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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WAP, v.1, n.1, adv. Also wapp, waup, waap (Sc. 1892 N. Dickson Auld Sc. Minister 33, Sh. 1956 New Shetlander No. 43. 20); and, in forms corresp. to Eng. whop (north. dial. whap), whap, whaup (Ags. 1914 I. Bell Country Clash 73). [wɑp, wǫp; ʍɑp]

I. v. 1. tr. To throw, dash or pull violently, to thrust, toss, fling (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 209, whap; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), s.v. vapp, 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., Ork., ne.Sc., Ags. 1973). Also in n.Eng. dial. For 1803 quot. cf. Wap, v.2, 1.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 225:
Frae her fair Finger whop a Ring.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 156:
I wapped them [trout] out at every throw.
Kcb. 1866 Lochmaben Harper in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 21:
She's stealing the corn and stealing the hay, And wappin it oer to Wanton Brown.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 125:
He wappid the psalm-beuk i' the bed.
Fif. 1882 J. Simson Inverkeithing 73:
Instead of running straight out of the close, [he] threw or “wapped” himself from side to side till he twisted himself round the entrance of it.
Dmf. 1890 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace 1899) 331:
She was in again, wapping a clean linen cover on the table.
Abd. 1891 T. Mair Arn and his Wife 13:
He whirled her inside, heels owre heid, An' wappit doon the lid.
Ags. 1932 Barrie Farewell Miss J. Logan 21:
He wears a plaid in all weathers and sometimes even in the house, for as he says before he has time to wap it off and find it again somebody on a cart horse will be clattering to his door to hurry him to my glen.
Sh. 1973 New Shetlander No. 105. 13:
Shü süne wappit him [da paeper] fae her.

2. tr. and absol. Specif., to cast a fishing-line; to fish (a river) (Dmb. 1973). Deriv. wapper, whauper, a fisherman, an angler.Lnk. 1880 P. M'Arthur Amusements 55:
'Mang them wha wap the line o' hair.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 63:
The bonnie scarlet-spatted wappers Staw to the brooks wi' wicker-wallets.
Per. 1896 D. Kippen Crieff 72:
The doctor had not long begun wapping.
Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 193:
The water is rough and rocky, with grand shelters for whaupers — good for either bait or fly.
Slg. 1902 W. C. Paterson Echoes 19, 35:
Owre the pools ye're wapin' for the spreckled troot . . . I had wap't the Endrick, pool an' rin.
Gall. 1947 A. McCormick Galloway 76:
He held it up agin the sky, put it on to his cast, wapt, and the flee kisst the water close to the far side.

3. (1) tr. To flap, wave, shake (I., ne.Sc., Ags., wm.Sc. 1973).Sc. 1806 Glasgerion in Child Ballads No. 67 B. xii.:
Whan day has dawen, and cocks hae crawen, And wappit their wings sae wide.
wm.Sc. 1832 Laird of Logan (1868) 320:
His strange figure and the way that he wapped about his hands.
Ags. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan I. xiii.:
You wappit your dish-clout in her face.
ne.Sc. 1895 N. Roy Horseman's Word i.:
The cock was wappin' his wings.

(2) intr. To move to and fro, flap, swing, flutter, move jerkily (I., n.Sc., Per. 1973); to walk with the arms loose and flapping (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.). Freq. form wapple.Sc. 1834 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) IV. 27:
I had filled a' my pouches, the braid o' the tail o' some o' them whappin again' ma elbows.
Ags. 1852 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' 12:
I sing not of an ancient knight, Wi' . . . garter wappin' round his knee To celebrate his chivalry.
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 117:
A wappin' o' wings drew near.
Ork. 1908 Old Lore Misc. I. viii. 318:
Da ald steul waas made tae geong wappan aboot like a jumpan jeck bae pooan the string.
Cai. 1922 J. Horne Poems 44, 93:
Their han'-write gi'es me chivers, fan their copy books I see — 'E letters wapple here an' 'ere, lek shochads on 'e spree. . . . His legs wapple oot an' in lek a frowg's.
Abd. 1963 J. C. Milne Poems 156:
Dumfounert the craw Gaed wappin awa'.
Abd. 1970 Buchan Observer (27 Oct.) 7:
That's them [clothes] oot an' wappin' fine, They'll a' be dry b' denner-time.

4. (1) tr. To strike, beat, thrash, hit (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, wap, wop, s.v. whap; Ork. 1973); absol. to deal a swiping or swinging blow. Also in Eng. dial. Cf. colloq. Eng. whop, id. Vbl.n. wappin, a beating.Slg. 1808 W. Watson Poems 89:
Baith pleugh an' horse he wappet Wi' a thud that day.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 63:
Wi' angry bill, and wing theretill, They wapp't and swapp't, and flapp't and slapp't.
s.Sc. 1837 Wilson's Tales of the Borders III. 274:
A' the wappins she could gie her husband, could neither cure him o' his propensity.
Ags. 1866 R. Leighton Poems 308:
I wappit them like stour.

Hence (i) wapper, anything exceptionally large or fine of its kind, a whopper (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Uls. a.1870 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924)); also of persons (Abd. 1928; Cai. 1973). Also in Eng. dial.; (ii) wappin(g), wappan (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. s.v. whapping), large; of persons; big, strapping (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also in Eng. dial.; (iii) waupy, id. (Abd. 1910).(i) Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 63:
What though thy waist (hech, sic a wapper 'Stens like a drum thy gancy rapper).
Abd. 1925 R. L. Cassie Gangrel Muse 27:
The chiel's tongue wis a wapper.
(ii) Edb. 1724 A. Pennecuik Elegy R. Forbes Broadsheet:
Nae mair we'll see his pauky Face, Keek thro' Closs-heads to catch a Brace of Wapping Morts.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxiii.:
A wapping weaver he was, and wrought my first pair o' hose.
Sc. 1841 Whistle-Binkie 28:
She was trysted to suppers, and invitit to teas, Gat gude wappin' presents, an' braw slappin' fees.
Gsw. 1877 J. Young Prose & Verse 53:
Wi' thy braid sunshinie broo, Broun face, an' wappin' waist.

