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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GAWPUS, GAUPUS, n. Also gap(p)us, -as, -is, gaapus, -as, -is, gapos; gaipas. [Sc. ′gɑ(:)pəs, but Cai. + ′ge:pəs]

1. A fool, a stupid clumsy lout, an open-mouthed vacant-minded person, esp. one given to talking much and foolishly (Sc. 1808 Jam., gapus; Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 456; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 59, gaupus; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), gapos; Cai.9 1939, gaapas; Ork., Cai., ne.Sc., Ags., Fif., Edb. 1954); “an indiscreet person” (Cai.8 1934, gaipas). Also in s.Eng. dial.Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 141:
About Political Economy . . . I hae observed ae thing . . . that the greatest gawpuses are aye speakin about it.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 41:
What's the gapas feul taen twa hallows o' strae here for?
Sh. 1886 J. Burgess Sk. & Poems 54:
I winder 'at da gaapus canna see 'at dir naebody i' da hoose wantin' him.
Fif. 1890 A. Burgess Poute 119:
Ye mean greedy gawpus that ye are!
Kcd. 1934 “L. G. Gibbon” Grey Granite i. 20:
The gawpus blethered a lot of stite.
Ork. 1938 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 376:
Thoo great gowk, thoo great big stupid gappus, why did thoo no' tell me?
Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 6:
" I doot," said the postmistress, "thoo'll no git mony entries. The men in Stenwick is aafil faird for makkin' gappuses o' thirsels, an' crooners is no thowt muckle o' here onywey."
Abd. 1993:
He's jist a richt gaapus.

2. A big-mouthed person (Abd.4 1931); hence, the mouth itself.Abd.7 1925:
Apen yer gapus or I see yer teeth.

[From Gaup, gawp (in I.Sc. prob. rather from Gap-py), q.v., + -us, as in Docus, Gumpus, etc.]

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



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