Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

TANKER, n. Also tankar (Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 180), tankor (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 401). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. tankard (Sc. 1700 Edb. Gazette (5 Sept.); Abd. 1719 Cushnie MSS.; Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage xxxiv.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; em., s.Sc. 1972). Hence tankerfu, a tankardful (Wettstein). [′tɑŋkər]

1. As in Eng. Combs. (1) tankard-backet, appar. having a back shaped like a tankard, round-shouldered and hollow-backed, but the word may orig. be a confused form of tangle-backit (see Tangle, adj., Derivs.) (em., wm., s.Sc. 1972); (2) tanker-mouthed, wide- or gaping-mouthed. (1) Dmf. 1920 J. L. Waugh Heroes 16:
A lang-faced, tankard-backet man.
(2) wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 195:
I hae pitten out thae tanker-mouthed girners [dogs] in the trance, ance and again this day.

2. A tea-kettle. Ayr. 1821 C. Lockhart Poems 117:
And brought your tanker to the boil.

3. An epithet for a fishing-boat, a vessel. Fif. 1879 G. Gourlay Fisher Life 76:
The Anstruther sailors and tradesmen had, in the spirit of their forefathers, fitted out three drave boats, long famous as the red, the white, and the black tankards.

4. A big, lean, ugly person, animal or thing (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 190).

[O.Sc. tanker, = 1., 1646. The form tanker became obs. in Eng. in 17th c.]

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

"Tanker n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: