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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LAPPER, v.1, n.1 Also laper, lapour; lamper (Cai.); and Eng. form lo(p)per (s.Sc.), louper. [′lɑpər, s.Sc. + ′lɔpər]

I. v. 1. tr. and intr. Of serous fluids, esp. milk or blood: to clot, coagulate, curdle. Very common in comb. lappert milk, milk which has gone sour and curdled (wm.Sc. 1741 A. M'Donald Galick Vocab. 23). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Deriv. lopperty, curdled (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14:
An awful hole was dung intill his brow, An' lappert bleed was smeer'd around his mou.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 87:
I vow my hair-mould milk would poison dogs, As it stands lapper'd in the dirty cogs.
Sc. 1805 A. Hunter Culina 230:
The preparation will become what, in this country, is called lapoured, when a degree of acidity will be observed.
m.Lth. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 34:
A charger's just a muckle plate, That ha'ds our milk to lapper.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 82:
Her lapart milk, an' blinket whey, War' a' securely lockit by.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 64:
Be't creamt or be't kirned … Be't lappert or be't yearned.
Slk. 1828 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) viii.:
Could I but … see his blood lopper, and bubble, and spin away in purple slays.
Gall. 1875 Trans. Highl. Soc. 36:
[Milk] remains in the barrel from 36 to 48 hours until it is thoroughly thickened, or as it is locally termed “lappered.”
Abd. 1882 G. Macdonald Castle Warlock ii.:
What has the heid o' a faimily to du drinkin' soor milk — eneuch to lapper a' i' the inside o' 'im.
Arg. 1896 N. Munro Lost Pibroch 14:
The blood of old and young lappered on the hearthstone.
Rxb. 1920 Kelso Chron. (17 Dec.) 6:
Hae'll no sup 'aes parraidge. Aa tried 'im wi' trekkle insteed o' lappert milk, but na, he wadna gome thaim.
Abd. 1932 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 108:
The lappert bleed in splatches on't.
Rxb. 1952 W. Landles Gooseberry Fair 62:
Scones on the girdle, made wi' loupered milk.

Vbl.n. lappering, the curdling of milk. Comb. lappering-tub, a vessel for this purpose (Abd., Lth., Dmf. 1960).Sc. 1880 Trans. Highl. Soc. 205:
Lappering. This is the term applied to a method of treating milk previous to its being manufactured into butter.
Dmf. 1920 Scottish Farmer (20 March):
14 Milk Plates, 1 Lappering Tub, 10 Large Milk Tins.

2. tr. and intr. Of water: to congeal, turn to ice slowly, to freeze (Abd., Ags. 1960); also to become full of melting snow, ice or slush.Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 323:
The lappered lake, ere morn Cementing firm frae shore to shore.
Dmf. 1813 A. Cunningham Songs 51:
The rills are lappering up with ice.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
The burn's fair lopper't up.
Abd. 1945 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 378:
An icy skimmerin' lappers the troch moo.

3. By extension from 1.: to besmear with something moist and sticky, esp. blood, to dabble, to become covered with blood or the like (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Sh., Lth. 1960); to have a blotched or mottled appearance, of the sky (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1728 Last and dying Words of the Tinclarian Doctor 15:
They left me for Death, lappering with Blood.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxx.:
They may lapper their hands to the elbows in their hearts' blude.
Slk. 1821 Hogg Poems (1865) 316:
Lapperit with mist and claye.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 27:
There is a common saying, relative to Three-burn-grains, which is, “that a three-thumbed man should haud three King's horses up to the saddle-girths, lappert i' bluid.”
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl. 83:
I'll lapper dee i di blud.
Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 47:
Till a man's ill-natur' lappers his sark As it sypes awa' frae his nose.
Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xxi.:
He was a' lappered wi' bluid, and when he seen me he ran on me.

4. Of soil: to dry out in a caked or lumpy state (Bnff., Abd. 1960).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 101:
The loans wir pleut weet, an' they a' lappert in spring fin the dry wither set in. The neep laan geed a' intil ae lappert lump, an' it took a poor o' wark to mack it.
Abd. 1955 Huntly Express (25 March):
Early ploughed fields may require to be left unsown for some time owing to the grun' bein' lappert.

II. n. 1. A clot or mass of clots or coagulated matter, esp. milk or blood (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork., Fif., Lth., Bwk., Ayr., Gall., Slk. 1960). Adv. phr. a-lapper, in a clotted mass.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
The milk's into a lapper.
Sc. 1829 R. Chambers Sc. Songs II. 661:
I'll hae nae mair lappers o' kail.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xviii.:
All his face was a-lapper with blood.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs 28:
Her witches rune gaed up and doon, And turned the bluid tae lapper.

Hence lapperman, a dairy-farmer (see quot.); lapper-milk, id., thick, sour milk (Abd. 1902 E.D.D.; ne. and em.Sc., Lnk., sm. and s.Sc. 1960). Cf. v. 1.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary x.:
There's a soup parritch for ye — it will set ye better to be slaistering at them and the lapper-milk.
Rnf. 1965 T. E. Niven East Kilbride 37: 
Another name given to the soor dook farmers was lappermen, because they made their butter from lapper or milk which had been soured and thickened through lying and was ready for butter-making.

2. Specif.: milk soured and thickened in preparation for butter-making (Ayr. 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 298). Gen.(exc. I. and Cai.)Sc.; cream-cheese (Abd. 1960).wm.Sc. 1834 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. V. 352:
It is allowed to stand undisturbed till the milk has not only acidified, but till it has been formed into a coagulum, (or “lapper” in dairy language).

3. Snow in the act of melting, soft, slushy snow (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 312; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., lopper). Also attrib.Slk. 1830 Hogg in Blackwood's Mag. (Oct.) 682:
The country became waist-deep of lopper, or half-melted snow.
s.Sc. 1857–9 Trans. Highl. Soc. 176:
The burns were all flooded on the afternoon previous to the storm and large masses of sheep were driven into the cold “lapper”, and either perished by drowning or were benumbed with cold.
Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 151:
Loper snow, snow in a state of slush.

III. Combs.: lapper gowan, lappert-, lappart-, lopper(d)-, the globe-flower, Trollius Europaeus, or the marsh marigold, Calthus palustris, so called from the resemblance of their flowers to balls of curdled milk (Cld. 1825 Jam., lopper; Rxb. 1886 B. and H. 216, lapper). Watson W.-B. defines but ? erron. as the ox-eye daisy or marguerite. Cf. Lucken and Locker, n.; lopperty heid, a blockhead, dolt (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. I. 1.

[O.Sc. lapper, 1595, lopper, to curdle (see P.L.D. § 54), Mid.Eng. loper, to curdle, from a.1300, a freq. form of lope, O.N. hlaupa, to leap, run. Cf. O.N. causative hløypa, to curdle milk, hlǫup, coagulation. For sim. development see run milk s.v. Rin, Yern, Earn, v. The Cai. form lampar is due to conflation with Gael. lamban, curds.]

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"Lapper v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Mar 2023 <>



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