(2) intr. To go forcibly, to smash one's way. Rare.Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie 99:
A sword canna pierce them [spirits], and as for yer cannon-balls, well they wud just wap through them and no do them wan bit o' hairm.

5. To beat, excel, surpass (Sc. 1887 Jam.).

6. To fight, wrestle (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 462, wapp; Kcb. 1900). Vbl.n. wapping, wrestling (MacTaggart).

7. To riot, to cause a disturbance, to quarrel (Cld. 1880 Jam.; Bwk. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

II. n. 1. A sweeping or swinging movement, a swipe, shake, toss, flap, wave (Ayr. 1930; Sh., ne.Sc. 1973); nonce transf., a flapping object; the act of brandishing or flourishing a weapon.Abd. 1777 R. Forbes Ulysses 38:
He shook the blade, an' wi' a wap Set the heft to the ground.
Sc. 1820 Scott Abbot xvii.:
The wap of a falcon's wing.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 25:
Sir William's ta'en his sword in hand . . . Three waps o't roun' his buirdly breast.
Lth. 1858 Songs Edb. Angling Club 47:
And thinkin' I hae hooked a fish, I gie a sudden wap, sir.
Abd. 1892 Innes Rev. VII. i. 19:
Those [cocks] that wouldna fight were called ‘fougie'. What waps they did gie.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 179:
There was fire in his eyes, poetry in the very “wap” of his arm.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiii.:
A mannie cam oot at the Castel yitt an' pat up a great muckle wap o' a flag.

2. A puff or gust of wind (Sh., Abd. 1973); a sudden storm.Sc. 1818 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) V. 210:
When your country avocations lead you to face a dry wap of snow.
w.Lth. 1889 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) XII. 405:
When roarin' win's are raisin' waps.
Sh. 1964 Nordern Lichts 55:
Da wind wis in 'im an freshenin wi every wapp.

3. (1) A blow, thump, knock, swipe, smart stroke (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Mry. 1925; Ayr. 1930; Ork., ne.Sc. 1973). Also fig. Also in Eng. dial. Cf. colloq. Eng. whop, id. Phr. to play whap, to go ‘crack'!, to make a smacking noise.Gsw. 1807 J. Chirrey Misc. Poetry 72:
Or was ye fley'd ye'd get some waps, Frae selfish, crazy, critic chaps?
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
A wap wi' a corner-stane o' Wolf's Crag wad defy the doctor.
Gall. 1824 McTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 442:
[She] neath the lug lent me a litch, Gude faith, the whap did dizzie me.
w.Lth. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. II. 58:
Tradition represents a minister as frequently opening up his afternoon's discourse with a vehement exclamation, “Come, my friends — let us have another wap at the red leddy!”
s.Sc. 1838 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 93:
I hit ane o' the fellows a wap on the face that sent him staggerin.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister iv.:
They just gie me a wap into the gutters.
Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 23:
When Andro got de wap, he sank doon fairly on de fleur.
Lnk. 1909 W. Wingate Poems (1919) 67:
The peerie may think it could cheerily spin, Though never a whup played “whap”.
Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of Wilderness xxiii.:
For fear o' a broken heid or a ‘wapp' on the chafts.
Abd. 1923 R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert xvii.:
He gae the bull a wap on the side o' the heid wi' the jacket.

(2) A “go”, a “shot” (at something).Lnk. 1877 W. McHutchison Poems 167:
Ye've been lang the last thing ta'en at nicht, An' a wap at morn if oot o' sicht.

(3) A touch of cold or other slight ailment (Cai. 1973).

4. A fight, a wrestling match.Gall. 1905 E.D.D., s.v. whap:
I'll try ye a wap.

5. A disturbance, riot, brawl, turmoil, din, to-do, row, strife, quarrel (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 206; Cld. 1880 Jam.; n.Sc., Slg., Fif., Ayr., Rxb. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Per., Dmf. 1973); “a drinking bout conjoined with noise and confusion” (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) W.7); a tantrum.Ayr. 1841 J. Paton Songs 18:
Perhaps far from home ye will kick up a wap.
Lnk. 1866 D. Wingate Annie Weir 63:
The fiercest o' waps wi' ae cry he could quell.
e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 24:
If a well matched pair or two met and had not had their ‘wap' out, both pits would be thrown idle on the Monday that all who wished might see the affair wound up.
Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (12 Nov.) 3:
Noo ye'll begin to kick up a wap.
Arg. 1893 Campbeltown Courier 3 Jun :
Saturday night disturbances ... Michael McGown said Conley was kicking up a 'wap' threatening to fight everybody.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 155:
We had nae ither choice than let her Rin rampant throo her waups.
Slk. 1912 H. J. C. Clippings from Clayboddie (1921) 39:
The two extreme men kicked up a furious waup.
Fif. 1932 M. Bell Pickles & Ploys 71:
There would be naething but waups wi' the twa o' them at the heid o' affairs!
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick iii.:
A canna hear ma ain wurd for ye kickin up a wap a' the time.

III. adv., used exclam.: with a thump, thud, crack, smack, etc. Cf. I. 3. (1).Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 84:
Douse, drops a second down, and whap! there sinks another.

[O.Sc. wap, to throw, fling, c.1480, a blow, c.1500, Mid.Eng. wap, id. Orig. prob. imit.]

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"Wap v.1, n.1, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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