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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SNIPE, n.1, v.1 Also snipp-. Sc. usages of Eng. snipe, the bird.

I. n. 1. Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) mire-snipe, myre-, see Mire, n.1; (2) snipefeedle lit. ‘snipe-field', used in quot. to indicate some vague unspecified place, anywhere you like. Cf. Feedle and Merry, 1. (9); (3) snipe mackerel, the gar-fish, Belone belone (Ayr. 1930 Fishery Board Gl.). Cf. Eng. snipe-eel, id.; (4) snipie, (i) as in Eng. Comb. snipie-nebbit, having a long pointed nose like a snipe's bill (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); (ii) also snippie, snippy, a kettle or tea-pot, so called from its long spout (Bnff. 1921 T.S.D.C.).(2) Abd.1 1929:
Dinna swither whether tae ging tae merryheedless or snipefeedle, mak up yer min' an' gang stracht for't.
(4) (i) Abd. 1893 G. MacDonald Songs 26:
A waesome carl was he, Snipie-nebbit, and crookit-mou'd.
(ii) Ags. 1875 J. Watson Samples 77:
His Maidy is famous for cookin' beefsteak, And very expert at the branksin' o' snippie.
Ags. 1891 Brechin Advertiser (5 May) 3:
An' listen to the hum O' snipie hangin' on the fire.
m.Sc. 1998 Mavis Beckett in Neil R. MacCallum Lallans 51 38:
Back hame she herkened tae the sound o the snipie bielin an thare wes an awfu stink o carbolic soap.

2. A person with thin, hard features and a prominent nose (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.); as a term of general opprobrium, a contemptible, insignificant person (Cai., Dmb., sm.Sc. 1971). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. But cf. also Eng. dial. snip, id.em.Sc. 1881 A. Wardrop J. Mathison's Courtship 98:
Oor wee Nellie cryin' dinna; But yet he'll do't, the ancient snipe.
Fif. 1884 G. Bruce Reminisc. 359:
Look at the scabbed-headed snipe rinnin' as if the deevil was efter 'm.
Gall. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xii.:
A little snipe of a raggetty loon.
Dmb. 1899 J. Strang Lass of Lennox xxi.:
Hang ye, ye drivellin' wee snipe.

II. v. As in Eng., to shoot or fire (at), take a pot shot. Sc. derivs.: (1) sniper, a driving stroke in golf; ‡(2) snipie, see quot. (Slg., Fif. 1971).(1) Fif. 1862 St Andrews Gaz. (5 Dec.):
Park led off with a sniper to the left.
(2) Fif. c.1900:
Snipie: a marble game. A half-circle is drawn on the ground, with the straight side against a wall. Each player puts in a marble, touching the wall. They then stand about 6 feet back, and take turns to throw marbles at the sitting ones: if a marble is knocked out of the mark, the player gets it to keep, and if he can catch his own missile on the rebound he gets another shot.

[The short vowel form snipp- corresponds to an Eng. 14th–17th- c. form snyppe, snippe, Mid.Du., M.L.Ger. snippe, id.]

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"Snipe n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 May 2024 <>



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