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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLISHMACLAVER, -CLAIVER, -CLATTER, Cleishmaclaver, n. and v. [′klɪʃmə′kle:vər Sc., m.Sc. + ′kliʃ-]

1. n. Cf. Clash-ma-claver.

(1) Idle talk, gossip; wordy discourse. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 236:
This Method's ever thought the braver, Than either Cuffs, or Clish-ma-claver.
Ags. 1924 J. B. Caithness Pastime Poems 82:
I'm thinkin', Will, ye've had yer fill o' My clishmaclatter.
Ags. 2000 Montrose Review 16 Nov 15:
And warming to the theme of town councillors, many of you will have fond memories of the original Gable Ender, ... journalist, diarist and a gossiping kind of loon - a glib-gabbit clashie and nemsie with a rare North Eastern interest in the clishmaclaver o' the toun.
Ayr. 1900 “G. Douglas” House with Green Shutters (1901) xxi.:
George the Fort' didna fill the throne verra doucely for a' their cleishmaclaver.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 44:
Kisses stown o' sweetest flavour, Mix'd wi' am'rous clishmaclaver.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 72:
'Let me insense ye how matters are on that head, for it's better coming from the factor than any clishmaclaver you'll hear in other quarters. ... '

(2) “A talkative busybody” (Uls.2 1929). Known to Bnff.2, Abd.19 1937.Sc. 1819 When the King comes o'er the Water in Hogg (ed.) Jacobite Relics I. 46–47:
A curse on dull and drawling Whig, . . . Wi' heart sae black, and look sae big, And canting tongue o' clishmaclaver!
Edb. 1917 T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's o' Solomon xviii. 8:
The clitter-clatters o' a clishmaclaiver are unco gustie till him.

2. v. To gossip, chatter (Bnff.2, Abd.22 1937). Vbl.n. clishmaclavering.Sc. 1823 J. G. Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. 204–205:
Do you no see that I might be your father, man? What signifies sic clishmaclavering?
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie I. xii.:
It's no right o' you, sir, to keep me clishmaelavering when I should be taking my pick, that the master's wark mayna gae by.

[From Clish, q.v., + Claver, n.1, gossip. For the intermediate syllable, cf. Whigmaleerie.]

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"Clishmaclaver n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Dec 2023 <>



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