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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TEUCHTER, n. 1. Also cheuchter, chuchter, choochter, a term of disparagement or contempt used in Central Scotland for a Highlander, esp. one speaking Gaelic, or anyone from the North.  (Cai., e. and wm.Sc. 1972; Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s). Also attrib. [′tjuxtər]Edb. 1940 R. Garioch 17 Poems for 6d. 13:
Thir a glaikit pair o Teuchters, an as Heilant as a peat.
Edb. 1956 Weekly Scotsman (3 Oct.) 8:
He is also Highland (a real teuchter of a bird).
Sc. 1957 Scotsman (11 Nov.):
It was made by Rory, the teuchter kitten.
Gsw. 1962 Scotsman (26 Jan.) 11:
There is ample evidence that she referred to him as a ‘teuchter,' a word which I understand to mean a country bumpkin.
Gsw. 1970 George MacDonald Fraser The General Danced at Dawn (1988) 33:
McClusky, after an anxious glance at me, took it up and they sang "The Muckin' o Geordie's Byre" - for Leishman was an Aberdonian, and skilled in that strange tongue. "That's a right teuchter song," said Fletcher.
wm.Sc. 1979 Robin Jenkins Fergus Lamont 34:
'Well, Teuchter, what do you find funny?' asked Limpy. Behind me the slaves giggled sycophantically, though many of them had names as Highland as mine. He had used the most contemptuous name a Lowlander can call a Highlander: it implies, among other things, heathery ears and sheep-like wits.
m.Sc. 1983 Frederic Lindsay Brond 7:
'The teuchter Tolstoy,' I said. The adjective coming from my own mouth surprised me. It was a word my father used to describe a Highlander. He was not a man of informed sympathies. Everything that was ever any good in Scotland, he would say, came out of the Lowlands.
Sc. 1984 John Kirkhope in Alexander Scott and James Aitchison New Writing Scotland 2 72:
'Tell me, who's giving this shindig?' 'Edgars, of course,' she said, surprised. 'You know, the animal foodstuffs people.' ...I hurried back to the cheuchter gathering.
Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 69:
teuchter A Lowlander's term for a Highlander, not exactly insulting but not to be used to a Highlander's face: 'The wee sister's gaun oot wi a teuchter.' 'Ah wis in wan a they teuchter pubs in Argyle Street the other night.'
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 70:
There wis three auld men aince, three doitit auld fules that had aiblins mair sense nor ye'd think, an aiblins nane ava, three bodachs as a teuchter micht cry them, that set doun their dowps on a bink that owreluikit the Frith o Forth.
Edb. 1990 James Allan Ford in Joy Hendry Chapman 59 43:
The trouble was that to be what Tommy called a right Portie you had to wear torn trousers and run barefoot in the streets, and my mother wouldn't let me dress in the Portie way; and you had to know a lot more than I knew about hurting games and stealing and girls and paving stones and so on; and, especially, you had to speak like Tommy, not like a teuchter. Teuchter, my mother and Uncle Dod told me, meant that I came from the north and was nothing to be ashamed of.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 157:
She's a bonny face, the way the wind pulls her hair back fae her cheeks. Is she looking for a man? Brave northern chuchters, fed on brose and kail and tatties and herring.
m.Sc. 1993 Jane Harris in Joy Hendry Chapman 74-5 158:
Then, much to her embarrassment, he began singing teuchter songs, "to get them all in the mood."
Sc. 1994 Daily Record 20 Dec 41:
"Local humour came to the fore at this time," says Tod, who's drawn for the Record for 20 years. "Bud Neill was very Glasgow and Angus Og was a teuchter to whom townies could relate."
Abd. 1996 Norman Harper and Robbie Shepherd Anither Dash O' Doric 90:
He was surprised to find only three people at the bar counter; a couple of Gaelic teuchters and a gentleman the waur o the weer who spoke with a real North-east tongue.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 159:
What a fucking townie tight arse he was, ah used to get lifts in fro the Tulloch Ferry bobby all the time, here look, something from home; bet they'd call us a taxi from there, it'll be all decent choochters an maybe get a drink as well, ahm fucking parched for an apple Hooch or something.
Sc. 1999 Herald 11 Oct 14:
There were the kids eventually huddled on the track drowned in the volume of sound beating down on them from the solid masses. There was the big teuchter policeman with a glare like a cattle-prod defying anybody to move an inch without his saying so.

2. A country person; an uncouth, countrified person (Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Rxb. 2000s). Jocularly also applied to animals.Edb. 1994:
A teuchter to me is any country bumpkin.
em.Sc. 1997 Ian Rankin Black & Blue (1999) 164:
Even though it was a modern city, he still joked about it the way a lot of Lowlanders did: it was full of teuchters, fish-gutters with funny accents.

3. Deriv. teuchterish, Like a Highlander; of or like the Highland way of life.Gsw. 1992 Jeff Torrington Swing Hammer Swing! (1993) 147:
Milly continued to carry all before her, while Stirrat stuck up the stout with his usual gruff charm. Auld Fergie, who had the Gaelic and a paunch that piled on the counter, hummed a Teuchterish dirge from the corner of his mouth.
Sc. 1997 Scotsman 27 Jan 11:
He has this teucher-ish liking for throwing spanners in the works, just for the fun of it, just to see if we are all listening.

[The orig. of this now common word is much in dispute and no satisfactory etymology has been found. It seems to have come into oral currency about 1910 and to have been vaguely associated with Gaelic (the form resembling Gael. occupational nouns in -(a)dair, as breadadair, weaver, fucadair, fuller, grùdair, brewer, saighdear, soldier, etc.) and some compare Gael. tuath, northern, country folk, or deoch, a dram (see Teuch, n.2, v.2). Others point to Sc. Teuch, adj., 3., or even Teuchit, as a conspicuously rural creature. But convincing evidence for any of these has not been adduced.]

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"Teuchter n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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