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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).

SPLATTER, v., adv., n. Also ¶splether. [′splɑtər]

I. v. 1. tr. (1) (i) To scatter, splash, sprinkle something about, to spatter. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial.Edb. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xiv.:
I would have splattered his harns on the causey.

(ii) fig. to blurt out in speech, to babble, to spout, talk at large (wm.Sc. 1971). Also with out.Ayr. 1785 Burns To W. Simpson xxxi.:
But tho' dull prose-folk Latin splatter In logic tulzie.
Bwk. 1809 T. Donaldson Poems 34:
A verse frae me shall na be wantin, Gif I a rhyme can splatter.
Sc. 1831 Blackwood's Mag. (Apr.) 708:
Baser Helot still who ate up that loathsome lie, and splattered it out again!
Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 137:
Smoke and drink, and splore and splether Aboot my wark.

(2) To bespatter, bedaub, splash (someone or something) with liquid, mud, etc. (Ayr. 1923 Wilson D. Burns 186; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. splattered, bespattered, bedaubed. Also fig.Rnf. 1805 A. Wilson Poems (1876) II. 145:
All day through this deep swamp, in splattered plight, Begulfed in mire we laboured on till night.
Per. 1889 T. Edwards Lyrics 134:
Let him first his great name splatter That's free o' blame.
Gall. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar i.:
To be splattered at this time of night with the dirty suds of every greasy frow in all Amersfort.
Edb. 1936 F. Niven Old Soldier xx.:
That whitening-splattered table.

2. intr. To splash noisily in water; to flounder through mud or across marshy ground (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also in Eng. dial.; to walk or run with a clatter or rattling noise (Sh., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Ags., Per., Wgt., Rxb. 1971); to hammer noisily, to bang (Cai. 1971).Ayr. 1818 J. Kennedy Poems 82:
For her sex's sake wad splatter.
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 239:
How engagingly delicate the virgin splattering along, whip in mouth, draggle-tailed.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 177:
The horse began to splatter, fin the train wiz gain' past.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 262:
Ne'er thro' jaupy dubs thou splatters.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xii.:
Splattering like wounded water-fowl.
Abd. 1971 Huntly Express (16 July) 2:
In the event of a minor shoal coming into the net it was not uncommon for an excitable fellow to lose his head and “splatter” a little.

II. adv. With a splashing or rattling noise (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 177).

III. n. 1. Noisy splashing or spluttering about in water, mud, etc.; a clattering sound, as of a horse's hooves; a rattle. Also in Eng. and U.S. dial.; fig. a hubbub stir, dispute, commotion (n.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Gall. 1971); in pl., uproarious mirth. Comb. splatter-dash, an uproar, splutter (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 56:
Chariots and horse-hoofs round did scatter Scamander's sand wi' spairge and splatter.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 98:
Foxy frae 'mang the whins steals peulin, Syne sic a hooin', sic a yeulin, O sic a splatter did begin.
Bnff. a.1829 J. Sellar Poems (1844) 42:
The fouk were a' gaun mad wi' fun An' randy splatters.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 79:
I made, I'm sure, an unco splatter, As I plung'd amon' the cursed sea-water.
Abd. 1853 W. Cadenhead Flights 169:
The tauntin' words and envious splatter.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 177:
A hear the splatter o' the horse feet.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xiii.:
Then came a splatter of musketry.
Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 128:
Lo! sic a splatter syne ye saw Tae get a' rigget an' awa'.
Abd. 1962 Huntly Express (4 May) 2:
The meerie maybe gie'd a bit fung o' a kick noo an' than an' took a bit splatter.

2. (1) A splash of liquid, mud, etc. (Sh., Cai. 1971).Nai. 1828 W. Gordon Poems 214:
Some gaun hame they got a splatter.

(2) A loose, disjointed jumble of words.Ayr. 1817 D. McKillop Poems 36:
This splatter, that I hae penn'd.

(3) A thin sprinkling (Sh., Ags. 1971).Sc. 1938 M. Innes Lament for a Maker 21:
A splatter of oats and turnips amid the larch woods.

[Conflation of spatter and splash. For splether cf. Eng. dial. splather.]

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"Splatter v., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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