Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SQUATTER, v.1, n. Also squater (Edb. 1904 E.D.D.); squather-. [′skwɑtər]

I. v. 1. intr. To flutter in water like a duck, to flounder or flap about in mud or water, to splash along (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 187; wm.Sc., Kcb. 1971). Vbl.n. squattering, a fluttering, splashing (Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xiii.). Ayr. 1785  Burns Address to Deil viii.:
Away ye squatter'd like a drake.
Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poems 224:
Three year thro' muirs an' bogs I've squattert.
Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St. Patrick III. ii.:
A wee doubtsome whether ye warna a selgh or a sawmont, when ye war' squatterin' i' the loch.
Sc. 1825  Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) IX. 36:
I squatter'd through your drains like a wild duck.
Lnk. 1880  P. M'Arthur Amusements 20:
Squatterin' in the cooling tide.
Kcb. 1897  Crockett Lochinvar xv.:
Half a dozen sailors squattered mid-thigh in the foam and swelter of the sea.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Doric 28:
The wild deuks, squatterin' frae the seggs.

2. tr. To scatter about, squander, act with profusion (Rnf. 1825 Jam.; Ayr., Dmf. 1971). Ayr. 1873  A. Aitken Poems 8:
Meanwhile the auld man fail'd — Jack out afiel' Begude to manage, turn'd a squattrin' chiel.

3. intr. To fly in all directions, to disperse. Poss. rather an arbitrary alteration of scatter. Abd. 1878  “R. F. Bardinarus” John o' Arnha' (1882) 24:
The flail o' retribution now Like burstin' bombs did squatter.
Ayr. 1969  I. and P. Opie Children's Games 136:
The rest of the players on the pavement or touchline watch while he attempts to dodge the catcher, for if he succeeds in getting across he cries . . . in New Cumnock “Squatter!” and they rush after him in a body, hoping not to be caught themselves.

II. n. 1. A spluttering, fluttering noise, a great splashing. Rnf. 1792  A. Wilson Poems (1876) II. 38:
Frae his devilish mouth the froth Flew aff wi' squatter.
Sc. 1836  M. Scott Cruise Midge xx.:
And such a squatter! as a flock of a thousand teal . . . rose into the air with a loud rushing noise.

2. Transf. A large number of small creatures or objects, a disorderly confused crowd (Abd., Kcd., Ags., Slg., wm., sm. and s.Sc. 1971). Deriv. squattery, squathery, id. Uls. 1804  J. Orr Poems (1936) 33:
An unco throuither squath'ry Were we, that day.
Ags. 1897  F. Mackenzie Northern Pine 49:
The red-heided tinkler wi' the marrowless legs that cam' in aboot the Glen wi' the squatter o' bairns.

[Freq. form of imit. orig. Cf. Swatter.]

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"Squatter v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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