Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SCUDDLE, v.1, adv., n. [skʌdl]

I. v. 1. To wash dishes, pots, etc., to do the rough work in a kitchen or scullery (Cld. 1825 Jam.). Hence comb. scuddlin-boy, a kitchen-boy, a scullion. For Scudler see sep. art. Sc. 1825 Jam.:
But up then spake the scuddlin-boy.

2. To work in a slatternly way, to mess about at domestic work (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 151; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; ne.Sc., Per. 1969); to do odd jobs here and there (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Deriv. and combs. scuddler, an unyoked horse following behind a cart, etc., an animal that tends to lag behind, or to be last in coming to food (Abd. 1969), scuddlin claes, one's second-best clothes, (Ork., Cai., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1969), also in form scuddlers; scuddlin tow, the rope by which a horse is led behind a cart (Abd. 1964). Ags. 1907 Arbroath Guide (5 Oct.) 3:
I've keepit on my scuddlin claes.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 170:
The yellow boots that he wore for scuddling.

3. To sully, soil or make (one's clothes) shabby or shapeless by rough usage (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Abd., Ags. 1969). This may however be a mistake or altered form for Suddle. Abd. 1966 Huntly Express (16 Sept.) 2:
Did ye notice their aul', scuddlet baggie?

4. To walk in a slovenly manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 151).

II. adv. In an ungainly or slovenly way. Bnff. Ib.:
He gaed scuddle through the closs.

III. n. 1. The washing of dishes, etc., work at a kitchen sink (Cld. 1880 Jam.); a quick or hasty wash (Fif. 1952); working or walking in a slovenly manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 151). Adj. †scudlay, used when washing or doing rough wet work. This form is doubtful and may be a misreading for scudling. Rxb. 1751 Jedburgh Session Rec. MS. (17 June):
She owned that she had on her scudlay brat.

2. A worn, shabby or stained piece of dress (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 150).

[A back-formation from Scuddler. O.Sc. scudle, to wash dishes, 1581.]

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"Scuddle v.1, adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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