Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HABBER, v., n. Also hubber (Sh., ne.Sc.).

I. v. 1. To stammer, to stutter (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1956); to talk continuously and boringly. Hence habberer, stammerer, chatterbox.Abd. 1913 G. Greig Mains Again 37:
Nae mair o' your impidence here — ye ill-fashioned habberer!
Kcb. 1933 “L. G. Gibbon” Cloud Howe 63:
He habbered from nine until loosening-time, near, some story about some minister.
Bch. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 12:
A hubberin' halflin in fite moleskin breeks.
m.Sc. 1939 James Barke The Land of the Leal (1987) 122:
But drink as they might and habber on about the merry exploits of bygone days; ...
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 165:
Then he habbered something and she bent closer to hear him.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 2:
Neil Ritchie the keeper ower bi the loch hid catched the pair o them bonnie in the birkwids last Merch - gey near shot the buggers in fact - Attie, wi his breeks roon his queats, an Belle reid-chikked an hubberin.

2. “To snarl, to gnurr” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.); to make an inarticulate sound, to gobble as of turkeys (Abd. 1956). Also fig. Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 104:
The turkeys . . . seemed to reciprocate my kind wishes by “hubberin'” back in my face.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 57:
The yetts creak on hubberin hinges.

II. n. 1. A stammer, a stutter (Abd.27 1920; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1956).Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Days 15:
“Please, sir” (a habber an' a hoast), — “Please, sir” (a gasp, a gulp, Syne wi' a rush) “Please-sir-can-we-win-oot-to-droon-a-fulp?”

2. One who stutters or speaks thickly, hence applied to a stupid person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 225).

3. A snarl, or growl; “the act of snarling or growling like a dog” (Abd. 1825 Jam.); a gobble, of a turkey (Abd. 1956).Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 12:
Fell death had come to see them An' gi'en a habber, Wi' solemn air.

III. Combs.: 1. habbercock, a source of annoyance, a variant of 4. For the sense-development see under Bubbly-jock; ¶2. happer-gallicks, v., to speak the Gaelic tongue; a nonce-formation in quasi-Highland Scots from Habber + Gaelic; 3. habbergaw, (1) n., hesitation, suspense, objection (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.); (2) v., to stumble, hesitate (in reading); to make objections (Kcb.4 1900). Cf. Hammergaw; 4. habberjock, a turkey-cock (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 72; Ags. 1956); also used fig. of a big, stupid person who speaks thickly (Gregor).1. Bnff.2 1930:
Weel, weel, we maun jist thole; a' body hiz their habbercock.
2. Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 127:
Fan Tonnal cou'd te Latin speak As weel as happer-gallicks.
3. Sc. 1827 A. Sutherland Tales of a Pilgrim 324:
With his thread-bare black coat, and his shreds of sermons, habergaing about supplicating for hands, and so forth.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 99:
[He] habbergaws at every word; — Ca'd Ackaswarus exe an' swird.

[Origin imit. Cf. also Habble.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Habber v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Jun 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: