery in this warld. . . . A parten-faced, sculduddery loon.

2. Obscenity, indecency, esp. in words, obscene language or conversation, smut (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also attrib. Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayr. Legatees xxxii.:
All the sculduddery of the business might have been well spared from the eye of the public.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Speaking blasphemy and sculduddry.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr. Duguid 281:
His conversation, though aye stopping short of skulduddery itsel', was whyles, still and on, of a gey heich-kiltit kind.
Sc. 1885  Stevenson Letters to Baxter (1956) 161:
When I read him my Sculduddry Sangs, he seemed fine an' pleased wi' them.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Mad Sir Uchtred vi.:
He aye rade in your front file an' sang braw sculduddery ballants till ye.
Lnk. 1925  G. Blake Wild Men x.:
The boys giggled the sculduddery of their kind.
Sc. 1931  J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xvi.:
A lively tale, maybe garnished with sculdudry a wee bit.

3. In extended uses: (1) rubbish, rags, tatters (Kcd., Lnk. 1825 Jam.); (2) vulgar low people, riff-raff (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.).

[Found in 1713 in Mrs. Centlivre's Wonder iii. iii. in the speech of a Scots character. Of obscure orig., phs. a fanciful quasi-euphemistic formation incorporating Dud, n., and ? Cur-, pref. with prothetic s-. The word appeared in U.S. about the end of the 19th c. in the form skulduggery with the meaning of misappropriation of funds, fraud.]

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"Sculduddery n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2019 <>



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