Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MUTCH, n. Also much; mutsh (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). [mʌtʃ]

1. A head-dress, esp. a close-fitting day cap of white linen or muslin with a goffered, gathered or trimmed border, specif. such as used to be worn by married women (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.); a baby's bonnet. Gen.Sc. Deriv. ¶mutchless, wearing no cap. Hence mutched, wearing a mutch. Abd. 1723 S.C. Misc. (1935) I. 44:
Alex. Simson . . . tore her mutch of her head and trampd it in the gutter.
Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 9:
Their toys and mutches were sae clean, They glanced in our ladses' een.
Sc. 1753 Trial of J., D. & R. M'Gregor (1818) 143:
She had a sort of mutch upon her head, but no cap, nor any thing else about it.
Ayr. 1768 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (4 May):
Asked some Linnen to make Mutches for the Child as she had called it for his sister.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xvi.:
My mother's auld mutch, and my red rokelay.
Inv. 1820 E. Grant Mem. Highl. Lady (1928) 276:
She wore the Highland mutch (the high clear cap of fine muslin, trimmed, in her case with Flanders lace).
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 216:
The mutchless mawsey . . . flings hersell frae the tap step o' the flicht to the causeway.
Lnk. 1868 J. Hamilton Poems (1873) 243:
Juist snod pipet mutches as white as the snaw.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls iv.:
Jess, . . . hastily donning her black mutch, received Willie on the threshold.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xix.:
Old Lady Allardyce walked there alone in the garden, in her hat and mutch.
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 148:
Chatting with two white-mutched wives.
Uls. 1908 A. M'Ilroy Burnside i.:
The old women came out in red scarfs, called cardinals, or gaudily coloured paisley shawls, worn cornerways, and on their heads white mutches, bound by a black ribbon.
Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 42:
She deftly arranged a stray lock of gray-black hair under the neatly goffered border of her white morning-mutch.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 54:
The head-dress in vogue at that time was a dainty mutch of muslin and lace, trimmed with ribbons or flowers.
Ayr. 1927 J. Carruthers A Man Beset i.:
Nellie tossed her mutched head.

2. Combs.: (1) auld wife's mutch, old —, (i) a rotating chimney-cowl (Ags. 1963). See Auld, adj., 9. (20); (ii) in pl. in plant-names where the blossom suggests a bonnet: specif. the columbine, Aquilegia vulgaris (Abd., Ags., Ayr. 1963), the monkshood, Aconitum napellus. Cf. grannie's mutches s.v. Grannie, n., 8. (7); (2) baby-mutch, a baby's bonnet (Ork. 1963); (3) close mutch, a close-fitting mutch coming round under the chin; (4) deevil's mutches, the monks-hood, Aconitum napellus (Sh. 1963); (5) gipsy mutch, a bonnet with large side-flaps. Eng. has gipsy-bonnet, id., 1855. See also Gippy Mutch; (6) grannie(‘s) mutch(es), see Grannie, n., 8. (7). Also in dim. grannie mutchie as a soubriquet for an old woman (Bnff., Ags., Fif., Ayr., Uls. 1963). Cf. 3.; (7) mutch-box, a box for storing a mutch; (8) mutch-cap, a night-cap (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (9) mutch-croon, the crown of a mutch; (10) mutch-string, the string for tying a mutch under the chin (Ork., Per. 1963); (11) night mutch, a night-cap (Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Ork. 1963); (12) soo-backit mutch, see soo-back s.v. Soo. (1) (ii) Per. 1871 Sc. Naturalist 1. 54:
Then, we have Ragwort, known by the name of Weeby; and Monkshood, by the appropriate term, “Old Wives' Mutches.”
(2) Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 171:
Still it wears its baby-mutch.
(3) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Mrs Gibb was dressed in a home-made grey wincey gown, a very precisely made up and very well starched close “mutch ” (they were old-fashioned people the Gibbs), and a tartan plaid.
Bnff. 1887 G. Green Gordonhaven x.:
The elderly females with “white close mutches.”
(5) Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 81:
[At Aikey Fair] the women also were in their “braws ”, and those of the fair sex who could afford it appeared in white. They generally wore high-crowned gipsy mutches.
(7) Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet iv.:
The “mutch ” box lined with pale green paper, patterned with faded pink roses.
(9) Abd. 1916 Hamespun Rhymes (Smith) 13:
Her dram was as dry as her honest mutch-croon.
(10) Sh. 1892 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 24:
An poo'ed da mutch-string slacker.
(11) Edb. 1759 Caled. Mercury (13 Oct.):
Stolen . . . Two Bundles of Linen . . . boys night mutches.
Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales 75:
Even her night-mutch did appear; The verra plaits aboon her brow.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 151:
Forkit Benjie into bed . . . Tied a nicht-mutch roun' his head.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.:
She was jist up an' . . . o' the road oot wi' the ais-backet, an' her nicht mutch nae aff.
Cai. 1896 J. Horne Canny Countryside 109:
Ma broo hes never feelt onything bit ma bonnet an' ma nicht-mutch.

3. An old woman (Ayr. c.1930; Fif., Ayr., Kcb. 1963). Cf. 2. (6).

[O.Sc. much, a night-cap, 1473, Mid.Du. mutse, mutsche, a covering for the head, nacht-mutse, a night-cap, ad. med. Lat. almutia, and phs. ultimately of Arabic orig.]

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"Mutch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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