Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
TUSKER, n. Also tuskar; tushkar, -er; toysker (Sh. 1856 E. Edmondston Sketches 190), toyster (Ork. 1929 Marw.); tuisker, twiscar (Sh. 1822 Scott Pirate xii.); turskill (Cai.). A spade with a feathered or flanged blade capable of making a right-angled cut and used to slice out peats with a vertical thrust from the top of a peat bank (I.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., I.Sc., Cai. 1973), also attrib. See A. Fenton in The Spade (1969) 155 sqq. Comb. tuskerman, a cutter of peats, phr. a tuskar of peats, the number of peats one can cut in a day with a tusker (Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. iv. 129). [′tʌskər, Sh. ′tʌʃ-]
Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. (1923) I. 65:
One Iron Lamp, two sufficient tuskars. Cai. 1812 J. Henderson Agric. Cai. 234:
When the peat-moss is not more than from one to two feet deep, the peat is cut perpendicularly by a spade called a turskill. This instrument is about nine inches long with a heel at right angles to the right side, two inches and a half broad, with a perpendicular socket (being the continuance of the heel) to embrace the wooden handle about four feet and a half long, and in it is fixed a foot-step of wood, a few inches above the termination of the socket of the spade. The peat-cutter, holding the handle with both hands, with one push of the right foot drives the spade into the moss so as to cut out a peat, or turf, 12 inches long and two inches thick. Sh. 1815 Sh. Advertiser (6 Jan. 1862):
Toilin wi' a mure spedd or a tushker in his haand fae d' swaar o' d' dim t' sinsett. Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 430:
An ancient Scandinavian implement of husbandry is used for casting the peats, named a ‘tuskar', its shaft is rather longer than that of a common spade, whilst to the bottom of it is affixed a sharp iron-plate, styled a ‘feather'. Sh. 1874 Trans. Highl. Soc. 203:
In cutting the peat the moss (feal) is pared off, and the peats are cast with the tasker [sic] and laid to dry. Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 180:
A peculiar spade about four feet in length called a Toysker. The spade cuts the peats into their proper size. Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
Sharpnin his tuisker apo' da briggie stanes. Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. iv. 133:
The people did not burn many of what they called “tuskar peats”, — these were the best and were reserved chiefly for sale. Cai. 1963 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. Mag. 7:
Willie took the “tuskar”, cut deep into the peat bog and produced an oblong dark peat. Sh. 1964 Folk Life I. 6:
Where the peat tended to be rough, a foot-peg or heel like that on the Shetland delving spade was added to the tushker, and the peats were delled out. On a good peat moor, no heel was needed, and the tushker was thrust in by the arms alone.
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"Tusker n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/tusker>
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