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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DREEP, v., n. Gen.Sc. form and usages of Eng. drip (Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 29). Also †dreip.

I. v.

1. To drain, to strain (esp. of boiled potatoes). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. dreepin, “hot water poured from potatoes after boiling” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Dreep the gray-beard. “Drain the stone-bottle.”
Abd.4 1933:
I dreepit it clean oot.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 149:
Toom as a teapot newly dreepit.
e.Dmf. 1912 J. and R. Hyslop Langholm 610:
His work is tae dreep the tatties and a' that kind o' thing!

Hence (1) dreeper, (i) a vessel for draining whey from curd (Ayr.4 1928); (ii) a runway in which sheep stand to drip after dipping (Lnk. 1990s); (iii) a wooden framework on which fish are fastened to drip after salting; (iv) a dripping-board used in bleaching cloth; (2) dreepin, (i) Sc. form of Eng. dripping, fat (Abd. 1993); (ii) In pl., also drippins the last drop (Abd. 1993; Ags. 2000s). (1) (i) Ayr. 1859–61 Trans. Highl. and Agric. Soc. 49:
Having attained the proper degree of firmness, the curd is transferred to the dreeper — a utensil in shape exactly like a cheese-vat, only of a larger diameter and a greater number of holes.
(ii) Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 16, 25:
Twa dipped, an' twa catched, quile een o da weemen held da dreeper door.
(iii) Kcd. 1883 Fish and Fisheries (ed. D. Herbert) 107:
A gutting-trough, and a number of dripping-troughs, termed “dreepers”.
(iv) Sc. 1756 F. Home Bleaching 212:
The cloth being cleaned, is laid upon a dreeper.
(2) (ii)Edb. 1994:
Gie's the drippins oot o the boattle.

2. To soak; gen. in ppl.adj. dreepin', -it. Gen.Sc. Also vbl.n. dreepin', ¶dreepend, in fig. sense = a drink of liquor.Bnff. 1857 Bnffsh. Jnl. (10 Feb.) 7:
The sleet is blawin' cauld, and he's dreepit thro' and thro'.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 25:
Tho' noo an' than, wi' dreepin' sark, we've biggit dykes an' dell't.
Abd. 1999 Press and Journal 5 Oct 1:
When I asked Geordie later why he had been so confident, he just smiled and said: "Misty Mey and dreepin Jeen, syne gweed weather fin that's deen." Then, as he turned to go, he added: "Gey close, though."
Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 5:
There's surely something new come owre His noddle, that he's never owre To get his dreepin'.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 149:
There's, I daresay, as muckle meal in the corner o' the pock yet as mak a dreepin' o brose.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 16:
Gude kens we hae teachers and preachers enou', Wha wi' dreepends and steepends are a' het and fu.

3. To walk very slowly; to do anything slowly and without interest (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, dreip).

