Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WALTER, v. Also waalter (Sh.), walther (Uls.). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. See also Welter.

1. intr. To roll to and fro, to wallow, to toss or flounder about, to lie sprawling on the ground (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh. 1973). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. walthered, stuck in the mire (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., of fallen branches). Sc. 1714 E. Erskine God's Little Remnant (1725) 25:
Ye that wallow in Sin now, shall be found waltring in the Flames of Tophet.
Sc. 1719 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 233:
Thomas look'd not as he lay All walt'ring in his blude.
Sc. a.1732 T. Boston Crook in the Lot (1773) 92:
Man threw himself into the mire at first, and now he is justly left waltering in it.
Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 323:
Through the night he row'd an' walter'd.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms cv. 30:
Puddocks in spates, their lan' it . . . spew'd them out walterin.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
‘The potatoes lie down and walter on the ground' — i.e. they remain lying.

2. To walk unsteadily, to totter, stagger, stumble, reel, waddle (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), s.v. velter, 1914 Angus Gl.); to walk as if lost (Sh. 1973). Also in Eng. dial. Sh. 1900 Shetland News (15 Dec.):
Doo's wantin' wiz, tings o' lasses, ta waalter an' stum'le hame wirsels.

3. To swing to and fro. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c. Bnff. 1862 R. Sim Leg. Strathisla 85:
To walter on the gallows-tree o' Stra'bogie, och hone! och hone!

4. Of the sea: to surge. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c. Liter. Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 84:
The wark was dune ere mornin' broke Upon the walterin' Forth.

[O.Sc. walter, to roll or toss about, a.1475, Mid.Eng. waltre, id., freq. form of Walt, v. For Sh. form cf. also Velter.]

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"Walter v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jan 2022 <>



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