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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

CURRACH, CURRAGH, Currok, Curroch, Currough, Corr-, Currick, Courach, n.1 A coracle, a small wickerwork boat covered with hides; “a skiff or small boat, formerly used by the inhabitants of S[cotland]” (Sc. 1808 Jam., currach, currok, currough). Also used attrib. Arch. and hist.Sc. 1729 T. Innes Critical Essay II. 660:
The corroughs made use of as yet in some places of Scotland, which can contain conveniently but two men at once.
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St Patrick I. xv.:
Our bit curragh's no that rackle sin it got a stane on Monanday was aught nights.
Inv. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 134:
A man, sitting in what was called a Currach, made of hide, in the shape, and about the size of a small brewing-kettle, broader above than below, with ribs or hoops of wood in the inside, and a cross-stick for the man to sit on. . . . These currachs were so light, that the men carried them on their backs home from Speymouth.
Mry. 1705 W. Cramond Court Bks. Regality of Grant (1897) 19:
Fined £50 for abusing of the laird of Grant's curroch fishing upon Spey.
Mry. 1756 Session PapersGrant v. Duke of Gordon (22 April 1780) App. 3: 
The currach contained only one man in working it, whereas the floats require two men and oars; and the man in the currach paddled with a shovel, one end of the rope being fixed to the raft, and the other tied to the man's knee in the currach, which he let loose when there was any danger, the currach going before the raft.
Mry. 1775 L. Shaw Hist. Prov. Mry. 164:
Let me add, as now become a Rarity, the Courach. . . . It is in shape oval, near three feet broad, and four long.
Bnff. 1926 W. Gill in Bnffsh. Jnl. (18 May) 8:
The currick in the sworles rose, An' swayed fae side to side.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage, etc. 137:
The river taking a sudden bend, broadened and deepened into a wheel, on the breast of which a salmon cobble, or currach swam.

Hence curracher, a man who sat in a currach and guided floating timbers down the Spey.Sc. 1701 J. Grant Seafield Corresp. (S.H.S. 1912) 329:
And the currachers pains for transporting them to the bote off Bog.

[O.Sc. has currach, curroche, corroch, id., from 1488, currok, from 1507 (D.O.S.T.); n.Mid.Eng. currok, c.1450 (N.E.D.); Gael. curach, a boat, coracle.]

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"Currach n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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