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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CANKERT, CANKERED, Canker'd, adj.

1. “Cross, ill-natured” (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 98). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1724–1727 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) 126:
But shou'd my canker'd dady gar Me tak him 'gainst my inclination.
Sc. 1834 H. Miller Scenes and Legends (1850) xviii.:
The cankered wretch raged like a madman.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 100:
Hid meed me cankered wi' the gluff.
Bnff.7 1927:
Yer bairnie's gey cankert this mornin', 'uman.
Ags. 1927 (per Ags.1):
“The cankert dog gets aye the riven skin,” quarrelsome people earn their own troubles.
m.Lth. 1884 J. Plenderleith Kittlegairy Vacancy 28:
Another dour radical sort of body . . . and a cankered body he is.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 122:
There wus a rhyme we use't tae say tae the weans tae keep them quait, an hinner them fae gettin red-heidit an canker't.

Hence cankerdly, adv., ill-naturedly.Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess p. viii.:
And, tho' ye think I wad abuse it, Yet, dinna cankerdly refuse it.

2. Of weather: gusty, threatening, stormy (Bnff.2, Abd.2 1938).Bnff. 1844 T. Anderson Poems and Songs 65:
While frae the cauld an' icy north, The cankert hail comes volleying forth, Fleet, on the eddy whirlwind driven.
Abd.(D) 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War (1918) 34:
The snaw's lyin' deep by the dyke faur it driftit, The Spring fan it comes will be cankert an' weet.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 7:
Skelpit by cankert howderin storm
Ah! hou the yirth will rive an screed,
An like an ants' heap heaving, sae
The mools an lairs boak up their deid.
Edb. publ. 1779 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 86:
Whether we see mare winters come Than this that spits wi' canker'd foam.
Wgt. 1803 R. Couper Tourifications Malachi Meldrum II. 79:
As there seems a little cankered cloud getting up, beneath the wind yonder, we hae better be moving on.

3. Bent, twisted. Known to our Abd. correspondents only. Also fig.Abd.2 1938:
A cankert runt o' a castock.
Ags. 1845 A. Smart Rambling Rhymes 190:
And she's torn her cheek wi' a cankert preen.
Ags. 1888 W. M. Smart in Edwards Mod. Sc. Poets XI. 213:
But tho' the wye be cankert, I'll lat the drink abee.

[From Canker, n. O.Sc. has cankerit, cankar(i)t, cancard, adj., from a.1400, affected with canker; malignant; ill-natured (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. cancred, cankerd (14th cent.).]

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"Cankert adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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