Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLATTER, Blatther, v. and n. [′blɑtər Sc.; ′blɑθər Uls.]

1. v., tr. and intr.

(1) “To rattle, beat with violence; often used of rain, hail, etc.; to blare. Of candles: to snuff” (Bnff.2 1934). Gen.Sc.Abd. 1897 G. Macdonald Salted with Fire ix.:
For even the deid wauk whan the trumpet blatters i' their lug!
Ags. 1921 A. S. Meill Carroty Broon xviii.:
“Ye blattered oot the cannels,” he said, “and in the dark I — I — weel, I gae Minnie a wee bit kiss.”
Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 135:
Night coming on, I was right fain To seek a shelter frae the rain, That blatter'd i' my face amain.
Lnk. 1865 J. Hamilton Poems and Sketches 146:
An' the looms they were rattlin' an' blatterin' awa.

(2) To talk fast and noisily. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1845 J. Grant Romance of War xiv.:
I never heard ony ane blatter sic words.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 96:
It's aye the wey — the man that's dreich, or slack . . . Is shair to be the first to blatter oot A great fraca.
Dmb. 1931 A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle xxxiv.:
Sit down or stand aside and don't blatter the ears off us.

(3) To flutter, flicker.Sh.(D) 1877 G. Stewart Sh. Fireside Tales (1892) 42:
A püir deein' objekd, wi' da life just blatterin' in.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.:
De light blatters, the light flickers; de sails b[latter], the sails are flapping to and fro (in the wind); blatterin claes (of clothes hung to dry in the wind).
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar II. iv.:
An ye gie but the witches o' Traquair ten minutes, ye will hae naething o' them but moorfowls and paitricks blattering about the rigging o' the kirk. [Jak. supposes a form *blaktra, from O.N. blaka, blakra, v., to wave; cf. Fær. blaktra, flap, flicker.]

(4) “To run noisily and with short steps” (Bnff.2 1934); to clatter.Abd. 1898 J. Milne Poems 19:
Ye canna match the owsen plough . . . They neither blatter on a bog, Nor brattle on a brae.
Bch. 1914 T.S.D.C. I. 22:
Blatter. To walk with quick short steps, as if afraid of falling.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (27 July) 2/6:
Barefitted, helter-skelter, through . . . thorns, an' lang grass — blatterin like ma nannie O.
Slk. 1835 Hogg Tales Wars of Montrose III. 224:
Maxwell's feet blattered down the lowest stair.

(5) “To pelt, as with stones” (centr. Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling of Glenthorn I. vii.; Ags.1 1934:
For I ken naething that I coud gang handy like about, an' it werena blatterin' stanes at the yeld cattle.

(6) “To tear up, as by wind” (centr. Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

(7) Used with adv. force in phrases cam blatter, let blatter, to denote vigorous, noisy action.Ags.(D) 1922 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden vi.:
An' then they cam blatter in a' at ance.
Ayr. 1900 “G. Douglas” House w. the G. Shutters (1901) xxi.:
The Deacon there couldna let blatter wi' a hearty oath to save his withered sowl.

Hence blatt(e)rin', (a) ppl.adj., noisy, blustering, clattering; usually applied to weather; (b) vbl.n.,loud noise.(a) Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 158:
Ohl Maggie has a fearfu' mither! A thrawart, yatterin', blatterin' mither.
Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 169:
The pompous arch . . . Opens to let by the blatt'rin storm.
(b) Mry. 1830 T. D. Lauder Moray Floods (1873) 232:
It was an aw'some night, what wi' the roar an' ragin' o' the water . . . an' the blatterin' o' the rain without.

2. n.

(1) A loud, rattling or rustling noise. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 283:
The phizzing Bowt came with a Blatter, And dry'd our great Sea to a Gutter.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 9:
Robin, frae a neib'rin' tree, Doun cam dartin' wi' a blatter.
Ayr. 1790 A. Tait Poems and Songs 102; Ayr.8 1934:
He brings the cocks down wi' a blatter.

fig. An ostentatious display, a “splash.”Ags. 1896 J. M. Barrie Sentimental Tommy xviii.:
Which [coin] to spend first? . . . The one found in the rat's hole. Ay . . . we'll make the first blatter with it.

(2) “Storm of rain, hail, etc.” (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1 1934; Fif.1 1936; Edb.1 1929; Ayr.8 1934).m.Sc. 1838 A. Rodger Poems 305:
While trenchers, bowls, and candlesticks, Flee through the house wi' hailstane blatter.
nw.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Blatter, a sharp, heavy shower (of rain).

(3) A blow; a heavy fall; “a shot from a gun” (Bnff.2, Kcb.9 1934).Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 88:
I never saw a covey fatter, A' kill'd, too, at a single blatter.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 1:
As some outlandish half'lin creatures . . . An' born to thole their buffs an' blatters.
Ayr. [1836] J. Ramsay Woodnotes (1848) 40:
And aye the callans were as keen To stan' and get a blatter, As they had Roman Cath'lics been, And it a' holy water.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
“He fell a blatther on the groun',” i.e. with great force.

(4) “An incoherent flow of words” (Bnff.2 1934, Ags.9 1927); a stammer, stuttering.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary (1818) ix.:
Out cam sic a blatter o' Latin about his lugs, that poor Rab Tull . . . was clean overwhelmed.
Abd. 1895 G. Williams Sk. of Scarbraes 31:
We saw ye makin' mou's to lat a blatter at it, but afore ye got ae cheep oot the thing was awa frae ye.
Ayr. c.1800 D. Hogg Life J. Wightman (1873) 140:
James Wilson, subsequently well-known as Sergeant Blathers from his stammering speech.

[O.Sc. blatter, speak indistinctly, drive with noise and force. Perhaps partly from Lat. blaterāre (D.O.S.T.). Cf. Blutter.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Blatter v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: