Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TIP, n.1, v.1. Sc. usages of Eng. tip, an extremity, apex, summit:

I. n. 1. Applied to people or things to indicate their excellence, the height or best of anything, the outstanding figure or specimen in a group or bunch, as the tip o' the family, — o' the market (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.); an over-dressed person, a dandy (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1972). Hence tipper, a beau or belle, a grandly-dressed person, a “smasher” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 194; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.); tippy, tipie, n., the haut ton, the very height of fashion (Rnf. 1825 Jam., the tap o' the tippy); adj., modish, fashionable, stylish (Ib.; Cai., Bnff., em., wm., s.Sc. 1972); tip-top, first-class, superlatively good. Also adv. Slg. 1818 W. Muir Poems 95:
I couldna weel tell If the fashion was auld or the tip o' the new.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 135:
For yer rare, “tippy” suit o' graith.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 194:
She wiz the tip o' the ball.
Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie & Madge 118:
“Hoo d'ye think I'll pass?” “Tippy! Ye become that bannet an' shawl to admiration.”
Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems 208:
There's an excuse for the young keeping themsel's a bit tipie.
Ags. 1909 P. Carragher Arbroath 2:
“Tippy” — a word of inexpressible meaning to Red Lichties.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde 1st Bk. McFlannels xii.:
She was real tippy in that black frock.

2. One who comes up to another's excellence, an equal, a match (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 194).

II. v. 1. As in Eng., to put a tip or end-piece on anything, furnish with a tip: (1) specif. to attach the horsehair cords for the hooks of a fishing-line, now gen. in vbl.n. tippin, -en, the act of doing this (Kcd. 1972); the horsehair (or now more freq. nylon) cord attached at one end to the Snuid of a fishing-line and furnished with a hook at the other (n.Sc., Ags., Fif. 1972). Also attrib. as in tippin knot; tippin steen, a stone used as a tension weight in twisting horsehair for tippins (Kcd. 1920). See also Tippet. Abd. 1872 A. Allardyce Footdee 6:
She tipt and baited the lines.
Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 4:
Tippens made tae busk a line.
Mry. 1914 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 24:
To fasten on the hook first the hoordon fastened a strud of twisted twine to the baak, the sneed of twine was attached by a scare knot, the tippin of hair followed held by a tippin knot, and lastly came the hewk.
m.Sc. 1961 Scottish Studies XIII. 6:
The horse hair tipping is a continuation of the snood and is attached to the hook by a whipping.

(2) ppl.adj. tippit, ¶tiped, choked to over-flowing, topped up with waste (Bnff., Abd. 1972). Bnff. 1950:
Ma sink's tippit.

(3) in the manufacture of tobacco pipes, see quot. wm.Sc. 1842 Children in Trades Report (2) I 56:
Preparing clay for the moulds in which the pipes [tobacco] are formed, and also in “tipping” them, i.e. dipping their ends into a sort of glaze, by which they are prevented from adhering to the lips when placed in the mouth.

2. To remove the point of, cut off the tip of. Phr. to tip the gowan, to surpass, to excel all others, beat the bunch (Per. 1972). Cf. to cow the gowan, id., s.v. Cow, v.1, III. 7. Lth. 1888 Justiciary Reports (1891) 46:
What is known as ‘tipping', namely, cutting off the tip of the horn just above the quick.
m.Lth. 1922 “Restalrig” Sheep's Heid 25:
For the quintessence of eccentricity, the retired smith easily tipped the gowan.

3. To excel, surpass, overcome (Lnk. 1880 Jam.); to match, to equal (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 194); to disappoint, disconcert (Sc. 1845 T. Brown Dict. 139). Cf. I., but poss. these meanings do not all belong here. Cf. also Eng. tip, to knock down, overthrow, capsize.

4. With up: to dress up, to smarten oneself, deck oneself out, titivate (ne.Sc., Ags. 1972). Abd. 1879 11 Years at Farm Wk. 11:
She's terrible tippet up.
Abd. 1953 Huntly Express (17 April):
The gettin' o' yer phota taen was in my early days an ordeal which required a lot o' tippin' up.
Abd. 1963 Huntly Express (22 Nov.) 2:
Is that the wye that ye're sae tippit up the nicht, Bell? That braw new overall's nae on for naething.

5. To walk or dance on tiptoe, to trip with a light delicate step (Sh., ne., em.Sc.(a), Ayr. 1972). Also fig. and tr. of performing a dance, playing a tune. Also in Eng. dial. and U.S. Dim. redupl. form tippy-tippy, id. Sc. 1819 Blackwood's Mag. (July) 401:
The shortened notes more tripsomely tipped over than in the modern airs.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. iii.:
There's Pernickitie's genty footie tippy-tippying down the back stair frae the blue chalmer.
Kcd. 1856 W. Jamie Jacobite's Son 140:
That's the way to tip the Highland fling.
Sc. 1881 L. B. Watford Dick Netherby v.:
The sicht o' her tippin' up to her chair.

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"Tip n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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