Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

from 1976 supplement

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CANTRIP, n. Etym. note. Add: Despite phonological difficulties it is just poss. that the word is a corruption of Gael. canntaireachd, the system of musical notation consisting of a series of otherwise meaningless syllables memorised by pipers in learning their tunes. Hence applied to a kind of magic abracadabra.

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"Cantrip n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2019 <>



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