Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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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.

2. “To snarl, to gnurr” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.); to make an inarticulate sound, to gobble as of turkeys (Abd. 1956). Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 104:
The turkeys . . . seemed to reciprocate my kind wishes by “hubberin'” back in my face.

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. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 99:
[He] habbergaws at every word; — Ca'd Ackaswarus exe an' swird.

[Origin imit. Cf. also Habble.]

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"Habber v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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