Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SLABBER, v., n. Also slaber. [′slɑbər]

I. v. 1. tr. (1) To wet with saliva, dribble on, beslobber; to stain (one's clothes, etc.) with saliva or food when eating (Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Drable; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 167; Cai., m.Sc. 1970). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Hence to kiss in a sloppy manner, pay ardent court to (a woman), always in pejorative or belittling sense; also intr. with at, as in 1813 quot. Fig., to flatter obsequiously, fawn on. Sc. 1712  J. Arbuthnot John Bull iii. vi.:
He slabber'd me all over from Cheek to Cheek, with his great tongue.
Sc. 1753  Smollett Ct. Fathom (1784) 64:
He began to slabber his companions with a most bear-like affection.
Sc. 1764  Boswell Grand Tour, Germany, etc. (Pottle 1953) 298:
The minister slabbered the greasy, unwashen hands of a married woman.
Rnf. 1813  G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 211:
John believ'd himself aboon, While he slaik't an slaber'd at her.
Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
A hadden tongue makes a slabbered mouth.
Sc. 1830  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) III. 89:
Slabberin and slimin the illustrious baronet.
Edb. 1895  J. Tweeddale Moff 180:
She's no fine that wud let the likes o' you slabber her.

(2) to wet with some messy semi-liquid substance, to bedaub (Rxb. 1942 Zai; m. and s.Sc. 1970), to put on (paint) in a eareless manner (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xvii.:
Stained with wine, and slabbered with tobacco juice.
Ayr. 1868  J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 94:
The creature [a painter] will dight, slabber, an' scart the surface.
Uls. 1931  Northern Whig (28 Dec.) 14:
If a man soils his clothes with paint or mud he has “slabbered” himself.

2. intr. (1) to slaver, dribble, drool at the mouth; to eat or drink in a noisy, sloppy manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 167; n. and em.Sc., Ayr., Dmf. 1970). Sc. 1761  Magopico (1810) 7:
Not to throw stones, nor fight, nor slabber when they eat their porridge.
Kcd. 1871  Stonehaven Jnl. (18 May) 3:
Slabberin' amon' rhubarb, green peas, an' new 'taties.
Bnff. 1958  Banffshire Advert. (11 Sept.) 9:
Slabberin' an drappin' maet on yer claes?

(2) to make a snorting, bubbling sound with one's nose or mouth as in weeping or sleeping (Dmb., Ayr., Wgt. 1970). Also in Eng. dial.; to weep, sob, blubber (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); of a kettle: to bubble, throb, make a drumming sound in boiling (Ib.). Slk. 1820  Hogg Tales (1874) 239:
Slubberin' an' sleepin' a' the day in a heather bush.
Sc. 1825  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 3:
The bloated kings . . . Shall slubber and snore.
Dmb. 1931  A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle ii. ix.:
Take that, then, you slabbering lump.

(3) Of rain, hail, etc.: to fall heavily, splash down. Deriv. slabbery, -i, adj., of the weather: wet, rainy, soppy (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.). Ayr. 1826  R. Hetrick Poems 20:
Hail and rain and slabbering sleet.

(4) to work in a careless, messy way or with some wet or messy substance (Kcb. 1970). Sc. 1831  Scott Journal (1890) II. 369:
I found Mr. MacDonald [a sculptor] slabbering away at the model.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders v.:
His work was only slabbering with paint.

(5) to talk drivel, to babble in an idle senseless way (Fif., wm.Sc. 1970). Fif. 1954  :
What ye slabberin at?

II. n. 1. An act of salivating, a slavering. Hence (1) a disapproving or pejorative term for a kiss. Cf. 1. 1. (1). Edb. 1895  J. Tweeddale Moff 207:
Anent kissing . . . instead of their being sour slabbers they had mysteriously transformed themselves into sweet “cheepers”.

(2) a greedy or noisy mouthful, a suck, a lap, a slobber (Ags. 1970). Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin ii.:
A hearty slabber o' the buttersaps.
Abd. 1929  Sc. Readings (Paterson) 88:
Noo tak' a slabber at this sappy orange.

(3) freq. in pl.: senseless or foolish talk, idle chatter, drivel (Fif., wm. and sm.Sc. 1970). Rare and obs. in Eng.

(4) an idle chatterer, also in combs. slabber-gash (Cld. 1880 Jam.), -gaucie (Bnff. 1825 Id.). See Gash, n.3

2. Mud, mire, poached soil (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Abd., Kcd. 1970); a muddy mess, a quagmire. Deriv. slabbery, adj., of roads: waterlogged, muddy (Cld. 1880 Jam.; wm.Sc. 1970).

3. Anything liquid or messy; a puddle of food; “a sloppy sort of pudding or dish of stewed fruit” (Abd., Ags. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Abd., Ags., Per. 1970). Abd. 1950  Buchan Observer (22 April):
But oor wee coo bailie just maks his brose like a deuck's slabber.

4. A slovenly, slack-lipped person, a slobberer (Dmf. 1808 Jam.; em.Sc., Lnk., Gall. 1970). Dmf. a.1820  Border Mag. (Oct. 1896) 169:
Ye slowsterin' slink, 'e slack-lippit slabber.
Kcb. 1896  Crockett Cleg Kelly vii.:
What business is that o' yours, ye muckle slabber?
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters iv.:
Look at him there, the muckle slabber.
Ags. 1964  D. Phillips Hud Yer Tongue 57:
Slabber, another name for which used to be sluter — once freely applied by mothers to shambling, unkempt sons.

5. A bib, napkin (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Cf. obs. Eng. slabbering-bib, id.

[Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. since 18th c. Mid. Du. slabberen, to lap, slaver; Du. dial. slabber doek, a bib. Cf. Slab, v.2].

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"Slabber v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Sep 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/slabber>

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