Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KNAPPER, n. [′(k)nɑpər]

1. A person whose trade is stone-breaking, freq. in comb. stane-knapper. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 185:
A Hibernian Stone-knapper and his Cuddy. Once upon a time there dwelt within the confines of the parish of Cardross an Irish stone-breaker, who kept a donkey.
Lnk. 1913 Rymour Club Misc. II. 64:
Fiddlers, slaters, drovers and nappers, Dominies, sodgers, and lassies sae braw.
Lth. 1954 Edb. Evening News (7 Oct.):
Elderly country people will remember, too, the stone knapper, who broke up large stones into pieces small enough for road making. Machinery has replaced him entirely.

2. A small hammer used by stone-breakers (Uls. 1908 Traynor (1953); Kcb.1 1931; Ork., Bnff., Ags., Fif., Lth., Dmf. 1960). Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie ii.:
Sam'l leant on his “knapper”.

3. A rap, a slap. Cai.9 1946:
If 'ee dinna haad yer towngue, A'll gie 'ee a knapper on 'e loog.

4. In pl.: a pair of sticks used in the manner of castanets, to beat out a rhythm either alone, or to accompany a mouth-organ or Jew's harp. They were six to eight inches long and were held between the fingers of one hand (Mry. 1935). Cf. knackers s.v. Knack, v., 1.

[From Knap, v.1]

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"Knapper n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <>



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