Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PEUTHER, v.2 Also pouther, puther (Rxb. 1825 Jam.), pother; peut(e)r, pewt(e)r, powder. [′pjuθər, ′pjutər]

1. intr. To fuss about doing nothing, potter about aimlessly, fumble, make a great show of working, bustle around (Ork. 1903 E.D.D.; Ork., Ags., Uls. 1965). Ppl.adj. pewt(e)ring, shiftless, “ham-handed”, fussily zealous. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 86:
At bonspiels, ay, o' what a shilpet crew, Sic pewtring bodies, curse me, ne'er I knew.
Kcb. 1895  Crockett Moss-Hags xxxii.:
Mony a mewlin' peuterin' body has great success wi' the weemen folk.
Ork. 1931  J. Leask Peculiar People 124:
Him an' me Uncle Tam waar putheran aboot deir rig at Skithiwee.

2. tr., intr. and absol. In extended sense: to solicit in a fussy and ingratiating manner, to bustle about busily trying to win favour, to importune; specif. to canvass for votes in an election by means of flattery and fussy attentions (Rxb. 1748 J. Wilson Annals Hawick (1850) 149, powder; Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 91, pewther, 1825 Jam.; Ork. 1903 E.D.D.). Sc. 1724  Session Papers, Duff v. Magistrates Inverness (3 Feb.) 1:
Bribing and peuthering, if a Word so well understood may be used about Elections.
Edb. 1738  Caled. Mercury (18 Dec.):
After the greatest Struggle and Peuthering that has yet been known, Mr. John Dickie Writer was elected.
Dmf. 1746  R. Edgar Hist. Dmf. (1915) 58:
On account of the Test Act, he plowed and pewthered with the then Administrators . . . to grant him by Act of Council . . . five pounds str. yearly.
Dmf. 1759  Session Papers, Crosbie v. Corbet (19 July) 39:
It is a common thing in Dumfries, in pothering, to kiss the wives, and drink with them.
Gall. 1796  J. Lauderdale Poems 59:
To pimp, an' peuther, and to tell A guid tale, ay about mysell.
Sc. 1825  Jam.:
The twa candidates were baith busy peuthering yesterday at Aberdeen.
Ayr. 1834  Galt Lit. Life III. 41:
If I had not pewter't with the patron before Mr. Killfuddy was taken to the Maker, it's my opinion Mr. M'Dowre would have gotten the parish.

[Of unknown orig. The Sc. forms appear mainly to be palatalised variants of obs. or dial. Eng. forms puther, poother, (to) pother. There may be some connection with potter, Powt, esp. in sense 1. Cf. also Du. peuteren, to poke about.]

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"Peuther v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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