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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FLAUCHTER, v.1, n.1 Also flachter, flaughter; flaighter (Ork.). [m., s.Sc. ′flǫxtər, 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 (flochter-sped Arg. 1990) (m. and s.Sc.), -spaud (ne.Sc.), (a) a two-handed spade with a broad heart-shaped blade used for cutting surface turf.  ; †(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.
Sc. 1905 R. B. Cunninghame Graham, ed. John Walker The Scottish Sketches of R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1982) 41:
Desolation reigned where once was life, and where along the loch smoke had ascended, curling to heaven humbly from the shielings thatched with reeds, with heather, and with whins, the thatch kept down with birchen poles fastened with stones, and on whose roofs the corydalis and the house-leek sprang from the flauchter feals.
(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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