Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FUTTLE, n., v. n.Sc. variants of Eng. whittle. See P.L.D. §§ 59, 134. Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. A knife, esp. a short-bladed one used by cobblers or herring-gutters (ne.Sc., Ags. 1953), specif. in Cai. of one that is worn or blunt (Cai.8 1934, Cai.7 1953). Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 16:
The Trojan lads right soon wou'd dight you Like a futtle haft.
Bnff. 1872  W. Philip It 'ill a' come Richt 24:
A soncy pig that by hairst-time will be ready for the futtle.
ne.Sc. 1909  G. Greig Folk-Song xii. 1:
A bunch o' birse, a ball o' wax, . . . And crookit futtles five or sax.
ne.Sc. 1934  Sc. N. & Q. (Nov.) 165:
Death cowes a' wi his futtle.

2. Hence: an inefficient or useless instrument or tool (Cai. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (10 May)); a bungler, one who botches his work (Ib.).   Ib.:
'E aald futtle o' a machine went sindry.

II. v. 1. To cut, carve with a knife; to whittle. Phr. to futtle the (idle) pin, to idle, to trifle (Mry.1 1928; Bnff.9 1949). Hence n. phr. futtle-the-pin, an idler, loafer (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 57). Cf. Fite, v. Bnff. 1933  M. Symon Deveron Days 18:
Here's sklates and skailies, ilka dask a' futtled wi' a name.

2. To work in a fumbling, incompetent manner, to bungle or botch (Cai. 1940 John o' Groat Jnl. (5 May)), to tinker (Cai.7 1953).

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"Futtle n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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