Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations & symbols Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).

SKELTER, v., adv. Also skilter. [′skɛltər]

I. v. 1. To scurry, scamper, rush headlong (Mry., Bnff., m. and s.Sc. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. skeltered, of uncertain meaning, ? headlong, precipitous. Phs. a different word.Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 194:
Ye winds that Pentland's summits sweep, Now howling fierce round skelter'd steep.
Gsw. 1878 W. Penman Echoes 77:
Drest himself, and hameward skeltered.
Per. 1904 E.D.D.:
He skeltered away whenever I threatened to gie him his scults.

2. To flash jaggedly, of lightning (Ork. 1929 Marw.), though this is phs. a different word.

II. adv. At full speed, headlong, precipitately.Lnk. 1886 J. Stewart Twa Elders 9:
A'll roose ma man Wha'll send ye skelter ower the lan'.
Rxb. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws v.:
Whisgills . . . letting the spurs into his gelding plunged full skelter up the burn.

[Appar. from skelter in helter-skelter.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Skelter v., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Aug 2022 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: