Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
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.

SOUTER, n., v. Also soutar, soutor, soutter (Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 105), sootar, sooter, suto(u)r, sut(t)er, sowter (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 216). [′sutər]

I. n. 1. A shoemaker, a cobbler (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 201, 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 263; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm. and s.Sc. 1971); specif., one who makes brogues or shoes of horse-leather (Ags. 1808 Jam.). Also attrib. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.Per. 1711 Morison Decisions 11821:
To debar all country sutors from bringing in any shoes from the country.
Slk. 1722 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 365:
He [James V] likeways granted to the burgh liberty to make Incorporations and particularly one of the Sutours and appoints the deacon of the sutors . . . to provide each new admitted burges with a maid.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 53, 54:
A pair of suters auld shoon. . . . There came in a whin sutor-like fallows.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 41–2:
And at his elbow, Souter Johnie, His ancient, trusty, drouthy cronie.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary ii.:
The worthy landlord knew the measure of a guest's foot as well as e'er a souter on this side Solway.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 129:
The sutor-folk at length Wi' flings fortravail'd and forfairn'.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer ii. ii.:
Lat the puir soutar-craturs hae't.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xviii.:
A soutar in the employ of James More.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders vii.:
Gleg wi' the knife as a souter wi' his elshin.
Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 26:
When bairns grow mensefu' a' at aince, and souters a' are sober.
Abd. 1930 Nan Shepherd The Weatherhouse (1988) 7:
And when Mrs Hunter told Jonathan Bannochie the souter ... that Miss Theresa was at the Wastride roup, 'and up and awa wi' her oxter full o' stuff,' she was said to have added, 'They would need a displenish themsels in yon hoose, let alane bringin' mair in by.'
Per. 1950 Scots Mag. (March) 431:
Its sutors, heavily laden with their home-made footwear, crossed the Ochils once a week on their way to Blackford.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 91:
Mass-production in the factories was bound to undercut the local tradesmen. The gay and garrulous company of village tailors and soutars dwindled away before the competition of Leeds and Leicester.
Ags. 1959 G. Michie Glen Anthol. 13:
My auld bauchlit shoon they are orra and dune, The sutors declare, and they'll mend them nae mair.
ne.Sc. 1987 Buff Hardie and Stephen Robertson Scotland the What? 20:
Then there's Alec Lawrence, the souter.
ne.Sc. 1996 W. Gordon McPherson Antrin Thochts on Aulden Days 21:
... he disputed a ball with "Beelie" Fraser who was a soutar with Alexander and came off worst-Beelie was no push-over.
Sc. 1996 Fiona Petersen ed. Bairn Sangs 54:
That at auld St Andrews fair,
A' the souters maun be there-
A' the souters, and the souters' seed,
And a' them that birse the thread

Combs.: (1) sutor-craft, the shoemaking trade, master-shoemakers; (2) souter's brandy, buttermilk (Abd. 1808 Jam.); †(3) souter('s) clod, a roll or small loaf of coarse bread (Fif. 1825 Jam.); (4) souter(s)-end(s), the waxed thread used by cobblers, lingel-end, s.v. Lingel, n.1, 2. (3) (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. XIII. 39; Bnff., Abd., Per. 1971). See En, n., 3.; transf., silverweed, Potentilla anserina (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.); (5) souter's grace, see quot.; (6) souter's houlet, a term of abuse; (7) sutter's lingles, = (4) (Abd., Per. 1971); (8) souter's packin, jocularly for food, “stuffing.”(1) Sc. 1711 Fountainhall Decisions II. 626:
The deacon and incorporation of the sutor-craft in Perth.
(2) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 245:
Could he get clods and souter's brandy, Enough o' that wad please poor Andy.
(3) Edb. 1773 Weekly Mag. (9 Dec.) 335:
A soutor's clod, for dinner.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (July) 403:
Souter's clods are now almost unknown among the bakers.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xx.:
Ye couldna exhibit a souter's clod?
Abd. 1840 W. Bannerman Worthies 82:
The selling of sixpenny bricks, puffy buns, sweetiewigs, and souters' clods.
(4) Sc. 1832 D. Vedder Sketches 110:
A kind of twine, called by the vulgar “Sutor's ends.”
(5) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 20:
The following is called the “Souter's Grace”: “What are we before thee, O King Crispin? Naething bit a parcel o' easy ozy sooter bodies, nae worth one old shoe to mend another. Yet thou hast given us leather to yark, and leather to bark, oot-seam awls, and in-seam awls, pincers and petrie-balls, lumps o' creesch and balls o' rosit, and batter in a cappie. Amen.”
(6) e.Lth. c.1700 A. I. Ritchie Churches St Baldred (1880) 127:
Whether said schoolmaster had called an elder a cur carle, or souters houlet.
(7) Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 231:
The candle wicks came ay into their cutties like sutter's lingles in the dish.
(8) Fif. 1873 J. Wood Ceres Races 10:
Rob Salmond on a waggon-head Is roupin' stacks o' gingerbread, “Souters-packin' for hungry stomachs.”

