Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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WHAUP, n.1, v.1 Also whawp, wha(a)p, whape; whowp; quhaup, quhaip. See also Faap, Faup. [ʍɑ:p, ʍ:p]

I. n. 1. The curlew, Numenius arquata (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 197, whaap, 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., whaap; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc. Also attrib. For combs. land-whaup, little-, sea-, stock-, tang-, see the first element in each case. Dmf. c.1700 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1901) 57:
Lamprey with a beck stretching like a whaap's.
Sc. 1725 W. MacFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 222:
Severall wild fowls such as swane duck and drake, teil and arteil, whape.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IX. 490:
The curlew or whaap, and clocharet, are summer birds.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf iv.:
I ance heard ane whistle ahint me in the moss, as like a whaup as ae thing could be like anither.
Bwk. c.1860 Minstrelsy Merse (Crockett 1893) 289:
The muircock, whaup, and plover.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xlv.:
The great marled eggs o' the whaup.
s.Sc. 1909 W. Ogilvie Whaup o' the Rede 13:
The cry of the restless whaup as it circled by.
Dmf. 1920 J. L. Waugh Heroes 21:
Whaup-cry answering whaup-cry a' aroon me.
Dmb. 1948 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 120:
He knew every curlew (whaups he called them).
Sc. 1969 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 142:
Where the whaups still cry and golden plover and dunlin still find sanctuary.

Phrs. and combs.: (1) whaup-houghed, having long, scrawny thighs; (2) a whaup i(n) the nest, fig. in proverbial phr. of something, gen. of a vexatious or unpleasant nature, which is likely to make its presence felt, something brewing, hatching or afoot, poss. orig. adapted from Whaup, n.3; (3) whaup-neb, the beak of a curlew (Sc. 1825 Jam.); fig. a long pointed nose, used in phr. the auld whaap-neb, as a soubriquet for the Devil. Adj. whaup-nebbed, -it, having a long beaky nose (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1974); also fig. long-drawn-out, polysyllabic; (4) whaup-neckit, having a long thin neck; (5) whaup-nose, a long sharp-pointed nose. (1) Slk. 1823 Hogg Perils of Woman I. 93:
Yon toop-lambs o' Selby's . . . a wheen shaughlin, whaup-houghed gude-for-naethings!
(2) Ayr. 1784 Burns Reply to J. Rankine ii.:
But now a rumour's like to rise — A whaup's i' the nest!
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xxxi.:
This bookseller in the end, however, proved a whowp [sic] in our nest, for he was in league with some of the English reformers.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxxiii.:
But if ye had the second sight o' experience as I hae, ye would fin' a whaup in the nest.
(3) Sc. 1706 Short Survey Married Life 13:
A Whap-nebbed Bursen Body.
Lth. 1815 L. Penrose Journal III. 93:
These Indians wad devour the auld whaap-neb himsel' gin he were weel cooked.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 264:
Whaup-nebbed Samuel fell aff the drift too.
Kcb. 1911 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxiii.:
English is an awesome language for whaup-nebbit, pheasant-tailed words.
wm.Sc. 1934 J. Bridie Marriage is no Joke 1:
A whaup-nebbit yowe-backit, gleed-eyed, roupit beast.
(4) Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xx.:
My mither brocht furth the lang-whaup-neckit bottle, an' gi'ed him a stirrup-dram.
(5) Dmf. 1822 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 306:
Tibby Affleck's lucken brows, whaup-nose, fiddle chin, and projecting teeth.

II. v. 1. To whistle shrilly, like a curlew (Bwk., Dmb., sm., s.Sc. 1974); to have a whistle in one's breath, to wheeze (Fif. 1825 Jam.); to tootle (on a flute); to whine. Agent n. whaper, a whiner, a complaining person. s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 167:
Dinna be whaupin' there on that auld flute when the minister comes ben.
Ags. 1848 Feast Liter. Crumbs (1891) 34:
Nae whingin', cringin', wheeplin' whaper.
Kcb. 1878 Zoologist II. 428:
In country houses when children have been whistling, I have heard their parents order them to “stop their whaupin.”

2. Transf., of persons: (1) a nickname for an inhabitant of the Lammermuir area of Bwk., from its moorland nature as the haunt of curlews. Bwk. 1840 Proc. Bwk. Nat. Club (1885) 218:
Loudon loots, Merse brutes, Lammermuir whaps.

(2) a long lanky thin-legged person, freq. as a school-boy nickname (Rnf. 1930 A. M. Stewart Stickleback Club 103); also as a gen. term of contempt, for reasons of geographical distribution appar. different from Whaup, n.2 Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 154:
There's no yin to men' anither. Noo there's the Biggar yins — sic whappies I declare!
Lnk. 1928 W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane iii.:
“Aye, ye twa impident whaups!” cried Peggie Baillie.

3. “A goblin or evil spirit, supposed to go about under the eaves of houses after the fall of night, having a long beak resembling a pair of tongs for the purpose of carrying off evil-doers” (Ayr. 1808 Jam., quhaup, quhaip). Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy G. Chalmers x.:
The blue whaups of mischief were gathering fast around him.

4. An oilcan with a long spout (Dmf. 1957, whaap), from its similarity in shape to the curlew's bill.

[O.Sc. quhaip, = I. 1., 1512, quhap, 1538, an unexplained variant of O.E. hwilpe, a kind of sea-bird, of uncertain orig. but poss. imit. of its cry and cogn. with whelp, a puppy, sc. ‘the yelper, whiner.' The Sc.. form suggests the existence of an older variant *whelp > whalp > whaup. See P.L.D. § 56. See also note to Whaup, n.2]

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"Whaup n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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