Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEWDER, n., v. Also leuder, looder, lud(e)r (Sh.); louder, lowder, lawder; l(l)outher, ludher. Dim. forms loothrick (Slg. 1825 Jam.), lowdrick. [′ludər, ′lu:ð-, ne.Sc. ′l(j)ʌu-.]

I. n. 1. A heavy wooden bar or pole used for levering up a mill-stone (Sc. 1808 Jam., lowder; ne.Sc. 1960). Comb. louthertree, id. (Jam.). Sc. 1705  Observator (11 June) 3:
The Handle of Government may be Compared to a Mill Lewder … When a Miller lifts up the Mill-stone, if he Press down the out end of the Louder he rises the Stone with great ease.
m.Lth. 1706  in J. Watson Choice Coll. i. 44:
[He] ran to the mill and fetcht the Lowder, Wherewith he hit her on the Shou'der, That he dang't all to drush like Powder.
w.Lth. 1718  News from Bathgate 7:
When Millers at a Distance from their Lawders [sic] May fear some gay Divine shall dust their Shoulders.
ne.Sc. 1832  P. Buchan Secret Songs 176:
I took her by the milk-white hand, I had her to the leuder.

2. Any wooden lever or crowbar (Mry., Slg. 1825 Jam.; Abd. 1960). Abd. 1950  Huntly Express (16 June):
The iron pinch and louther with the aid of the horse or oxen, enabled many a farmer to clear his land of the smaller boulders.
ne.Sc. 1957  Abd. Press & Jnl. (4 Oct.):
A “louder”, a huge crowbar made from a “lariack” pole shod at the point with an iron “heel.”

3. A long, stout, rough stick (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor), a club, cudgel. Abd. 1711  W. Meston Poet. Wks. (1802) 157:
But I shall neatly tan your Hide, So long's my Lewder does abide.

4. A heavy blow, sc. from a stout stick (Uls. 1953 Traynor, lowder). Abd. 1825  Jam.:
I'se gie ye a lewder.
Per. 1898  C. Spence Poems 194:
Lo! a tip upon the shouther — Na fegs, it was a hearty louther.
Abd. 1930 15 :
I'll gie ye a lowdrick wi my stick.

5. In I.Sc. usage: in a hand-mill, the wooden block or bench on which it rests and on which the meal falls (Ork. 1910 Old-Lore Misc. III. iv. 253); in a water-mill, the floor supporting the nether-millstone (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)). For comb. kwern-looder, see Quern, n.1 Sh. 1886  P.S.A.S. XX. 270:
The floor of the ludr, upon the centre of which the millstones rest, is formed by the flagged roofing of the under-house, and is either a slightly raised platform or is marked off from the rest of the mill floor by a small setting of stones.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 112, 172:
The movements of witches were always made against the sun, and by whirling a wooden cap in water or a hand-mill on a bare looder, they were supposed to be able to raise the wind like Furies. … In a corner of the looder stood a toyeg … containing as much corn as would be a hurd o' burstin.
Ork. 1910  Old-Lore Misc. III. i. 9:
The table or bin on which the quern stands is called lúðr in Edda and looder in Orkney.
Sh. 1959  Shetland News (7 April) 4:
His uniform jacket … reposed … on the “luder” of a hand-mill.

II. v. To hammer, to batter; to beat severely, thrash (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 227; Uls. 1953 Traynor, ludher). Vbl.n. lewderin, lloutheran, a hiding (Ib.). Cf. I. 4. Kcd. 1850  W. Jamie Stray Effusions 197:
He [a tinker] lowder'd an' sowder'd, An' roar'd aloud for mair.
Uls. 1937  S. MacManus Bold Blades 365:
I'll go meself to Tyrhugh and ludher ye home.

[In sense 5. from O.N. lúðr, the floor round a mill-stone on which the meal is heaped up, shaped as a receptacle or bin, Norw. lur, the plank under a hand-mill. The word phs. orig. refers to any wooden beam or block under a grinding-stone on which the meal fell and which might be raised or lowered to adjust the fineness of the grist. Hence sense 1. of which 2., 3. and 4. are extensions.]

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"Lewder n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2019 <>



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