Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SOTTER, v., n.1 Also sottar, and sottle in sense v., 1. (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. XI. 328; Arg. 1930). [′sotər]
I. v. 1. intr. To boil, cook slowly, simmer, to bubble or sputter in cooking, (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 39; Ork., ne., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm.Sc. 1971). Also fig. Also in Eng. dial. Rarely tr.
Sc. 1799 A Butter'd Slice 5:
The lid being aff, the broth did smell, Whilk did to a' the world soon tell What was sae nicely sott'ring there. Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 97:
Put on the pat, an' let it sottle. Ayr. 1832 J. McKillop Poems (1870) 53:
Tup-mutton sotter'd weel in pats. Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) VI. 53:
Plunge him wi' his heels upmost into the hottest kettle o' boiling brimstone thou canst find, an' let him sotter there. wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 277:
Janet kept the wee black tea-pot sottering by the side of the fire. Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller i.:
The kail-pot, that stands sottering on the hearth. wm.Sc. 1920 D. Mackenzie Pride o' Raploch 51:
Whan they sottered the hellicat warlock's banes. ne.Sc. 1934 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 43:
When a' the wardle's sotterin' Like tatties in a pot. Ags. 1946 Forfar Dispatch (2 May):
They were aye sotterin on my gas ring.
2. In gen.: to sputter, to crackle, to come bubbling out (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175; Sc. 1880 Jam.); fig. to make a burbling noise as in sleeping.
Ayr. 1834 Galt Liter. Life III. 51:
The blood was sottering out of his shoe mouth. Edb. 1866 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) IX. 70:
This wee burnie sae sottered an' sang. Sc. 1892 Stevenson Catriona xi.:
While you were sottering and sleeping. Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 29:
The deid leaves sotterin' under fit.
†3. tr. To scorch, to burn, to roast (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 6, 431).
Sc. 1819 Scots Mag. (July) 19:
The trees of the wood were blasted, and burnt, on which were stuck the sottered legs and thighs of the woman.
4. intr. To smart (of a burn), to be slightly scorched (Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson).
5. tr. To soak, to saturate (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 431; Bwk., Gall. 1971); intr., to soak, to wallow, also fig.
Ayr. a.1855 Carrick Anthol. (Finlayson 1925) 109:
The bauld laird o' Chang, Tho' sair sottert in sin. Gall. 1888 G. G. B. Sproat Rose o' Dalma Linn 168:
When the city o' Sodom was sottered in sin. Kcb. a.1902 Gallovidian XV. 108:
Dinna sotter in Their waesome plicht wha happ and wyne wi' sin.
6. To work in a dirty unskilful manner, to nurse or handle in a disgusting manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1971); to idle, loaf or potter about (Gregor; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 267).
Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 116:
For four or five years a body may sotter aboot. Bnff. 1937 E. S. Rae Light in the Window 22:
Sotterin pentin' picters and sichin sangs owre a piana.
7. tr. To fritter away, to waste. Nonce usage.
Peb. 1931 J. Dickson Poems (1938) 8:
They drive our weans to schools in motors; Altho, in debt, the country sotters Some million dollars.
8. To abound, to swarm (Rxb. 1971). Cf. Eng. seethe in a sim. sense; fig. to bubble over.
s.Sc. 1905 Border Mag. (April) 77:
The rosy-faced miller aye sotterm' wi' fun. Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
The troots fair sotter't in the Dunk-puil.
9. To cluster closely, as of the spots in an eruptive disease, to break out, as a rash (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.).
II. n. 1. The act of boiling slowly (Sc. 1825 Jam.).
2. The noise made by anything boiling, frying, bubbling up (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175; Ags., Kcb. 1971).
3. A slight scorch or burn (Sc. 1880 Jam.).
4. A state of wetness (ne.Sc. 1971). Adj. sottery, soggy, marshy.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175:
The fit-rig is jist in a sotter. Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 28:
The sott'ry moss is sic a soss Three times I near-han' lair't.
5. A mess, a muddle, a confused mass, chaos (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1971). Deriv. sotteril, sottrel, id. (Abd. 1914).
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gaz. (20 Feb.):
The floor lookit to be in a perfect sotter. Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 8:
Oh! ye gipsy! sic a sottar! Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 62:
Saw ye never sic a sotteril fin the styew begood te fa'. Mry. 1961 Elgin Courant (6 Dec.):
Wi' a' this sotter on the roads. Bnff. 1968 Banffshire Advert. (6 June) 8:
In the middle o' a sotter o' students fechtin' the bobbies.
6. The act of nursing over-protectively, fussing (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175). Cf. Soss, n.1, 5.
7. The act of loafing about (Ib.)
8. A dirty, clumsy person (Ib.).
9. A considerable number, esp. of small creatures, a seething mass, a swarm (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1971).
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A creeper-kivvert cottage wui its gairdeen a perfect sotter o bonnie flooers.
10. A cluster, a group of pimples, scabs, etc., an eruption on the skin, a large festering sore (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175, Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Deriv. sotterel, a disease covering the skin, in phr. in a sotterel, affected by a skin disease (Abd. 1910).
Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
Ye're airm's in a clean sotterel.
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"Sotter v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Mar 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sotter_v_n1>
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