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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.

THUNNER, n., v. Also thuner; tunner, tunnir, tundir (Sh.). See T, letter, 9. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. thunder. Hence thunnerie, -y, thundery. [′θʌnər; ′θʌndər; Sh. ′tʌn(d)ər. See D, letter, 2.]

I. n. As in Eng. Sc. forms: Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Bit fyles yer birss begins to rise
An rummlins fae yer thrapple birl
Wi fearsome gurr an feerious dirl
Like thunner rivin simmer skies.
Uls. 2003 Belfast News Letter (2 Aug) 21:
Ye get a guid notion o hoo aften oor fowk think oan tha weather quhan hit cums intil collogues aboot ither things. A fitless bhoy oan a daunce fluir ur a fitba fiel micht bae toul tha es awor nor a deuck in thunner.
Abd. 2003 Press and Journal (3 Nov) 12:
... the backgrun o the hills o Royal Deeside ableeze wi the northern lichts wi the odd flash o lichtnin an knell o thunner.

Deriv.: thunnersome, Thundering.m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 79:
Tig had scarce gien the signal whaun Eck lat oot wi two thunnersome croaks ...

Sc. combs. and phr.: (1) like a thunner, in a noisy explosive manner; (2) thunner-an-lichtenin, lung-wort, Pulmonaria officinalis (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 193; Bnff., Abd., Slg., Fif. 1972); also applied to various similar plants having succulent white spotted leaves (Abd. 1966); the red campion, Lychnis diurna (Ayr. 1972); (3) thunderbell, a blue wild-flower, ? the harebell. Bells were thought to ward off thunder; (4) thunderbolt, an object popularly supposed to have fallen from the sky in a thunderstorm, applied to fossils, flint axes, etc., the origin of which was not understood. Also in colloq. or dial. Eng.; (5) thunnercup, the common red field poppy, Papaver rheas (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (6) thunner flour, id. (Abd. 1957). Also in Eng. dial.; (7) thunder leem, a flash of lightning. Liter. See Leam, n.; (8) thunder-plump, a sudden heavy thunder-shower (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 449; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. See Plump, n.2, 2.; (9) thunder-shock, a thunder-bolt; (10) thunner spale, -speal, -spell, a thin flat piece of wood, usu. notched at the side and bored at one end for a string by which it is whirled swiftly round so as to produce a rumbling roaring noise like thunder, a bull-roarer (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 449; Sh., Abd. 1937); (11) thunner spate, -speet, = (8) (Sh. 1972); (12) thunner wa', a bank of thunder-clouds. Liter.(1) Ayr. 1927 J. Carruthers A Man Beset i. ii.:
He set me aff like a thunner.
(3) Bwk. c.1870 D. Cairns Autobiog. (1950) 57:
Purple vetches, blue thunderbells and red poppies, lady's bedstraw and lovely brier-roses.
(4) Sc. 1814 Scott Diary (8 Aug.):
The most superb collection of the stone axes . . . called celts. The Zetlanders call them thunderbolts, and keep them in their houses as a receipt against thunder.
Crm. 1841 H. Miller Old Red Sandstone 11:
The country people called them thunderbolts. I learned in time to call this stone a belemite.
(7) Sc. 1820 Scots Mag. (May) 423:
In a widden dreme, the thunder-leem Shot ower me blae as lead.
(8) Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals i.:
It came on such a thunder-plump.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. x.:
As obstinate as a moorland burn in a thunder plump.
Sc. 1884 Scottish Reader (5 July) 79:
One day he was caught in a thunder-plump.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xvi.:
As in a thunder-plump, the folk ran back into their closes.
Sc. 1994 Herald (17 Sep) 19:
Thunderplump in Borrowdale, and the foresters and farmers in the pub make room round the open fire for the steaming of wet walkers.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 55:
There was a real thunderplump. The rain was just coming down in sheets so's the water was dripping over my ears and you couldnt use the Walkman.
Uls. 1999 Belfast News Letter (5 Jun) 4:
It was ironic another thunderplump cascaded down on Gribben just as he was about to hit his tee shot at the tenth, ...
Sc. 2002 Sunday Mail (11 Aug) 3:
Drive into town with Mum who looks at the rivers of water running down the pavement and announces "Och, there's been a thunder plump". A what? A thunderplump, she says, is what people from the north-east call a sudden downpour... great expression.
Sc. 2003 Herald (26 Feb) 35:
Lastly, the weather has shaped language in more ways than being the number one topic of conversation. The Scots tongue has myriad words referring to rain: smirr or thunner plump may cheer you up when drenched.
(9) Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 44:
Upon them like a thunner-shock this fell.
(10) Gall. 1822 Scots Mag. (June) 799:
A “thunder spale”, skilfully whirled beneath the school-yard “dike”, suggested the notion of the distant thunder-clap.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 153:
During thunder it was not unusual for boys to take a piece of thin wood a few inches wide and about half-a-foot long, bore a hole in one end of it, and tie a few yards of twine into the hole. The piece of wood was rapidly whirled round the head, under the belief that the thunder would cease, or that the thunderbolt would not strike. It went by the name of “thunner-spell.”
Gsw. 1932 Daily Mail (23 Dec.):
The thunner speal was simply a shaving of wood notched on both sides, with a string fastened to it.
(11) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (5 Aug.):
Fader fir sic a vaandlöb! aless hit been a thunder-speet.
(12) Sc. 1925 H. M'Diarmid Sangschaw 17:
Oot owre the thunner-wa' She haiks her shinin' breists.

Deriv.: thunnersome, thundering.m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 79:
Tig had scarce gien the signal whaun Eck lat oot wi two thunnersome croaks ...

II. v. In ppl.adjs.: (1) thunnered, of liquids, esp. milk: tainted, soured, affected by thundery weather (ne., em.Sc. (a), Dmf., Rxb. 1972); (2) thunnerin, “applied to drought, as a thunnerin drouth, a strong drought, apparently expressing that which is viewed as the effect of fire in the air, or lightning” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.).(1) Mry. 1875 W. Tester Select Poems 9:
Like thunder'd beer, I whyles get flat.
Sc. 1877 J. S. Blackie Wise Men 326:
Some, like thundered milk, have turned the sweet to sour.

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"Thunner n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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