Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHINGER, n. Also -ar (Sc. 1715 Acts 1 Geo. I c. 54 § 1); ¶whincer. [′ʍɪn(d)ʒər; also ′ʍɪŋər. See note.]

1. A short stabbing sword, a hanger, “which seems to have been used both at meals, as a knife, and in broils” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Now only hist. Kcb. 1703  J. Nicholson Hist. Gall. II. App. 43:
His wife took a dreadful stitch thro' her, as if she had been stricken with a whinger or knife.
Sc. 1728  Trial J. Carnegie 15:
He aim'd a Stroke with a Whinger at the Defunct's Arm.
Sc. 1815  Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
The pistol and the whinger in the tae hand, and the Bible in the tother.
Kcb. 1895  Crockett Moss-Hags xxiii.:
His whinger in a leather tashe swingin' ahint him.
Slg. 1949  W. D. Cocker New Poems 9:
On him louped a reiver band Ere whinger he could draw.

2. By extension: a stout doughty fellow. Cf. Eng. blade, with sim. development. Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 142:
I feed our John, whan he was a saft silly docus callan to ca' the pleugh, and keepit him three years till he turn'd a wally whincer and fain wad I had him, but he widna speak o't to me.

[O.Sc. quhyngar, id., 1493, quhinsor, 1597, variant of earlier Mid.Eng. whinyard, giving an orig. pronunciation [′ʍɪŋər] developing into [′ʍɪŋ(j)ər] and a more alveolar [′ʍɪŋʒər]. The two variants are attested by rhymes with, e.g. finger and the Gael. borrowing cuinnsear. The ultimate orig. is obscure.]

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"Whinger n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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