Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LETHER, n., v. Also leather (Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 206), leauther (Slg. 1740 Burgh Rec. Slg. 255); lather (Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 35); ledder (Mry. 1715 E. D. Dunbar Documents (1895) 22; I. and ne.Sc. 1960), leddar (Abd. 1737 Sc. N. & Q. (1894) 124), leder (Inv. 1745 Trans. Gael. Soc. Inv. XXVI. 179), laidder (Abd. 1879 G. MacDonald Sir Gibbie xxvii.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. ladder. See D, 4. [Cai., m. and s.Sc. ′lɛðər, I. and ne.Sc. ′lɛdər]

I. n. As in Eng. (Sc. 1745 Chrons. Atholl & Tullibardine Families III. 28; Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 168; Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 159, lather; Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 135; Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 121, ledder). Phrs. ladder to Heaven, the plant Jacob's ladder, Polemonium caeruleum (Lnk. 1831 W. Patrick Plants 115); up the lether, a figure in the game of chucks or fivestones, in which “four pieces are laid out in a row and the space between touched at each throw of the fifth piece. When the top is reached, the whole ladder is swept up in one motion” (wm.Sc.1 c.1900).

II. v. To sow grain by hand unevenly so that there are gaps in the resulting crop. Cf. Happergaw. Sc. 1849 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 539:
When the braird come up, they will show themselves in stripes like the steps of a ladder; and hence this species of bad sowing is named in the country, laddering.

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"Lether n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Jun 2021 <>



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