Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SWAP, v.1, n.1, adv. Also swapp, swaup; ¶swop. [swɑp]

I. v. 1. tr. To strike, hit, smite, deliver a sudden blow upon (Sh. 1972); to scourge. Sc. 1715  Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 99:
He lies i' cauld iron wha wad swappit ye a'.
Abd. c.1803  D. Anderson Sawney & John Bull 30:
It was what Wallace did in yore, Swapt him to the groun'.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 150:
As Sir Freir was erthlins swappit, Richt down upon the kist he drappit.
m.Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 208:
The auld guidwife was bakin' cakes, An' swapped him wi a farrel.
Sh. 1969  New Shetlander No. 88. 16:
A tide lump swapit wir boat an' she capsized.

2. To pounce upon, to seize at one swoop, esp. to catch birds in a net, of a fowler (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1972). Ork. 1949  Anthology Ork. Verse (Marwick) 131:
Climman amang the craigs Swappan the mallimaks.

3. To brandish (a weapon), make a swipe with (a sword, stick, etc.), to wave about; to cast a fishing-rod (Sh. 1972). Sc. 1776  Battle of Otterburn in
Child Ballads No. 161. B. ix.:
They swaped swords, and they twa swat, And ay the blood ran down between.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 169:
Timmer in baston, cudgel, rung, Owr-head was swappit now and swung.
Sh. 1928  Manson's Almanac 188:
Dey staand 'ithin wir wast loch da half a' da day flappin' an' swappin' a waand nae ticker as a pipe riper.

4. (1) To throw with a sudden forceful movement, to fling, pitch, dash, freq. in a sideways direction (Sh. 1972). Sh. 1897  Shetland News (5 June):
Swappin' a hap aboot hir shoodirs.
Sh. 1900  Shetland News (16 June):
He swappid da kettle apo' da flör.

(2) to fold or wind (a rope, string, strip of cloth, etc.) over on itself, to wrap, to criss-cross (Sh., Mry., Abd. 1972); in coopering: to taper and overlay the ends of a cane hoop on a barrel (Sc. 1972). Bnff. 1887  Jam.:
Noo swap the string hard, an' the splice'll haud.
Abd. 1904  E.D.D.:
A woman was applying the roller bandage to a leg. (The ordinary manipulation of the bandage is the ‘turning' or ‘reversing', so that the bandage be turned over on itself). Another woman directed this to be done by saying ‘swap it.'

(3) specif. to throw (a straw-rope) up and over a hay- or corn-stack to hold down the thatch (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff, 187; ne.Sc. 1972); to rope (a stack) in this manner, to Edder. Abd. 1899  Private MSS.:
He threw up the clew to raip the thack, For swappit heids they a' did mak.
Abd. 1959  :
Swappin. A method of roping down a hay stack, or the thatch on a corn-stack. Each rape is tied in at the eaves, brought up and round the shoulder of the stack, and the other end tied in again at the eaves. This is done from opposite sides of the stack, so that the rapes criss-cross to give a diamond-shaped appearance when seen from the side.

(4) in harrowing: see quot. Kcb. 1927 4 :
The first process in harrowing across the furrows is thorterin', the second at right angles to the first is swappin'.

5. intr., of something being waved about: to swirl, swing, to come down in a forcible sweeping motion (Sh. 1972). Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 193:
He lower'd down his braid-cheek't wappen. And round and round he held it swappin'.
Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 47:
As his pen swopped down the Wynd to the Segget Square.

6. Of wind: to blow in gusts, bluster, to sweep down (Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1972). Sh. 1950  New Shetlander No. 20. 26:
Da wind swappin and reeselin doon fae da Bjurgs i' winter ta oobe an oorl i' da lum.

7. tr. To drink in quick long gulps, to toss off. Obs. in Eng. Per. 1818  J. Sinclair Simple Lays 19:
Swap rich sparklin' wines, wi' pleasure.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (July) 29:
And he wha anes had kiss'd the cap, Hale bickerfu's was fain to swap.
Lnk. 1853  W. Watson Poems 84:
Caps o' yill for richt advice Were swappet doun-'e-gaet, man.