4. To descend a wall by letting oneself down to the full stretch of the arms and then dropping (Sc. 1825 Jam.2, dreip). Also fig. (Ags., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s). Gen. in phr. to dreep a dyke (wa') (Ib., — wa'). Gen.Sc. Cf. to drap a dyke s.v. Drap, v., 4.Sc. 1993 Herald 1 Feb 13:
It begins so well. Three figures - a woman, two men, in loose white shirts and clingy undershorts - dreep down from a wall. Oh so slowly, as if real heat was pinning them against its surface. We have a sudden whif of concrete jungle. Hear the roaring of heavy outside traffic.
Sc. 1993 Herald 10 July 21:
However, it's a long way down from here to the end of the column and Couch Potato has no plans to dreep it: so we'd better tell you something more about this jolly little entertainment, hadn't we?
Sc. 1994 Herald 6 Jan 14:
If it may seem a lazy, irresolute way to dreep to the bottom of the page in a new year, so be it. But it is at least possible that everything worth saying has been said already, only better.
Sc. 1998 Daily Record 23 Jan 48:
He may be 67, but Clint can still dreep down walls and outpace crack cops who spotted him spotting US President Hackman bumping off his floozie.
Sc. 1999 Sunday Times 12 Dec :
He says his early years were dominated by sport and "leaps and dreeps". The latter entailed "jumping between middens, clinging to pipes and dreeping from walls with only the occasional impalement".
Sc. 2004 Evening Times 20 Apr 4:
No skateboards for them, but if they were lucky, iron hoops, home-made bogies, peevers, puddles, walls to climb and "dreep" from.
m.Sc. 1996 Christopher Brookmyre Quite Ugly One Morning (1997) 134:
He dreeped down backwards, stretching his legs below him and placing his toes at either side of the bottom frame of a window, then pulled himself back up.
em.Sc.(b) 1991 Athole Cameron in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 52:
we get weans
comin oot the wa's, dreepin frae the skies
coupin dustbins ringin doorbells.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 75:
Breaking school rules, we would scale the wall, and watch the girls playing at their beds, ... Sometimes, daring the dread of the belt, we dreeped down onto the girls' side of the wall in furtive little forays, and before they know what was happening, we were among them and upon them.
Edb. 1926 A. Muir Blue Bonnet xxi.:
You're a fool ever to jump when you can “dreep.”
Hdg. 1876 J. Teenan Song and Satire 52:
Could dreip a dyke, or sklimb a tree.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 61:
"Come on back in wi' me an I'll gie you some," offered Matt dreeping from his perch to the path.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake, etc. 77:
The moral dyke o' which resolve I hope I'll never dreep it.
Lnk. 1991 Duncan Glen Selected Poems 27:
Bairns are rinnin through the close
up the stairs and dreepin doon
and roond and roond again and again.
Ayr. 1891 H. Johnston Kilmallie xxi.:
He would spread panic and dismay by “dreeping” from his hiding-place immediately in front of them.

5. Phrs.: (1) a dreepin' droucht (drouth), a showery day during a spell of dry weather (Bch. 1931 (per Abd.4); Abd.9, Ags.17 (-drouth) 1940); cf. drappin' drouth s.v. Drap, v. 3; (2) a dreeping roast, a dripping goose, a constant source of income; a “fat” living; Gen.Sc.; (3) dirt an' the dreepins o't, used of a person of dubious moral character (Abd.4 1929; Abd.2 1940).(2) Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona xvii.:
“We have here before us a dreepin roast,” said he, “here is cut-and-come-again for all.”
Ags. 1810 J. Paterson Poems 97:
On week-days I teach a school; On Sabbath-days I preach; I dinna let my metal cool, For a dripping goose is each.
Rnf. 1850 A. McGilvray Poems 265:
Stick to the whore [the Established Church] . . . Nor leave a good roast dreeping.
Ayr. 1836 Galt in Tait's Mag. (July) 459:
There's no endowment of nature equal to the dripping roast of a fat legacy.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 242:
A [medical] practice which . . . bids fair to be a dreeping roast to him a' his days.

II. n.

Sc. form:Sc. 1999 Scotsman 15 Sep 9:
I couldn't begin to tell you what Pete the jannie was saying, most descriptively, about the whole business as he staggered, a long "dreep" of rain on the end of his nose and his hair plastered over his eyes, under a load of library boxes.
Abd. 2004 Press and Journal 5 Jan 12:
It's the unsung heroes - an quines - o the cooncil I think o, wi aa the preparations ower, staunnin frozen tae the marra, the dreep at their noses inta icicles bit still ere as we sat cosy at the fireside wi the easy option o the TV daarin the electricity tae ging phut.

Sc. usages:

1. Dripping, as from a roast (Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

2. The line of drip from the eaves (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10 1940). Also applied to a groove cut on the underside of a weather-stone to prevent rain-water from seeping back to the wall itself (Fif. 1953). Also fig. Comb. drip-box, a box-shaped sump in a roof-gutter for collecting water before leading it into the vertical pipe (Sc. 1973 J. Hastings Plumber's Companion 72). Sc. 1875 W. P. Buchan Plumbing 86:
Another plan in use for leading away the water from the gutters is to have drip-boxes on the top of the rain-water pipes.
Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
Ye mun bide within your ain dreep.

