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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

CAPE, v. “To seize vessels in a privateering way” (Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. cap). Vbl.n. caping, ppl.adj. caped.Sc. 1721 R. Wodrow Hist. Sufferings Church of Scot. I. 220:
In Scotland some private Persons made themselves rich by Caping or Privateering upon the Dutch.
Sc. 1759 Fountainhall Decisions I. 80:
The late author of Jus Maritimum, c. 4, of Piracy, shows that the buyers of caped goods in England are not liable in restitution.

Hence caper, (1) a privateer, one who seizes vessels unlawfully, “a captor, or one who takes a prize” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); (2) “a light armed vessel of the 17th century, adapted for privateering and much used by the Dutch” (Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate (1822) xxvi. Note). Now obs., or used only hist.(2) Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate (1822) xxvi.:
Little Brenda cried and ran from her like a Spanish merchant-man from a Dutch caper.

[O.Sc. has caper, a privateer, also attrib. with vessel, a captor (in privateering): and capering, vbl.n., privateering (D.O.S.T.); Du. kaper, privateer, privateersman, from kapen, to capture, pilfer (Kramer). Cf. Cap, v.4, above.]

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"Cape v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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