Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FLICHTER, v., n. Also flicher, †fleecher, †fl(e)ighter, †flichtir; †flychter; ¶flicter (Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Langsyne in Braefoot iii.), flickar, -er. [Sc. ′flɪ(t)ər, Ork. fləitər]

I. v. 1. To flutter, fly awkwardly or unsteadily (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Peb. 1951); to rush excitedly, “to move from place to place without any fixed purpose” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 48). In 1905 quot. ppl.adj. flichtered means fledged. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems 68:
Transparent were his Wings and fair, Which bare him flightering throw the Air.
Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs (1750) 90:
The bird maun flighter that flees with ae wing.
Hdg. 1765 J. Brown Christian Jnl. 44:
Another calls them [poultry] to the hungry feast of a few corns or crumbs: — how they run! how they flighter to it!
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 190:
I flighter't hame; but och! dread scene! Whose horror crush'd my breath.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate v.:
A brave goose to be flichtering and fleeing in the wind when he might abide upon terra firma!
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxviii.:
Her spirits mounted, and, as she said herself, “were flichtering in the very air.”
Rnf. 1833 in J. Cairnie Curling 126:
Doos flichter't thro' amang the stacks, And craws upo' the toll-road tracks.
Bnff. 1872 W. Philip It'ill a' Come Richt ii.:
Like some men's wives that . . . flichter aboot ilka day like butterflees in silks and falderals.
Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-Head 317:
In Autumn time the leaf fa's, Flicherin' frae the trees abune.
Gall. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 67:
The hens wus flichterin aboot the hoose an scraichin like onything.
Abd. 1905 J. Fullarton Poems 63:
The auld birds hoverin' near, Wi tasty bit, an' e'en a sang The flichtered things tae cheer.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 22:
The fleurs are at the fa' . . . They're flichterin' doun in shoo'rs, Like shoo'rs o' snaw.

Comb. and derivs.: (1) flichter-lichtie, “a light-headed person that cannot settle down to any employment” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 48; Bnff.9 1951). Cf. flachter-lichtit, s.v. Flauchter, v.2, 3.; (2) flichtersome, changeable, full of whims, fitful (Id.); (3) flichtery, id. (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 247; Ags.19 1952). (1) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 48:
That flichter-lichtie o' a craitur wiz flirdin' aboot in a' directions.
Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (Oct.) 58:
Yon flichterlichty feddir o' a craitur is aye up to some aivis or idder.
(2) Bnff. 1887 G. G. Green Gordonhaven 51:
He said weemin folk was flichtersome an' easy fleyt.
Abd. 1933 J. H. Smythe Barrowsgate 43:
He mappit his coorse throu' the heather an, whins, B' the licht o' a flichtersome meen.

2. To run with outspread arms, “like a tame goose half-flying: applied to children, when running to those to whom they are much attached” (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). Ayr. 1785 Burns Cotter's Saturday Night iii.:
The expectant wee-things, toddlan, stacher through To meet their Dad wi' flichterin noise and glee.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 119:
While ye flicht'rin' us'd to waddle Round yer thrifty mother's knee?
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xviii.:
Just haud your arms abraid, man, and see gif she doesna gae flighterin' to you right-now like a cheiper to its minnie.
n.Sc. 1916 M. Maclean Songs 15:
The younkers a' cam' flichterin' roon tae teach their faither sense.

3. Of the heart, etc. or the emotions: to flutter, quiver, palpitate (ne.Sc. 1942). Ppl.adj. flichtered, excited. Comb. †flightering-fain, throbbing with joy. With up, to get angry or excited. Sc. c.1700 J. Masson in Coll. Dying Testimonies (ed. Calderwood 1806) 46:
When I heard it first mentioned, I thought my heart flightered within me for joy.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. iv.:
My heart was flightering fain.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 58:
Amidst this horror, sleep did on her steal, An' for a wee her flightering breast did heal.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 268:
An' you alane sit peerless i' my heart, It's fleech'rin' now, an' claims its better part.
Hdg. 1801 R. Gall Songs (1819) 128:
I fell on his bosom, heart-flichtered an' fain.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery iii.:
Our leddy is half gane already, as ye may see by that fleightering of the ee-lid.
Bnff. 1872 W. Philip It'ill a' Come Richt xv.:
Ma heart his terribble flichterins i' the nicht.
Ags. 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Poems 211:
I've heard her dowie tale, Wi' flichterin' voice, sad sighs, and watery e'en.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 142:
It's easy eneuch, for the Richt Honourable there, tae flichter up aboot the expense.

4. Of light: to flicker, gleam fitfully (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 247, flicher; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Peb., Kcb., Dmf. 1951). Also fig. Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvii.:
It is not a flightering blink of prosperity which can change my constant opinion in this regard.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xix.:
The flichtering of the flames glancing on the houses on the opposite side of the street.
Lnk. 1881 Clydesdale Readings 227:
Dimly lichted wi' a single penny can'le . . . that flichtered on the mantelpiece.
Abd. 1893 G. Macdonald Sc. Songs 133:
The stars are steady abune; I' the water they flichter and flee.
Sc. 1930 Scots Mag. (June) 179:
A queer kin' o' licht that flichtered up an' doon.

5. To startle, alarm (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ags. 1951). Ppl.adj. flichtered, flight-, afraid, frightened (Ags. 1830 A. Balfour Weeds and Wildflowers 221). Sc. 1712 in H. Miller Scenes and Leg. (1850) x.:
It is in the night-time that evil spirits and wild beasts seize on folk, and cry in the streets to fleg and flichter them.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums xi.:
They were juist as flichtered themsels.

II. n. 1. A flutter(ing), lit. and fig. (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242; Bnff.2 1943; Wgt. 1951); a scurry; a state of excitement (Abd.27 1951). Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West 37:
Everybody's on the flichter to see the King.
Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 47:
Like birds i' the flichtir, Rade roun' an' roun', wi' muckle mirth an lauchter.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 272:
At ilka bit flicher I hear something whisper, That mak's me e'en doubtful If my heart's a' my ain.
wm.Sc. 1903 “S. Macplowter” Mrs McCraw 109:
Ye're in an awfu' flichter the day!
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 47:
The weans in a flichter aroun' him wad gether.

2. A small particle or flake, as of snow (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Cai.9, Fif.14 1952), soot (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bnff.8 1925; Cai.9 1951); a chip of wood (Cai.3 1951), a splinter. Also used collectively; “a great number of small objects flying in the air; as a flichter of birds, a flichter of motes, etc.” (Upp. Lnk. 1825 Jam.). Sc. 1874 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 617:
Ye'll no tak a flicher o' meal on the tap o't, father?
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 73:
The aul' fowk, ye ken, wad 'ave hauden a girnin', discontentit littlin ower the fire, an' if it had been a changed cratur it wad 'ave gane oot at the lum like a flichter.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 244:
Ma haun' gruppit the buik-brod, an' gif I could hae torn aff a flichter o't, . . . I wad hae felled the leein' snot.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 212:
The motes and the flichters are a' over the house owin' to the peat we're usin'.

3. Of light: a flicker, an intermittent glimmer or glow (Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 242; Fif. 1951). Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 240:
She might saftly glide outower the neck before the solitary shepherd in a flichter o' rainbow light.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan 79:
Just looking at the luntin'-coal, and listening to its bit bickering flichter.

[O.Sc. has flichter, to flutter, from a.1400. As the use of flicht as a v. is late, the word is prob. not a freq. form of flicht but of imit. origin, though undoubtedly influenced in form by Flicht, n.1, v.1 and n.2, v.2]

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



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