3. “A steady fall of light rain” (Abd.9 1945; Fif. 1949 (per Abd.27)).Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (26 Oct.) 4/7:
Although we have experienced of late a veritable “dreep” daily, yet there have been days of brilliance, all golden with sunshine.

Hence dreepie, adj., wet, rainy.Abd. 1873 P. Buchan Inglismill 28:
Sic spates o' rain, syne mochy, dreepie weather.

4. A wet, dripping condition (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940).Kcd. 1844 W. Jamie Muse 103:
They danced till in a dreep wi' sweat.

5. A ditch (Edb. 1951 Edb. Ev. News (20 Jan.)); the channel at the edge of a bowling-green (Ayr. 1975).Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 101:
It fell into the dreep, as the Hurlford collier's wife called the ditch.

6. A jump by dropping (Gsw. 1950 in Broadcast); cf. v., 4, above.Gsw. 1862 J. Gardner Jottiana 100:
Ae dreep an' Jock his safety gat.

7. “A game at marbles, in which each tries to hit and thereby win an opponent's marbles” (E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 244).Per. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.:
“Are you going to play dreep or in fun?” are you to forfeit your stakes or not?

8. A soft, ineffective, spiritless or lugubrious person; Gen.Sc. Also Sammy dreep, id. (Bnff.2, Abd.29, Per.4, Edb.5, Kcb.10 1940). Hence dreeper, n., id. (Mearns3 1916); dreepie, n., “an inactive female” (Upp. Cld. 1825 Jam.2, dreipie), adj., soft, spiritless, flabby; Gen.Sc.Sc. 1927 Spectator (5 Nov.) 171:
What can you expect of “Sammy dreeps,” “dozened idiots” or “glaikit stirks”?
Sc. 2000 Daily Record 18 Jan 34:
Journalism of the highest order, which I have cut out and sent to that lang dreep Donald Dewar with the suggestion that his government gets its finger out.
Sc. 2000 Scotsman 26 Apr 11:
I looked again and again in the phrase book for some translation of: "mae ye merch yersel tae the mools" but could find nothing. Eventually the porter I had been allocated tried to soothe me by repeating the same few words of reassurance: "Ye glaikit big dreep," he said, often with a smile.
Sc. 2000 Scotland on Sunday 12 Nov 19:
Apparently the going rate for a full day's trekking is £20 per man, but ... On the other side, it has always appeared strange that rugby should boast that it is a recreation for all shapes and sizes, fatties and man-mountains, midgets and skinny dreeps.
Edb. 1938 Fred Urquhart Time Will Knit (1988) 114:
However, Meg and Bernard went yo and stood like a couple of Sammy-dreeps while they got their photos taken.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 6:
"When I was young, two or three years ago, I could hae put eleven spits on the pavement wi mair spunk and dance in them than's in that shower of dreeps."
Arg.1 1940:
That wumman's jist a dreep. I canna thole her.
Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 20:
dreep The Scots word for drip, often used in local dialect to mean someone who is tall and skinny or an insipid person; 'Ye want tae see the big glaikit-lookin dreep she's hingin aboot wi noo.'

9. A disappointment (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Cai.7, Fif.13 1940).Sc. 1928 J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 25:
But bade her nae despair o'm yet, Or fash her beard ower sic a dreep.

10. Comb.: dreepman, an employee of a gasworks whose job it is to clear the pipes of water condensation.Edb. 1951 Edb. Ev. News (15 Jan.):
What is a dreepman? The question arose at Edinburgh Sheriff Court the other day when a man, pleading guilty by letter to a minor offence, gave this as his occupation.

[From O.E. drēopan, strong v., of which O.E. weak v. dryppan, to drip, is a deriv.]

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"Dreep v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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