Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MOUP, v.1, n. Also mowp; moop; mup, mop(e); freq. v. form mouper (Rxb. 1825 Jam., ‡1923 Watson W.-B.), reduplic. n. forms mop-mop, mup-mup; dims. moppie, mopsie; moopie. [mʌup, mɔp, mup]

I. v. 1. tr., absol. or intr. with at. To twitch the lips in a succession of rapid movements, esp. characteristic of the nibbling of a rabbit, sheep, mouse or toothless person (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1903 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Per., Edb., Ayr., Kcb. 1963), or of a mumbling utterance or muttering; of a horse: to mouth at the bit. Ppl.adj. moupin, mumbling, toothless. Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
They say, that a mouse moups at cheese. The word is also applied to speaking, of those who for want of teeth have great difficulty, and make unusual motions of their mouth, that they may be understood.
Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 76:
A moupin runckled Granny.
Rxb. 1820 Scots Mag. (June) 533:
Auld liart carlins wi' mous moupin' like maukins in May!
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) v.:
O, my poor Dawtie, where are a' your jinkings and prancings now, your moopings and your wincings?
Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 10:
Whaur bawbee pies wee callants moupit.
Bwk. 1862 J. G. Smith Old Churchyard 61:
They moopit merrily a' thegether, On meal an' cheese stowed in the pantry.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 89:
Its solemn mooth was lang an' droopit, Its nose an' chin thegether moopit [a ghost].
Edb. 1936 J. Fergus Fancies 125:
He saw a squirrel up a tree Sit mowpin' at a nit.

2. Fig. To fritter away by degrees (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Confused with Mout, v., 2. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 370:
You was bred about a Mill, you have moup'd all your Manners.

3. tr. To pick up in a fumbling manner with mouth or beak. Sc. 1870 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 28:
The heron wi' her lang neb, She moupit me the stanes.

4. intr. To consort or live with (Kcb. 1963). Hence phr. moup and mell, to keep close or intimate company, to share bed and board. See also Mell, v.1 Ayr. a.1796 Burns Guid Ale ii.:
Gars me moop wi' the servant hizzie, Stand i' the stool when I hae dune.
Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 6591:
Grim death . . . would rather mop and mell wi' safter bosoms and mair youthfu' flesh and blude.
Dmf. 1874 R. Reid Moorland Rhymes 38:
This curse gang wi' her wherever she be — May she moop ill-mated, and barren dee!

II. n. 1. A familiar or children's name for a rabbit, because of its twitching of the lips when nibbling (Cai.9 1939), esp. in dim. and reduplic. forms (Rxb. 1915 Jedburgh Gazette (27 Aug.) 2; Ayr. c.1930, mup(-mup)); a call to a rabbit (Ayr. c.1930, mup-mup; Cai.9 1939, mop; Abd. (moppie), Ayr., Kcb., s.Sc. 1963). Per. 1903 C. Johnson Land of Heather 19:
The rabbits, or “moppies”, to use the language of the Scotch children.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 4:
Ti girn the bits o moppies skiltin aboot.

2. The antirrhinum, because of the likeness of the blooms to the noses and lips of rabbits (Rxb. 1915 Jedburgh Gazette (27 Aug.) 2; Ayr., s.Sc. 1963, mop-mop). Cf. mappie('s)-mou s.v. Map, n.3

3. Transf. in dim. form: a louse (Rxb. 1915 Jedburgh Gazette (3 Sept.) 2), from its “nibbling”.

[Imit. O.Sc. moup, to nibble, 1513. For mop cf. Map, v.1, n.3, adj. The diphthongal forms are due to the following labial, cf. Howp, Sowp.]

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"Moup v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



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