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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

TRUNCHER, n. Also trunscheor; trunshar (Ork. 1726 P. Ork. A.S. VI. 30), trönshir (Sh. 1931 Shetland Times (14 March) 17); trincher; and reduced form trunch-. Sc. forms of arch. Eng. trencher, a large flat plate, dish or platter, in ne.Sc. specif. applied to a flat wooden or wicker dish for holding oatcakes at table (Bwk. 1716 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club (1914) 299; Abd. 1742 Powis Papers (S.C.) 277; Sh., ‡ne.Sc., Lnk. 1973).Ags. 1712 A. Jervise Land of Lindsays (1882) 427:
Broth trunchers, plain trunchers, two beam trunchers.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 211:
Luggie, quegh, or truncher treein.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 99:
Gowden trunscheors like the moon.
Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 16:
Rin, Jinse, an' fess a truncher here, An' set the kebbock doon.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (14 Oct.):
Da truncher wi' da kirnin' o' butter.
Abd. 1905 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 245:
A “breid truncher” turned out of plane-tree wood.
Sh. 1950 New Shetlander No. 20. 12:
A muckle ‘Willow-pattern' truncher.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
On a wooden ‘trincher' in the middle of the table were ‘corters' or quarters of girdle-baked oatmeal cakes.

Combs.: 1. truncher butter, table butter, used for spreadinng on bread; 2. trunch-gilt, a group of guests at a table who share the same dish (see quot.), Cf. cog-gilt s.v. Cog, n.1, 3. (4).1. Abd. 1713 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VII. 212:
For two pounds hunnie to make truncher butter.
2. Ork. 1905 W. T. Dennison Ork. Wedding 31:
For eating purposes the “cog-gilt” was again divided into three, containing eight persons, four on each side of the table, and this division was called a “trunch-gilt,” from truncher, a plate. As all the members of one “cog-gilt” drank out of one vessel, so all in the “trunch-gilt” eat out of one plate.

[O.Sc. trincheour, a.1500, trunschour, 1501.]

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"Truncher n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 May 2022 <>



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