Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

DREEP, v., n. Gen.Sc. form and usages of Eng. drip (Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 29). Also †dreip.

I. v.

1. To drain, to strain (esp. of boiled potatoes). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. dreepin, “hot water poured from potatoes after boiling” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Dreep the gray-beard. “Drain the stonebottle.”
Abd.4 1933:
I dreepit it clean oot.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 149:
Toom as a teapot newly dreepit.
e.Dmf. 1912 J. and R. Hyslop Langholm 610:
His work is tae dreep the tatties and a' that kind o' thing!

Hence dreeper, (1) a vessel for draining whey from curd (Ayr.4 1928); (2) a runway in which sheep stand to drip after dipping; (3) a wooden framework on which fish are fastened to drip after salting. (1) Ayr. 1859–61 Trans. Highl. and Agric. Soc. 49:
Having attained the proper degree of firmness, the curd is transferred to the dreeper — a utensil in shape exactly like a cheese-vat, only of a larger diameter and a greater number of holes.
(2) Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 16, 25:
Twa dipped, an' twa catched, quile een o da weemen held da dreeper door.
(3) Kcd. 1883 Fish and Fisheries (ed. D. Herbert) 107:
A gutting-trough, and a number of dripping-troughs, termed “dreepers”.

2. To soak; gen. in ppl.adj. dreepin', -it. Gen.Sc. Also vbl.n. dreepin', ¶dreepend, in fig. sense = a drink of liquor. Bnff. 1857 Bnffsh. Jnl. (10 Feb.) 7:
The sleet is blawin' cauld, and he's dreepit thro' and thro'.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 25:
Tho' noo an' than, wi' dreepin' sark, we've biggit dykes an' dell't.
Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 5:
There's surely something new come owre His noddle, that he's never owre To get his dreepin'.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 16:
Gude kens we hae teachers and preachers enou', Wha wi' dreepends and steepends are a' het and fu.

3. To walk very slowly; to do anything slowly and without interest (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, dreip).

4. To descend a wall by letting oneself down to the full stretch of the arms and then dropping (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, dreip), gen. in phr. to dreep a dyke (wa') (Ib., — wa'). Gen.Sc. Cf. to drap a dyke s.v. Drap, v., 4. Edb. 1926 A. Muir Blue Bonnet xxi.:
You're a fool ever to jump when you can “dreep.”
Hdg. 1876 J. Teenan Song and Satire 52:
Could dreip a dyke, or sklimb a tree.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 77:
The moral dyke o' which resolve I hope I'll never dreep it.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie xxi.:
He would spread panic and dismay by “dreeping” from his hiding-place immediately in front of them.

5. Phrs.: (1) a dreepin' droucht (drouth), a showery day during a spell of dry weather (Bch. 1931 (per Abd.4); Abd.9, Ags.17 (-drouth) 1940); cf. drappin' drouth s.v. Drap, v. 3; (2) a dreeping roast, a constant source of income; a “fat” living; Gen.Sc.; (3) dirt an' the dreepins o't, used of a person of dubious moral character (Abd.4 1929; Abd.2 1940). (2) Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona xvii.:
“We have here before us a dreepin roast,” said he, “here is cut-and-come-again for all.”
Rnf. 1850 A. McGilvray Poems 265:
Stick to the whore [the Established Church] . . . Nor leave a good roast dreeping.
Ayr. 1836 Galt in Tait's Mag. (July) 459:
There's no endowment of nature equal to the dripping roast of a fat legacy.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 242:
A [medical] practice which . . . bids fair to be a dreeping roast to him a' his days.

II. n.

1. Dripping, as from a roast (Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

2. The line of drip from the eaves (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10 1940). Alsp fig. Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
Ye mun bide within your ain dreep.

3. “A steady fall of light rain” (Abd.9 1945; Fif. 1949 (per Abd.27)). Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (26 Oct.) 4/7:
Although we have experienced of late a veritable “dreep” daily, yet there have been days of brilliance, all golden with sunshine.

Hence dreepie, adj., wet, rainy. Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 28:
Sic spates o' rain, syne mochy, dreepie weather.

4. A wet, dripping condition (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940). Kcd. 1844 W. Jamie Muse 103:
They danced till in a dreep wi' sweat.

5. A ditch (Edb. 1951 Edb. Ev. News (20 Jan.)). Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 101:
It fell into the dreep, as the Hurlford collier's wife called the ditch.

6. A jump by dropping (Gsw. 1950 in Broadcast); cf. v., 4, above. Gsw. 1862 J. Gardner Jottiana 100:
Ae dreep an' Jock his safety gat.

7. “A game at marbles, in which each tries to hit and thereby win an opponent's marbles” (E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 244). Per. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.:
“Are you going to play dreep or in fun?” are you to forfeit your stakes or not?

8. A soft, ineffective, spiritless or lugubrious person; Gen.Sc. Also Sammy dreep, id. (Bnff.2, Abd.29, Per.4, Edb.5, Kcb.10 1940). Hence dreeper, n., id. (Mearns3 1916); dreepie, n., “an inactive female” (Upp. Cld. 1825 Jam.2, dreipie), adj., soft, spiritless, flabby; Gen.Sc. Sc. 1927 Spectator (5 Nov.) 171:
What can you expect of “Sammy dreeps,” “dozened idiots” or “glaikit stirks”?
Arg.1 1940:
That wumman's jist a dreep. I canna thole her.

9. A disappointment (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Cai.7, Fif.13 1940). Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 25:
But bade her nae despair o'm yet, Or fash her beard ower sic a dreep.

10. Comb.: dreepman, an employee of a gasworks whose job it is to clear the pipes of water condensation. Edb. 1951 Edb. Ev. News (15 Jan.):
What is a dreepman? The question arose at Edinburgh Sheriff Court the other day when a man, pleading guilty by letter to a minor offence, gave this as his occupation.

[From O.E. drēopan, strong v., of which O.E. weak v. dryppan, to drip, is a deriv.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Dreep v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: