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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Knap, v. Also: knapp. [Also e.m.E. (1535) and later Sc. and Eng. dial. With Knap n.2, of echoic origin: cf. Gnap v., and also MDu. cnappen, LG. knappen to crack, snap, etc. Gael. cnap a sharp blow; to strike, knock, is appar. f. Sc. Cf. also Knop v.2]

1. tr. To strike or knock with a cracking sound; to rap. Also const. doun, and absol. With on.(1) a1500 Rauf C. 111.
Knap doun capounis of the best, but in the byre
a1500 Henr. Fab. 1959.
For thow [the fox] can knap doun caponis on the nicht
(2) 1535 Stewart 18872.
The tuo wyngis first enterit in the feild, And knapit on quhill mony knycht wes keild
Ib. 34322.
Knappit on

b. To knock or crack (persons' heads, crowns). 1558-66 Knox I. 147.
Rockettis war rent, typpetis war torne, crounis war knapped
1597 in Calderwood V. 667.
It may be that we caus some of their owne long speares and rustie staves knapp their owne crownes

c. To break (stones) as for building.See also Knapping-hammer. 1648 Caldwell P. 114.
To fyve men … that bigit the kill … and for knaping the stanis

d. To snap at, bite with snaps: see Knappar n. and cf. Gnap v.

2. tr. To speak or talk (‘southern’ English) in a snapping (appar. = mincing or afffected) manner. b. To knap at (words, in this way). 1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. 105/6, 7.
Giff king James the fyft var alyue, quha hering ane of his subiectis knap suddrone, declarit him trateur: quhidder vald he declaire you triple traitoris, quha not onlie knappis suddrone in your Negatiue Confession, bot also hes causit it be imprentit at London in contempt of our natiue langage
c 1690 Watson's Coll. 20.
Discharge … English Andrew, who has skill, To knap at every word so well

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"Knap v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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