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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LATCH, v., n.3 Also leytch. [lɑtʃ, †letʃ]

I. v. To be slow or dilatory, to dawdle, loiter, procrastinate (Rxb. 1825 Jam., leytch; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 101; ne.Sc. 1960). Freq. in ppl.adj. latchin, tardy, slow, lazy (Id.).Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 14:
Though a' are grievin' for a dance, The lads are latchin to advance, And wile their partners out.
Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert iv.:
An antrin craw that flees bye on sweir an' latchin' weengs.
ne.Sc. 1929 M. W. Simpson Day's End 36:
April's up an' buskit braw — Trig, an' gleg, an' unco thrang, For the jaud's been latchen lang.

Hence adj. latchie, -y, slow, sluggish, tardy, dilatory (ne.Sc. 1960). Also adv.Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 25:
When the daylicht creepit latchie up the caul', grey eastern sky.
Bch. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 42:
Afore the bairns an' latchy folk Kent faur their heids were lyin'.
Bnff. 1953 Banffshire Jnl. (17 Feb.):
The daylicht cam' creepin' latchie-like in.
Abd. 1958 Buchan Observer (29 April) 5:
We find latchy applied to a lazy-bones, or to a cow that is reluctant to let down her milk, or in short to anyone or anything that shows signs of not being prompt to deliver whatever may be the goods demanded of them.
Abd. 1993:
They were some latchie wi the breakfast at mornin.
Abd. 1993 Herald 18 Jan 13:
We were a bit latchie at harvest time last year, and this week we still had 40 acres of much needed straw lying.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 65:
His kistin ran like clockwork, jist the wye he likit it. Nae wan sowel amang the mourners wis latchy - nae even Dod Forbes.
ne.Sc. 1999 Aberdeen Evening Express 3 Mar 11:
A few weeks back I spotted an advertisement for what appeared to be a cracker of a job - chief executive of the Scottish Parliament.
It occurred to me they were a bit latchie in filling such a key post. No matter. They must know what they're doing.
ne.Sc. 2003 Aberdeen Evening Express 25 Apr 22:
Sadly, Mrs MacDonald has doubtless gone to that great blackboard in the sky. So it's too late to finally admit my terrible secret to her.
However, I know 43 years on is a bit latchie, but: Sorry, Christine.

II. n. Indolence (Gregor); an indolent, dilatory person, a dawdler.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 101:
He's a mere latch wee's wark; he's eye ahin.

[O.Sc. lache, to lag, loiter, 1513, North Mid.Eng. lache, to be careless about, O.Fr. lasch(i)er, to relax, slacken. Cf. Fr. lâche, slack, without energy, cowardly.]

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"Latch v., n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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