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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLAP, CLAPP, Klap, n.1 Sc. uses of St.Eng. clap. [klɑp]

1. A heavy blow, stroke. Also fig. Obs. in Eng.; last quot. in N.E.D. 1752. Gen.Sc.Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail I. xxviii.:
“It would just hae past like a pat for true love.” “Eh na, father, it was na a pat, but a scud like the clap o' a fir deal,” said the bridegroom.
s.Sc. 1835 Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 216:
I canna tell how I stood up against this clap o' misery.

Hence clappie, see quotes. Gsw. 1991 Anna Blair More Tea at Miss Cranston's 54:
You stotted them against the wall and done wee complicated things between each stot, clapping your hands or twirling round. That was clappie or twirlie.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 8:
We played Clappie with a ball against the wall, or on a peever bed.

2. An affectionate pat (more caressing than Eng. clap). Gen.Sc.Bnff. 1866 Mrs Morton in Bnffsh. Jnl. (2 Jan.) 2:
My mither wad gie his bit headie a clap.

3. In phrs. (1) in a clap, in a moment. Gen.Sc. Cf. in a clank s.v. Clank; (2) wi(th) a clap (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. Swak).(1) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 49:
Back in a clap, she's at the very place.

4. “A flat instrument of iron, resembling a box, with a tongue and handle, used for making proclamations through a town, instead of a drum or hand-bell” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). (See also quots.) Also transferred to the person using such an instrument, a town-crier.Sc. 1701 R. Chambers Domestic Annals (1861) III. 245:
Obliged to send clapps, as they call them. . . . (Note): An old mode of advertisement . . . to send an old woman through the streets with a wooden dish and a stick, to clap or beat upon it.
Sc. 1874 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 53:
Betty Dick, an old woman, formerly officiated as town-crier of Dalkeith. . . . In her calling she used what was called a “clap,” . . . which was simply a large wooden trencher and a spoon.
s.Sc. 1912–1919 C. K. Moore in Rymour Club Misc. II. 196:
Spoken ironically of a thing that is only mislaid — I'd send the clap through about it, i.e. send the bellman round the town about it.

Comb.: clapman, a town-crier. Sc. 1800 Edb. Advertiser (2 Sept.) 147:
A Town Drummer and Cryer, for the Town of Leith. Salary Ten Pounds Sterling yearly, a Suit of Cloathes every two years, and the Fees of Clapman or Cryer.

5. The clapper of a mill.Sc. 1713 Nairne Peerage Evidence (1873) 47:
Earth and stone of the said lands clap of the said milne and a net for the said fishing as use is.
Bnff. 1702 in J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. of Keith (1880) 82:
Hugh Jamieson discoursing on that head, said . . . that he would prove, by two honest women, That the mill did grind without a clap.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Address to the Unco Guid (Cent. ed.) i.:
The heapet happer's ebbing still, An' still the clap plays clatter!
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems and Songs 84:
Here there's routh o' running water For to grind the corn and bear. Here the dinsome clap plays clatter A' the seasons o' the year.

Phr.: clap and happer, — hopper, the symbols used in the seizin of mills.Sc. 1759–1761 Fountainhall Decisions I. 432:
A mill is distinctum tenementum, and requires delivery of the clap and happer.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet v.:
He [the miller's son] maun wait on clap and hopper, as they say.

6. In phr. clap o' the hass, klap —, “the uvula” (Ork. 1929 Marw., klap — ; Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Hals). Known to Ags.1, Fif.10 1937.Ags.(D) 1922 J. B. Salmond Bawbee Bowden xi.:
He sookit in a muckle bloo-flea, that made as muckle noise in the back o' his throat, as gin there had been a wasp's bike on the clap o' his hass.

[All the above meanings are found in O.Sc. except 2 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Clap n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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