Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BUNKER, Bunkart, Bunkert, Binkart, n. [′bʌŋkər(t), bɪŋkərt]

1. A chest; “window-seat” (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 169); bench or pew; “a large chest for containing meal” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1914 Angus Gl. s.v. bunk). Known to Abd.22, Lnk.3 1937. Sc. 1718 Ramsay Chr. Kirke iii. xxiii. in Poems (1721):
Ithers frae aff the Bunkers sank, Wi' Een like Collops scor'd.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian ix.:
There was no seat accommodated him so well as the “bunker” at Woodend.
Edb. a.1881 J. Smith Jenny Blair's Maunderings (6th ed.) 18:
Mistress So-and-So's either under the bed, or hidin' hersel' in the bunker.
Lnk.1 1932:
The choir wis weel oot last nicht: we had a fine fu' bunker.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. ix.:
The kirk was filled to its uttermost bunkers.

2. “An earthen seat in the fields” (Abd. 1808 Jam.); “a low bank at a road side, a road-side channel” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.); “the strip of grass at the side of the road” (n.Ant. 1924 North. Whig (14 Jan.)). Known to Abd.2, Ags.1 1937. Sc. 1805 State, Leslie of Powis, etc. 146 (Jam.):
The fishers . . . built an open bunkart or seat, to shelter them from the wind.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) xiii.:
I tak' a bit dander oot the bunkers on a Sabbath mornin' whiles for a pucklie chuckinwirth to Dickie.

3. The precentor's seat in a church. Lth. 1841–1851 “J. Strathesk” Bits from Blinkbonny (1882) viii.:
He most frequently occupied the “desk,” as the precentor's seat was called (sometimes, however, the “bunker”).

4. The part of the boat which the skipper occupies when steering. Mry. 1914 R. Cairns in Bnffsh. Field Club 24:
The skipper sat on the starn-steel, with his feet in the bunkart, and steered.

5. “A large heap of any material, such as stones, clay, etc.” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff., binkart 11, bunkart 20; Bnff., Fif. 1887 Jam.6). Known to Bnff.2, Abd.2 1937. Also fig. Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 96:
The Lord hae mercy on's, see sic a bunkart o' a black clood on Benachie!
Bch. 1928 (per Abd.15):
Ay, he'd trochle throwe the heddir wi's staffie in's hand fin-finnin for pots an' holes an' bunkerts he mith fa' on.

6. Used in the game of curling: “a hillock or prominence on the ice” (Ayr.4 1928). Lth. 1831–1841 “J. Strathesk” More Bits from Blinkbonny, Curlers, Song (1885) xiv.:
Yet bunkers aften send aglee, Altho' they weel did ettle.

7. A small sand-pit; now gen. used in reference to golf. Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter x.:
They sat cosily niched, into what you might call a bunker, a little sand-pit, dry and snug, and surrounded by its banks.
Fif. 1812 in Rules of Golf (ed. C. B. Clapcott 1935) 44:
Stones, Bones, or any break-club within a club-length of the Ball may be removed when the Ball lies on grass, but nothing can be removed if it lie on Sand or in a bunker.

8. Receptacle for coal. Used in Eng. of ships but extended in Sc. to the receptacle used for storing household coal, either inside or outside the house; “wooden box for storing coal in tenement houses — often beside kitchen sink. Name still given to the lid of the wash-tub beside the kitchensink” (Edb.1 1929). Known to Abd.19, Fif.10, Lnl.1, Edb. (per Abd.9), Arg.1 1937. Sc. 1858 E. B. Ramsay Reminisc. (1862) II. v.:
A' the bunkers are fu'.

9. “A cupboard in the space below a staircase, sometimes without a door” (Kcb. 1937 (per Kcb.9)).

10. A bunk, a sleeping-berth (Arg.1 1937). wm.Sc. 1835–1837 Laird of Logan II. 238:
The steward hinted that it was time for us to be trintling aff to our bunkers.

11. A small opening in the wall of a building. Per. 1835 J. Monteath Dunblane Traditions 32:
Monteath . . . proposed that an attempt should first be made to shoot the robbers through the bunkers. A shot was accordingly fired through one of these boles.

[O.Sc. bonker, bunkur, bunker, a chest or box, freq. serving also as a seat, earliest quot. 1540 (D.O.S.T.). Does not appear in Eng. until 19th cent. Same origin as Eng. bunk, prob. Scand., cf. O.Sw. bunke, planking of a ship forming a shelter for merchandise (Ihre), Sw. and Norw. bunke, O.N. bunki, a heap. The development of meaning would be: wood material, box, etc., made of wood, contents of same; cf. similar development in Bugdalin.]

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"Bunker n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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