8. As in dial. or colloq. Eng.: to exchange. barter, from the practice of striking or smiting hands over a bargain (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. To swap aff, to swop (news) in a lively voluble manner. Kcb. 1815  J. Gerrond Poems 109:
Let's yet meet together And swap a verse o' rhyme.
Peb. 1832  R. D. C. Brown Hist. Dramas V. 40:
A' or buyin' keen, or sellin', Or trokin', nifferin', swappin'.
Lnk. 1853  W. Watson Poems 68:
A needfu' weeock's leisure, To swap the uncos aff in style.
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums xiv.:
The auld man would be in a michty rage when he found she had swappit the hats.
Lth. 1920  A. Dodds Songs of Fields 14:
I'd swap a' Heaven on Soutra Hill To be again.
Kcd. 1955  Mearns Leader (23 Sept.):
He swappit his breid-an'-cheese for two queen cakes.

II. n. 1. A blow, stroke, whack, slap (Slk., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh. 1972). Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
A paik, that's a swap or a skelp like.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 194:
The neist man whase shaven crown Was hansel'd wi' a swap.

2. A stroke or downward sweep of a scythe in mowing (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1972).

3. A sudden violent gust of wind, a swirl (Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1972).

4. A pull or swig of liquor, a drink. Dim. swappy. Per. 1818  J. Sinclair Simple Lays 21:
Can we tak a swappy O' what's mair balmy, rich, an' sweet?

5. (1) A turn, twist, a folding-over. Abd. 1904  E.D.D.:
Put that ribbon roun' my hat, and gie't a swap.

(2) Specif. the plaiting of the straw ropes on the thatch of a hay- or corn-stack (see quot. and I. 4. (3)). Also attrib. Abd. 1950  Buchan Observer (5 Sept.):
The raping of the ricks was done on what was called the “swap” style, very few etherings were required. Besides the full swap there was another form of raping, called “half swap and ether.” This was really the more economical style, because it used far less rapes.

6. An exchange, a give-and-take. Gen.Sc. Ayr. 1785  Burns 1st Ep. to J. Lapraik xviii.:
We'se . . . hae a swap o' rhymin-ware Wi' ane anither.
Sc. 1819  Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
A gude swap too, between what cheereth the soul o' man and that which dingeth it clean out of his body.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xii.:
He would na be ill pleased to mak a swap.
ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 163:
The youngsters must trock “totums,” giving pins in boot, sometimes, however, making a “fair swap.”
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 106:
When Sandy began to collect his share o' the swap.
Bnff. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 34:
'E can tak the missie. A'll tak her laad, an' it'll be a fair swap.

7. A kind of cheap watch,? one which might be purchased by giving something else in return. Also in comb. swap-watch. Gsw. 1899  J. Muir Gsw. Streets 40:
Gorbals — the place was famous for manufacture of fire-arms, drums, spinning-wheels, cuckoo-clocks, and swaps.

III. adv. With a sudden violent movement, forcibly, with a smack or onrush (Sh. 1972). Now only dial. in Eng. Also used as an int. Fif. 1802  C. Gray Addr. to Poor Weavers 4:
Swap frae the skies were curses flung.
Fif. 1812  W. Tennant Anster Fair 83:
Swop! there a jumper falls, aflat upon the mould.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry 143:
And at it, swap! baith horse and man, Windflaucht thegither rasch'd and ran.

[O.Sc. swapp, to (cause to) leap suddenly or violently, 1375, to toss liquor off, c.1500, to move forcibly, jerk, a swiping blow, 1535, swap-thak, wooden slats used in thatching 1496, Mid.Eng. swap, to strike, smite, brandish, orig. prob. imit. of a sudden forcible sweeping motion, a swipe. Some of the meanings under I. 4. may be due to formal assimilation of Swaip, q.v.]

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"Swap v.1, n.1, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Jan 2018 <>



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