Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WARP, v., n. Also wairp (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 144; e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 22, 258; Rxb. 1961 W. Landles Penny Numbers 27), werp (Sc. 1710 Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 82; Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 34); worp, and nonce variants wart (Ork. 1891 Sc. Antiquary V. 169), and erron. in sense II. 3. wap (Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sketches 92). [wɑrp; s.Sc. ‡werp]

1. To move in an oblique direction. Rare in Eng.; to move to and fro, to zig-zag, to flurry or whirl about; to throng, mill in a crowd. Uls. 1804  J. Orr Poems (1936) 35:
The red-wud, warpin, wild uproar, Was like a bee scap castin'.
Edb. 1814  E. P. Nelson Poet. Works 76:
Loud the nor'-east win' was blawin', Warpin' frae the Eildon, chill.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (June) 685:
A menzie o' bairns in the ither end o' the barn, warping through ither like bees in a byke.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 94:
The hive which warped owre the fell.
Rxb. 1826  A. Scott Poems 59:
Athwart the hills I warpit lang and sair, Wi' mony a wile, still doublin' here an there.
Bnff. 1887  W. M. Philip Covedale 177:
The poothery sarpent [firework] waukens, Warpin' wicked at their feet.

2. As in Eng., to construct the warp of a web of cloth; hence to weave; to plait, entwine; to knit, to cast on stitches (Bnff., Abd. 1950); to interlace the cross- or horizontal ropes in the thatching of a cornstack (Per., Fif., Lth. 1973). Phr. to warp and waft, to weave, make a web, lit. and fig. Ayr. 1788  Burns My heart was ance ii.:
My mither sent me to the town, To warp a plaiden wab.
Sc. 1806  J. Grahame Birds Scot. I. 67:
He warps the skep with willow rind.
Slg. 1818  W. Muir Poems 17:
[A butcher] took his gully by the haft, An' twirl'd the blade, 'Mang puddin's he cou'd warp an' waft.
Sc. a.1888  Scots Mag. (Aug. 1945) 402:
A maist durable claith, made o' sound woo', wi' a guid twined thread, and wairpit and weftit wi' conscience.
Edb. 1905  J. Lumsden Croonings 15:
Do thou wairp this muffler round thysel'.
Bnff. 1920  Banffshire Jnl. (14 Dec.):
She pits on a floory print, Syne warps a shank.

Vbl.n. warpin(g), as in Eng., the preparation of a warp for weaving. Sc. combs. (1) warping ale, a drink of ale given to the weaver after setting up a warp of homespun wool. See also next; (2) worpin dinner, see quot.; (3) warping fatt, a tub or trough in which the clews of yarn are laid for warping. See Fat, n.; (4) warpin pin, one of two wooden pins at the top and bottom of a warping-mill round which the warp is leased, a lease-pin (see Lease, n., 1.) (Sc. 1887 Jam.); (5) warpin staik, one of the set of wooden uprights in a warping mill round which the yarn is wound in warping. (1) Sc. 1702  Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 66:
For warping ale . . . . 6s.
(2) Cai. 1905  E.D.D.:
The people spun their own wool and brought the yarn to the weaver. They on such occasions were expected to bring him a present of food, usually a piece of salt pork, for his ‘worpin dinner'.
(3), (5) Abd. 1719  Cushnie MSS. (Abd. Univ. Lib.):
A paire of warpeing staiks and an warpeing fatt.
Kcd. 1722  Elphinstone Bk. (Fraser 1897) II. 276:
In the baik house: — A baiking trough and table. Ane old warpeing fatt and staiks.

3. As in Eng., to twist, distort, make awry. Hence (1) warpen, -in(g), vbl.n., in carpentry: a strut, brace or angle-piece; a small batten of wood used as a ground or backing (Sc. 1946 Spons' Pract. Builders' Pocket Bk. 443); (2) warpit, -ed, ppl.adj. (i) in Mining, of a seam of coal: irregularly bedded, plicated (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 70); (ii) bad-tempered, peevish (Rxb. 1942 Zai, warpit). (1) Sc. 1833  J. C. Loudon Encycl. Archit. § 1070:
The trevises to have angle-warpings 4 inches by 1 inch and a half.
Ayr. 1849–51  Trans. Highl. Soc. 280:
The partitions are of rough standards 1½ inch thick, fixed on stones at the bottom, and runtrees at top with warpens; the ceilings lathed.

II. n. 1. A catch of salmon in river-net fishing, prob. an extended use of Eng. warp, a hawser (of a net). Per. 1750  Session Papers, Magistrates Perth v. Gray (9 Jan.) 5:
When a Warp of Fish appeared in the Water.
Per. 1750  Session Papers, Petition Magistrates Perth (22 Feb.) 3:
In case of a Warp, that is, in case of a Shoal of Fish appearing in the Lead.

2. A smart stroke or blow (Cld. 1880 Jam.). Cf. O.Sc. warp, to strike a blow.

3. A stroke in rowing (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1973). Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 53:
They wur fairly ootmucht wi' rowin' . . . an' whin they wan under the craigs dey wur hardly eeble tae row anither wart [sic].
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 22:
A Finn man could cross from Norwick in Unst to Bergen in Norway and return between the hours of sunset and sunrise, the traditional speed being nine miles to the warp.
Sh. 1949  New Shetlander No. 19. 44:
He got da aers oot, an wi' warps lang an' hefty, he made fir da shore.

4. As in Eng. Sc. phr. warp an' waft, completely, altogether. Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings (1873) 18:
But that's our Robbie's, warp an' waft, Be't gueed or ill.

[O.Sc. warping, struts, 1536, wairping ale, 1673, warpene fat, 1565, warping staik, 1623.]

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"Warp v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



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