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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

TATTER, n.1 Also tatther (Uls.). Sc. usages in phr., comb. and deriv.: 1. in a tatter, in ragged or dishevelled clothes; 2. tatter-fudded, with one's trousers in rags. See Fud, n.1; 3. tatterwallop, -wullop, (1) gen. in pl.: rags, tatters, torn flapping clothing (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif. 1972), shreds in gen., a ragged garment. Adj. tatterwallop(p)y, ragged, tattered; (2) a ragged person, tatterdemalion (Ork., ne.Sc. 1972); (3) as a v.: to hang or flutter in rags (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 190); 4. tattery, tatthery (Uls.). adj., (1) ragged, in shreds or tatters, hanging loose; (2) very windy (Rxb. 1954 Hawick News (18 June) 7; Lnk., s.Sc. 1972).1. Ayr. 1817 D. McKillop Poems 107:
Aff rantin', whiles, tho' in a tatter, To see their deary.
2. Sc. 1880 J. Nicol Poems 29:
The dirty tatter-fudded poor stowaway.
3. (1) Edb. 1801 J. Thomson Poems 84:
Upo' their tails there wad be knots, Or in their place a tatter-wallop.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 45:
Some musty books lay 'mang the reek, In tatterwallops torn.
Fif. 1812 W. Ranken Poems 86:
There merit begs on wooden legs, In many a tatterwallop.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxi.:
A' her claes torn to tatter-wallops.
Ags. 1885 Brechin Advert. (17 March) 3:
That auld tatterwallop 'ill never gang aboot my shou'ders.
Kcd. 1900 W. Gairdner Glengoyne II. iii.:
A squad o' them cam' ower here-awa' in fair tatter-wullops to help to mak' the Railway.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xv.:
Some o' their kilts's gey tatterwalloppy aboot 'e tails.
(2) Sc. 1910 Chambers's Jnl. (30 Jan.) 1:
Ye're aye tearin' yer clothes, ye wee tatter-wallops!
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxii.:
Fa's seekin a tatterwallop o' a randy like you . . . staivyin aboot oor toon?
4. (1) Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 165:
Its big branches a' tattery and its wee anes a' frush as saugh-wands.
Sc. 1843 Carlyle Hist. Sk. (1898) 242:
Deluges of tangled tattery hair.
Sc. 1867 Carlyle Reminisc. (1881) II. 21:
Books in tattery, ill-bound or unbound condition.
Ags. 1934 G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 116:
Unto a tattery bunch o' fire To turn the form seem'd.

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"Tatter n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jun 2022 <>



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