2. Transf. A native of Selkirk, which was once noted for its manufacture of light shoes (Lnk., s.Sc. 1971); also a native of Forfar for a sim. reason (Ags. 1971).Slk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 436:
Up with the souters of Selkirk, and down with the Earl of Hume.
Sc. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. II. 240:
The manufacture of brogues has engaged the principal part of the inhabitants; insomuch that the term, “the Sutors of Forfar,” is held, in common parlance, just as expressive of the whole population, as that of “the Sutors of Selkirk,” in the famous capital of the Forest.
Ags. 1875 J. C. Guthrie Strathmore 481:
The Kirriemuirians were noted for the fervour with which they pursued their inglorious feuds with the Souters of Forfar.
Slk. 1900 Border Mag. 183:
A true-born “Teri” or “Souter.”
Slk. 1951 Scots Mag. (June) 167:
The fire which Selkirk kindles in those who become Souters by adoption.

3. An opening in the game of draughts (Sc. 1851 J. Drummond Sc. Draught Game xii.; Ags. 1971).Sc. 1905 A. Anderson Draughts xvii.:
The “Souter” is formed by the first five moves: . . . 11–15, 23 19, 9–14, 22 17, 6–9. The game has been known by this name amongst players in Scotland for many years, and was so named owing to its being the favourite of an old Paisley shoemaker.

4. An iron shoe-horn (Mry. 1911 Banffshire Field Club 109).

5. As a place name in pl.: the two hills enclosing the entrance to the Cromarty Firth on the north and south (Rs. 1971), and resembling cobblers bent over their work. Cf. The Cobbler in Argyll.Sc. 1820 R. A. Smith Sc. Minstrel III. 101:
Where Souters guard fair Cromartie.
Crm. 1854 H. Miller Schools 68:
The Cromarty Sutors have their two lines of caves.
Abd. 1905 J. Fullerton Poems 43:
In dreams I see the Sutors twain, That look oot on the [Cromarty] Firth.

6. Of fishes: (1) the dragonet, Callionymus lyra (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Ayr. 1930); (2) the father-lasher, Cottus scorpius (Mry. 1852 Zoologist X. 3458; e.Sc. 1887 Sc. Naturalist 6); (3) the sea-scorpion, Cottus bubalis (Mry. 1852 Zoologist X. 3458).

7. That player in a game, esp. curling, who makes a score of nil; a total defeat, where one player makes a score of nil (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 39). Cf. II. 3.Sc. 1884 J. Taylor Curling 39:
They were made “souters” in two of their rinks, and one shot only prevented the third from sharing the same fate.

II. v. 1. To cobble, make or mend shoes (ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr. 1971). Also pass.Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 312:
The sutorin didna suit him.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 246:
Old Hairy sat like a monkey and blew on how well he could sutor.
Sc. 1938 M. Innes Lament for a Maker 18:
He'd sent a pair boots to sutor.

2. To botch, to spoil utterly (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175), to fail at (something). Deriv. soutrie, a miscooked liquid dish (Lnk. 1825 Jam.).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 175:
He began t' be a vright, bit he seen sootert it.

3. To get the better of, worst, trounce; specif., in games: to defeat one's opponent so that he makes no score, to slam, granny (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 307; Dmf. 1971).Sc. 1791 Hailes Glossary 31:
“To be soutared,” means, among our vulgar, “to be worsted or foiled at any pastime.”
Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 132:
Lang Mack gat his neives on't, an' soutor'd him weel.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 432:
We say a card-player is souter'd when he loses all.
Dmf. 1830 R. Brown Mem. Curl. Mab. 59:
Soutering, or we soutered them, a well-known phrase equivalent to one party defeating another so hollow as not to allow of their numbering a single shot.
Lnk. 1843 in J. B. Greenshields Lesmahagow (1864) App. 47:
When a curler does not succeed in getting more than half the game of thirty-one shots, he is said to be “sutored”.
Per. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. Curling 280:
In 1855 the rink of Donald Fisher, Dunkeld, although they were only able to score 1 shot, soutered their opponents.

[O.Sc. suter, a.1325, O.E. sūtere, Lat. sutor, = I. 1.]

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

"Souter n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: