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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLISH, Cleish, Clesh, v. “To repeat an idle story” (Bnff.4 1912; Fif. 1825 Jam.2). [klɪʃ, kliʃ, klɪ̢ʃ, klɛʃ]

Hence (1) clish-clash, cleish-clash, idle talk, gossip (Bnff.2, Lnl.1, Kcb.9 1937). Also in vbl.n. clish-clashing. Adj. clishy- clashy, gossip, chattering; (2) clesh-ma-clash, idle talk, gossip; a chatterbox, used attrib. Also as a v., to gossip. (1) Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's o' Solomon xviii. 7:
The bletherin o' a fule 'll bring him to his hunkers belyve; An' his ain clish-clash 'll lay girns for his ain saul.
wm.Sc. 1829 New Scotch Haggis 324: 
The nicht's clish-clashing, tittle-tattlin', an' tale-bearin' commenced wi' the auld wives.
s.Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 107:
If it's the cleish-clash o' folk . . . you needna fash yer heid.
Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs (1876) 362:
Noo' the haill toun resoun's wi the clish-clash.
Ayr. 1833 J. Kennedy G. Chalmers 80: 
Nane o yer snip-snap, clishy-clashy palavers for me.
(2) m.Lth. 1878 R. Cuddie Corstorphine Lyrics 31: 
You say I'm nothing but an ass; In that, my dearest clishmaclash, Forsooth, tak your will.
Edb. 1901 J. W. McLaren Poems 36, 56: 
Ye sleekit, clish-ma-clashin' hash! . . . I'm tauld he has plenty o' siller, By clish-ma-clash Liberton folk.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 10:
Ither idle clesh-ma-clash, Wad only gie the reader fash.

[Cf. Clash, v., 2 (2), and Clash, n.1, 4 (1). O.Sc. has clis-clas, idle talk, 1698 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Clish v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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