Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
LEATHER, n., v. Also leither (Sc. 1703 N. Dickson Kirk and its Worthies 202), laidder, ledder (I. and ne.Sc.); †lader (ne.Sc. c.1800 Child Ballads (1956) V. 265). [′leðər, s.Sc. ′læð-, ne.Sc. ′ledər]
I. n. 1. As in Eng. Adj. leddern, made of leather, leathern (Abd. 1960). Phr. leather-ty [to]-patch, orig. the name of a step in a dance, hence adv. of a similar staccato movement or sound; rat-tat-tat or the like. Also in n.Eng. dial.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1898) xxv.:
I'll beat leather-ty-patch wi' my buckles on the back-door. Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. vi. 147:
On's back a leddern wallet.
2. The skin, now only in slang usage in Eng., the hide of an animal; specif. the lining of the throat, in jocular reference to drinking.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 186:
Deacon Cocks hae pass'd a law To rax an' weet your leather Wi' drink thir days. Ayr. 1787 Burns Auld Mare xviii.:
Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether. To some hain'd rig, Whare ye may nobly rax your leather. Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 75:
At times, nae doubt, he wat his leather, Till light his heart lap like a feather. Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 133:
An', if ye touch a single feather, I'll score your back till't lose the leather. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 239:
I rax'd da tar ledder o' da grice for humbli-baands. Abd. 1928 4 :
Lat the win' blaw upon strait laidder, i.e. eat your fill and face the weather.
3. The udder of a cow. Also in Eng. dial.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 56:
To drain the milk frae bruckie's leather.
4. A heavy blow (Bnff., Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; n.Sc., Ags., sm.Sc. 1960). Cf. v.
II. v. 1. As in colloq. Eng., to beat, flog, thrash. Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. leatherin, a hiding (Sc., Sh. 1825 Jam.) and in phr. clean leatherin, a ding-dong fight.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 60:
Earth! ye deserve a leath'ring, Right snell, this day. Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxiii.:
I cam to a place where there had been some clean leatherin', and a' the puir chields were lying there. Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 262:
“A leatherin, friend!” said I, “pray what may that mean?” “'Tis what we ca' threshin' ane's skin i' some places; or, a drubbing, as an Englishman wad ca't.” Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xii.:
Lord! yon's a wife who would be nane the waur o' a leatherin', as they say in the south. Abd. 1925 R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 15:
We herdit nowt the simmer throwe, In winter took a raith O' skweelin' wi' a maister brow, Fa wis tae ledderin' laith.
2. To scold, rail at, criticise severely (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102).
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 196:
We'll sing oor sang, tho' critics leather, We'll string oor rhymes, nay aiblins blether.
3. To tie tightly, sc. with a leather thong (Slk. 1825 Jam.).
4. Freq. with at or up: to do anything with vigour and speed, to tear on, to work hard or assiduously (Sc. 1808 Jam., Add., “a low word”; Sh., Ags., Kcb., Uls. 1960), often in conjunction with another verb. Also in Eng. dial.; to urge upon, to argue or plead with, to exhort; with aff: to utter vehemently or volubly.
Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 181:
To leather and gang — to walk rapidly. To leather and dance — to dance with much spirit and vigour. Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 102:
She wiz leatherin' an' washin' the fleer. A'm eye leatherin' at 'im t' learn's lessons. Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Sc. Verses 12:
Losh, the laddie's uncommonly gifted; Ye should see him mount up on a chair An' leather awa' at the readin'. Kcb. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xiv.:
He was just leatherin' aff the words that fast the folk couldna tell whether he was gi'en them guid Scots or ill-contrived Laitin. Abd. 1941 C. Gavin Black Milestone ii.:
He'll be leatherin' awa' at St Paul's missionary journeys.
5. To hurry, hasten, to walk briskly, “get a move on” (Abd., Lth., Slk. 1960).
Peb. 1800 Edb. Mag. (Dec.) 477:
On Monday mornin', a' the bairns Through a' their friends are leatherin! Abd. 1955 :
If you've gotten sairt, then ledder.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Leather n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/leather>
Try an Advanced Search