Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BLETHER, BLEDDER, BLATHER, n.2 [′blɛðər Sc., but m.Sc. + ′blɑ:ðər, ′blɑdər, s.Sc. + ′blæðər; ′ble:ðər, Bnff.2, e.Abd., Ags.2 and Arg.1 + ′bledɪr]

1. A bladder. Sc. 1725 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1762) 167:
A teugh purse made of a swine's blather, To had your tocher, Jenny, quo' Jock.
Ork.(D) 1909 A. L. Work in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc., II. i. 29:
He wis wint tae kill swine fur aa' the hooses ih Costaside, Swannaside, Abuin-de-hill, an Beuquayside, an feintie ting wad he taak fur duan hid bit de blethers.
Abd.(D) 1909 C. Murray Hamewith 22:
He kent wha got the bledder when the sooter killed his soo.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 51:
The blather, swalled to unco size, Bursts wi' a rummle.
Rnf. 1846 W. Finlay Poems 167:
The savoury scent crap roun' my blether — But O! the Taste!

2. “When accompanied by leather, the word blether denotes a football which is composed of a bladder and a leather case” (Ayr.8 1934). Rxb. 1908 Hawick Arch. Soc. Trans. 76/2:
The [school] master presented a football, designated a “leather and blether.”
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Blether an' leather, a football. Also leather and blether.

3. A bagpipe; the wind-bag of a bagpipe. Sc.(E) 1926 “H. McDiarmid” Penny Wheep 61:
For the bubblyjock swallowed the bagpipes And the blether stuck in its throat.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 143:
A queer, short, crookit son o' wind, As piper brang his blether.

4. Used by fishermen to indicate a buoy. Crm. 1911 (per Mry.2):
Blether, a small line buoy.
Fif. 1893 “G. Setoun” Barncraig i.:
Eben's a fine command o' language, no doubt, an' a nacky way o' sayin' things; but it's just like the blethers that keep up the net in a calm sea, awfu' easy burstit.

5. A blister. Bnff.2 1934:
There wiz a big blether on the liv o' his han', and twa aneth his een.

[O.Sc. bledder, bleddir, blether, a bladder. E.M.E. and Mid.Eng. bledder, Mid.Eng. bleddere, bleddre (with variant bladdre), O.E. blēdre (Anglian), bldre, blæddre (W.S.), from bl-, root of blāwan, to blow.]

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"Blether n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Jun 2021 <>



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