Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LATCH, n.2 Also letch. [lɑtʃ]

1. A mire, a swampy, mossy place (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry IV. Gl.; Bnff. 1825 Jam., Bnff.2 1930). Sometimes as a place-name. Cf. the unpalatalised form lake in e.g. Altrive Lake, James Hogg's farm. Per. 1762 Nairne Peerage Evid. (1873) 96:
The Overtown of Easter Banchry with the lochside latch.
Rxb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XXI. 22:
The lands being hilly, and dry, and gravelly, the roads are always good in winter and summer, except a few latches to be met with in some outskirts of the parish.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxiii.:
If we were ance by Withershins' latch, the road's no near sae saft.

2. A small stream, esp. one flowing through boggy ground. Fif. 1774 L. Macbean Kirkcaldy Burgh Rec. (1908) 279:
The Committee for bringing down the water from the Latch to the street well.
Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 81:
I find that in our district a runlet or small burn is also called by some a letch.
Fif. 1891 Sc. Antiquary V. 190:
There is a small stream running through rather rough ground at the back of Anstruther between Pittarthie and Kingsmuir called in the Ordnance Survey “Violet Latch,” and the Kirklatch near Pittenweem.

3. The rut made by a cart-wheel (wm.Sc. 1825 Jam.).

[O.Sc. lech, = 2., 1214. Also in n.Eng. dial. in form letch. Cf. O.E. lace, dat. of lacu, a stream, a water-channel, lccan, to moisten.]

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"Latch n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2021 <>



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