Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FLAUCHTER, v.1, n.1 Also flachter, flaughter; flaighter (Ork.). [m., s.Sc. ′flxtər, Gall., ne.Sc. ′flɑ:xtər, Ork. ′fle:tər]

I. v. 1. To pare (turf) from the ground (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Arg., Kcb., Dmf., Rxb. 1951). Hence flaughterer, one who cuts turf (Ant. 1900 E.D.D.). Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 106:
He was flaughterin' a wheen divots for the riggin' o' his hoose.

2. Combs.: †(1) flauchter-fail (Sc. 1825 Jam.), -feal (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry, Gl.), turf, a piece of turf cut with a flauchter-spade. Also flauchtirt feal; (2) flauchter-spade (m. and s.Sc.), -spaud (ne.Sc.), (a) a two-handed spade with a broad heart-shaped blade used for cutting surface turf. Gen.Sc., obsol.; †(b) a boys' game (see quot.). Cf. salmon-loup, s.v. Salmon. (1) Abd. 1733 A. Watt Hist. Kintore (1865) 94:
Such a proportion of flaughter fail . . . as shall ledget the said bridge.
Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 425:
A coat of turf, pared by the breast-plough (provincially flauchter-feal).
Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 331:
A sufficient quantity of flauchter-fail was pared from the eastern side of a hill.
Ags. 1879 J. Guthrie Poems 26:
The tatties in the pits are covered owre Wi' routh o' fine dry strae, and flauchtirt feal.
Abd. 1895 J. Davidson Old. Abd. Ministers 107:
The rough undressed couples, covered with “flauchter-fail,” or broad pieces of turf and a thatching over all of heather or straw.
(2) (a) Abd. 1718 S.C. Misc. I. (1935) 35:
A complent . . . for casting turffs, not only with the flaughter but also with the foot spade.
w.Sc. 1753 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 395:
The deponent went . . . for a flaughter-spade.
Per. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. Per. 247:
The spade for paring ought to be similar to that used in Scotland for casting Turf, provincially the Flaughter-spade.
Dmf. c.1800 Lockhart Scott (1837) I. v.:
Praetorium here, Praetorium there, I made it wi' a flaughter spade.
Kcb. 1815 J. Gerrond Poet. Wks. 72:
Loud the laugh was when they looked, Saw him cast wi' flaughter spade.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie ii.:
The bit auld moss that young Tam there has drained this year wi' his ain flaughter-spade.
wm.Sc. 1912 N. Munro Ayrshire Idylls (1935) 287:
He went with a flaughter-spade for peats as soon as he had seen ye over Greenock Water.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 109:
Usually half a dozen men turned out with their “flaighter” spades and tuskars.
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 6:
An auld flachter spaud, an' the back o' a heow.
(b) Fif. 1897 J. Colville Byways of History 23:
For this purpose the flauchter-spade was used, and the name survives in Fife, where boys used recently to play at a game which was so called. One boy would lie on his back with arms outstretched behind him. A second, standing on the other's hands, and grasping his now upturned feet. would leap over them as far as he could.

II. n. 1. A broad tuft (Gall. 18.24 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 205); a turf or sod (Ags. 1951). Also in n.Eng. dial.

2. A flake of snow (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Slg. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.).

3. A flauchter-spade (Ayr.4 1928; Kcb., Dmf. 1951). See I. 2. (2).

[A freq. or intensive form of Flaucht, n.1, v.1 O.Sc. has flauchter fail, 1568, flauchter sped, 1493.]

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"Flauchter v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2021 <>



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