Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FOUNDER, v., n. Also foon(d)er, foun(dh)er, funder, funner. Sc. forms and usages. [′fu:n(d)ər]

I. v. 1. tr. To fell, strike down (ne.Sc. Ags., Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr., Slk. 1953). Sc. 1768 Weekly Mag. (1 Dec.) 287:
The fellow gave the woman a severe blow on the side of the head, which foundered her to the ground.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 9:
My guidame wad a sticket my mither wi' the grape, if my father hadna chanc'd to founder her wi' the beetle.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
Ye strake ower hard, Steenie — I doubt ye foundered the chield.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 44:
But the lass cuist her e'en up as heich as the kirk, Syne she gi'ed him a glower wad 'a' foonert a stirk.

2. tr. To exhaust, to prostrate with fatigue, shock, surfeit, etc. (ne.Sc., em.Sc., Ayr., Slk. 1953). Also fig., to strike with utter dismay, to stagger. Edb. 1740 Caled. Mercury (18 Feb.):
The Crew were so founder'd, by Fatigue, that they had not the use of their Limbs for many Days after their Arrival there.
Dmf. 1863 R. Quinn Heather Lintie 59:
Their meagre looks yer sauls will foun'er.
m.Sc. 1898 J. Buchan John Burnet iii. iv.:
But the puir lad was sae dazed and foundered that frae the first he had nae chance.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xxiii.:
Worn out by travel and distress of mind . . . she had gone to rest . . . “The lass is fair foundered.”
Abd.29 1948:
I'm foonert — I hid far owre muckle shepherd's pie an' dumplin.

3. Specif. of cold or a chill: to prostrate, to cause to collapse (ne.Sc., Fif., w., sm. and s.Sc. 1953). Freq. in ppl.adj. foun(d)ert, chilled, numbed, helpless with (a) cold (Ib.). Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 132:
Get up, then, man, an' come awa, I'm funner't wi the caul'.
Lnk. 1882 A. L. Orr Laigh Flights 84:
Clean foundert wi' your piercin' win' Like lancet keen.

4. intr. Of persons: to collapse, break down, sink helpless, with drink, exhaustion or illness, esp. a chill. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. In mod. Eng. almost exclusively of horses. ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 44:
Here her Tammie fairly foonert, Lies wi' broken niz an' neck!
Mry. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 80:
I'll wad a croon it's Janet Broon Wha's foonert in first fittin.
Sc. 1935 D. Rorie Lum Hat 30:
Pit up whaur Tam Tinkler foonert i' the snaw.

II. n. A collapse, breakdown, esp. in health (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.: Abd., Fif., Ayr., Slk. 1953), very freq. in wm.Sc., Uls., of a severe feverish chill, as in phr. to tak a founer. Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy Geordie Chalmers 291:
I doot something no canny has come owre um. . . . In he's no witch'd, he's at least gotten a sair foun'er.
Uls. 1901 Northern Whig:
The doctor may, however, be informed that the person he is going to see had, as the result of a severe wetting, “got a founder.”
Tyr. 1929 “M. Mulcaghey” Ballymulcaghey 83:
I got a tarrible foundher in my bones that time.
Ayr. 1951:
A farmer at an Ayrshire wedding recently partook of the various courses including a hot sweet. He was then offered ice-cream, but refused it, saying: “Na, na, lassie, it wid gi'e me a foon'er.”

[O.Sc. founder, to fall helplessly, c.1475. The specif. association with a chill is prob. due to the influence of Fundy.]

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"Founder v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2020 <>



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