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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HAPPER, n. Sc. form of Eng. hopper.

1. The hopper of a mill (Ayr. 1787 Burns Unco Guid i.; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 172). Gen.Sc.Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Helicon 77:
Your just a Mill, your Mouths the Happer.
Mry. 1729 Lord Elchies' Letters (MacWilliam 1927) 78:
In this manner, the steel mill will, I'm told, easily grind ten firlots in the hour, without any other attendance than what is given to the meal mill that is to fill the happer.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XX. 76:
The kiln might be so placed that the grain could be conveyed from the kiln-head to the mill-happer, by having both on a level, and a loft from the kiln-head to the happer.
Sc. 1822 Scott Pirate xi.:
The weak points of the Zetland mill . . . it has neither wheel nor trindle — neither cog nor happer.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 59:
I lifted twa neivefu' or mair, While the happer said, “tak it man, tak it.”
Rxb. 1845 T. Aird Old Bachelor 243:
[The schoolboy fetches] a circuit by the mill, to thrust his hands into the happer for a gowpen of groats.
Ags. 1846 G. Macfarlane Rhymes 80:
But, oh! my mill will gang nae mair — Her harp an' happer noo are bare.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 61:
A mill-lade fu' wi' hurly-gushin' flow, That turned the happer o' his earthly days.
em.Sc. 1920 J. Black Airtin' Hame 97:
Nae mill wheel's splash, nor happers click, I' the lade nae water rins.

Combs.: ‡(1) happer-arsed, with bony, protruding hips, sc. moving like a happer; (2) happerbauk, “the beam on which the hopper of a mill rests” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (3) happer-hippit, = (1) (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.).(1) Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 128:
Followed a vast number of city ricketty hopper-arsed beaux, who had been padded up, and made into a complete gentlemen, by the deceased limb-trimmer.
Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems 238:
She's happer-ars'd and ringle ey'd.
(3) Rxb. 1807 J. Ruickbie Wayside Cottager 175:
My cauldrife muse, wi' age decripit, Looks e'en right lean, and happer-hippit.

2. A straw basket or strong canvas container, esp. that in which the sower carries his seed (Mearns 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1956). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng.

[For change of vowel cf. Hap, v.2 and see P.L.D. § 54. O.Sc. hopper (of a mill), from 1427; happer, id., from 1552, seed container, 1578; happer-ars'd, 16–, hoppir hippis, 1500.]

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"Happer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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