Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CLOOT, Clute, Cluit, Clitt, Clet, Cleet, n.3 [klut, klyt m.Sc., s.Sc., but m.Sc. + klɪt; klit (Arg.1); klɛt Uls.]

1. One of the divisions in the hoof of cloven-footed animals, i.e. sheep, pigs, etc. (Kcb.4 c.1900). Improperly, but commonly, used for the whole hoof. Examples of this word in n.Sc. are wanting, although sense 4 is known to Abd.2 and Abd.9 (1936). Arg.1 (1937) gives cleet, and “N.Antrim” in North. Whig (14th Jan. 1924) gives clet. Also dim. clootie. Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. XI. 485:
A small black-faced mountain sheep, who, spying a gap in a fence, bolts through it with his hinder clooties jerked up pertly and yet timidly in the air.
Ags. 1845 T. Watson Deil in Love 11:
And then his shapeless cloven cloots Were thrust in bluidy pirate's boots.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 9:
Your father was a fool for fashing wi' him, auld slavery dufe, he wants naething of a cow but the clutes.

Hence clooted, hoofed. Gall. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders xvi.:
There were . . . many footmarks about it, as of clooted feet of cattle.

2. Used fig. of the feet of human beings. Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 11:
But i' the lirks o' Corriedale Tam's win' an' cloots begood to fail.
Edb. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 102:
Some whit'nin' — I was telt Fur tae rub upon my belt, An' thir spasher-dasher things upon my clitts.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables R. Cummell ix.:
He was . . . kickin' the lumps o' harrow clay frae his cluits.

3. By synecdoche: (1) A cloven-footed animal. Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act. I. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
Sax good fat Lambs I sald them ilka Clute.
Tyr. 1931 “Clone” in North. Whig (17 Dec.) 10/6:
Ivery cloot about the place is pure bred.

(2) A rustic, a boorish country-man. Kcb. 1908 A. J. Armstrong in Gallovidian (No. 37) 7:
But Watty was fain to gang doon to the change-house, An' scatter his wit 'mang the cluits o' the glen.
[This may rather be an unusual variant of Cloit, n.2, 2.]

4. In pl.: the Devil (beeause of his being represented as having cloven feet). Occas. also in sing. in this sense. Sometimes preceded by auld (cf. Clootie, n.2). Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 336:
A' the time the carter swearing like Cloots.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. of an Old Boy App. 293:
Cloot threatened an' scoldit wi' muckle deil's snash.
Ayr. 1858 M. Porteous Real “Souter Johnny” 28:
A sight that gart auld cloots grow fain, An' blaw his pipes wi' “might an' main.”
Gall. 1843 J. Nicolson Hist. and Trad. Tales 121:
Ye little thocht ye had to flee . . . Through chaos' bounds to meet auld Cloot.

5. Phrases: (1) croon an' cloot, clute an' tail, the whole animal or person, hence completely; (2) frae cluit to crown, frae cloot to mou', from top to toe; (3) to take the clute, to run off (of cattle). (1) Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-head and Trotters 118:
And, strange to say, the way to do 't Is burnin'! — burnin' croon an' cloot.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs 118:
He kent a' creatures clute an' tail.
(2) Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 143:
Wow Britain! but ye're unco fou O' filth, as ony glarry sow, A' splairgit frae the cloot to mou' I' some foul hole.
Gsw. 1856 “Young Glasgow” Deil's Hallowe'en 37:
Hech, Sirs! . . . I'm stinging a' frae cluit to crown.
(3) Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems, etc. 65:
Wha kens, but what the bits o' brutes, Sin' I came here, hae ta'en their clutes, An' gane ilk livan ane a-packin'?

[Origin uncertain. Prob. the same as Claut, a claw, etc., and a branch of the large family of words derived from Gmc. *kleu- and its ablaut variants, to form into a ball, to stick together, e.g. clot, clod, cleave, claw, cleat, etc. Eng. claw itself had the same duplication of meaning up to the 17th century, i.e. it meant “the hoof (of an ox)or one of the parts into which a cloven hoof is divided” and “a claw, pincers,” and Eng. dial. clee (from clea, the nom. form of O.E. clāwu) preserves it up to the present time. *Kleud-, *klud-, a derivative of *kleu-, etc., is gen. accepted as the ancestor of the forms in -t, i.e. of Eng. clot, cleat, clout, and has prob. also given the present word.]

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"Cloot n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <>



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