Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SLERP, v., n., adj. Also slirp (Watson); slairp (Jam.). [slɛrp]

I. v. 1. intr. To salivate or slobber, to splutter messily, to spit (Ork., Fif., Rxb. 1970); “to make a disagreeable sucking sound when sipping spoon-food” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); to kiss in a drooling sentimental way. Ork. 1929 Marw.:
He was sittan there slerpan an' spittan a' ower the floor.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 122:
He began slerpan and kissan on peur Sarah.

2. tr. (1) To slabber or smear with a wet or messy substance, to daub on carelessly or sloppily; ppl.adj. slirpin, messy, untidy, slatternly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., slirp). Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Slerp his face wi' a weet towel.
To slerp on a coat of paint, to lay on (with careless speed).

(2) To consume noisily or messily, to lick up in a slobbering way (wm.Sc. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., slirp; Edb., Kcb., Dmf. 1970).

II. n. 1. A blob or smear of some wet, messy substance, a dollop, gob (Ork. 1970); ‡“a spoonful of liquid taken hastily” with a slobbering sound (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Wgt., Rxb. 1970). Ork. 1929 Marw.:
A great slerp o' spitting.

2. A wet smacking blow, a resounding slap (Ork. 1970). Ork. 1929 Marw.:
He got a slerp on his face wi' the weet cloot. Gie her [horse] a slerp.

3. A slovenly woman, a slattern, slut (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Per., Fif. 1970). Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 21:
Wha wad hae thocht ye was sic a handless slerp?

III. adj. Slovenly, messy, untidy (Sc. 1825 Jam., s.v. slairt); also in extended form slerpy, id. (Ork., Fif. 1970).

[Imit. variant of Slorp, q.v. Cf. Slair, Slairg, Slairk, etc.]

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

"Slerp v., n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: