Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLAVER, Claiver, v. and n.1 [′kle:vər]

1. v.

(1) To talk idly or foolishly; to gossip. Vbl.n. and ppl.adj. cla(i)vering. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1862  A. Hislop Sc. Proverbs 115:
In ower muckle claivering truth is tint.
L.Bnff.(D) 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 14:
Though ye're streekit an' kistit an' beeriet an' a', Ye limmer, ye'd like, gin ye'd only the poo'r, Tae come claverin' up throu' the mools and the stoor.
m.Sc. a.1846  A. Rodger Poems (1897) 131:
O, never mind the foolish things That clavering Jenny says.

(2) Of birds: to chatter. Kcb. 1883  G. Murray Sarah Rae, etc. 30:
Let moor-cocks claver to their mates, And plovers pipe their lay.

2. n.

(1) An idle tale, gossip, foolish talk; nonsense. Gen. in pl. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems (1800) II. 516:
Delighted with their various claver.
Sc. 1819  T. Carlyle Early Letters (ed. Norton 1886) I. 230–231:
This is all claver, but it pleases one.
m.Sc. 1927  J. Buchan Witch Wood ix.:
Never heed an auld wife's clavers.

Used in pl. as int. = Nonsense! Cf. Havers. Gall. 1900  R. J. Muir Mystery of Muncraig iv.:
“Claivers! ” said William Herries. “Ae body's as good as anither body.”

(2) A fuss, a murmur (Fif.10 1937). Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
They cost the burgh siller, and there might. hae been some clavers about the loss o' them.
Fif. 1900  “S. Tytler” Jean Keir xi.:
I thocht it was best to bring this . . . lest it should get into the keeping of folk that would raise a claver.

(3) A talk, conversation (Bnff.2 1937). Sc. 1824  J. E. Shortreed in Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 273:
I thought Sir Walter wad maybe like to hae a claver wi' him.

(4) The chatter, twittering of birds (Bnff.2 1937). Sc. 1936  J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 41:
An' on the windy tree afloat, Dapper an' dink, Yer chitter-chatter, Claver an' clatter!

(5) A foolish, idle talker (Ayr.4 1928; Dmf. 1925 W.A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 21; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

[O.Sc. claver, to talk idly or foolishly, a.1585 (D.O.S.T.). Origin uncertain: Gael. clabaire, a prater, Welsh clebar, silly talk or gossip, with its v. clebran, and Kilian's kalaberen, “inter se in utramque partem de variis rebus otiose suaves iucundosque sermones conferre,” have all been mentioned.]

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"Claver v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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