Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAIRTER, n. Gen.Sc. form of Eng. carter, illustrated only in noun phrases peculiar to Sc. [′kertər, ′kɛrtər]

Phrases: 1. ca'-doon-the-cairter, “a coarse (and often adulterated) whisky, favoured by the Gilmerton carters, a particularly rough class” (Edb. c.1850 (per Fif.10)); 2. kill the cairter, a name given to a very strong variety of whisky (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Ags.17, Slg.3 1938); “applied to a mixture of whisky and porter” (Abd.22 1938). 1. Fif.10 1938:
He's had a gless o' ca'-doon-the-cairter.
2. Bch. 1924 J. Will in Buchan Field Club 27:
He preferred his whisky to be strong and heady, with a suspicion of what he called the “fussle ile” [fusel-oil] in it — the variety of potation usually described as “kill the cairter.”

[O.Sc. has cairtar, -air, -er, c.1470, a carter, earlier in place-names, c.1250 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cairter n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <>



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