Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LIPPER, n.2, adj. Also liper, lipre; leeper; lyper, leiper. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. leper. [Sc. ′lɪpər, ′lip-; Cai., Abd. ′ləip-]

I. n. 1. A large, festering sore or mass of sores, a scab (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai. 1961); fig. a mess of dirt or filth (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Cai. 1961); any scabby disease, of plants as well as human beings. Ppl.adj. lypered, in phr. lypered wi fat, disfigured or shapeless with fat (Ork. 1961). See II. 2. Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April):
Many a sore that was in a perfect “lyper” was healed by this.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 22:
The eyes of spuds came dropping out, The turnips soured and caught the lipper.
Cai.9 1939:
His face is all in a lyper wi' ringworm.

2. A term of contempt for a person or animal, a scamp, rascal (Sh. 1961). Sh. 1898 Shetland News (20 Aug.):
Yon hokken lipper o' a dug o' Arty's is begun to sloom aboot da door agen.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 104:
He's be a while or I buy needles frae a lipper o' a Packman agen.
Sh. 1954 New Shetlander No. 40. 15:
I wid trust mysel ta you afore aa da speeshalists ida country, fur what tink you o een o da lippers dat wantit ta cut my fit aff?

II. adj., from n. used attrib.: lit., leprous, having some cutaneous disease, e.g. smallpox (Fif. 1825 Jam.); hence by extension, having a mottled or diseased appearance; of pigs or their flesh: measled; fig., as an expletive: pestilential, accursed, damned (Sh. 1961). Combs. 1. leper-dew, a cold, frosty dew (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.) from its hoary appearance. Cf. the description of leprosy in Exodus iv. 6, Leviticus xiii.; 2. lipper-fat, lyper-, adj., bulging with fat, excessively fat, phs. from the similarity to the elephantiasis associated with leprosy or to the mottled appearance of the fat in the tissues (s.Sc. 1808 Jam., leeper-; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. 1.; 3. lipper-jay, the jay, phs. so called from the variegated areas on its plumage. Jam.2 also defines as the jackdaw. Bnff. 1725 Banffshire Jnl. (13 Sept. 1887):
John Moir and Alex Hay for having the impudence to bring to the publick markatt and sell a lepper swyn or sow.
Abd. 1751 J. Cranna Fraserburgh (1914) 46–7:
The defender, shaking off all regard of the laws of the land, sold and disposed, upon the oath of those present, three legs of grottey and leiper pork.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 17. 2:
Cabbages howed, and sprayed to keep da lipper white locust at bay.
2. Rxb. 1825 Jam.:
Cattle are said to be lipper fat, when very fat.
s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xvii.:
You're fat, man, the noo, lipper-fat.
Abd.5 1928:
I hid a doggie jist lyper fat. The craitur wis as fat as its skin cud haad.
3. Dmf. c.1700 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) III. 191:
Jay called Lipper-jayes, taught to speak as exactly as any Parrat.

[O.Sc. lippir, a leper, 1560, leprous, 1477, lipir fish, 1609, lypir, leprosy, c.1450, later forms of leper, leprous, leprosy, a.1400, Mid.Eng. lepre, leprosy, a leper, O.Fr. lepre, liepre, leprosy. The long vowel and diphthongal forms are due to lengthening in Mid.Eng. forms lēper, lēpyr, a pronunciation which survived in Eng. till the 18th c.]

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



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