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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HORNER, n. 1. A maker of articles from horn, esp. horn-spoons or combs (Abd.16 c.1890), gen. one of the tinker class who specialised in this.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 295:
Sup with your Head, the Horner is dead, he's dead that made the Munns. Spoken to a Child when he calls for a Spoon for any liquid Thing, advising him rather to take it out of the Pipkin with his Mouth, as Ladies do Tea or Coffee.
Fif. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 I 458:
There are a few persons, called tinkers and horners, half-resident, and half-itinerant, who are feared and suspected by the community.
Sc. 1817 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 157:
Sometimes they [tinkers] were called Horners, from their occupation in making and selling horn spoons, called cutties.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 159:
The horner supplied the community with spoons: and the essential implement of his craft was the wooden “caums,” wherein the horn — cut up and partly dressed — after being reduced to a state of greater pliability by heating, was moulded into the form of a “cutty.”
Bwk. 1905 R. Gibson Old Bwk. Town 222:
Another industry . . . was that of horn-spoon making. The horner trade was confined to the families of the Gordons and the Youngs.

2. A person treated as if he had been put to the horn and declared a rebel, someone “sent to Coventry” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.). See Horn, v., 4.

3. An earwig, a horn-gollach s.v. Golach (Mry. 1880–1957; Ags. 1957).Ags. 1920 D. H. Edwards Men & Manners 239:
Fat we ca' a horner's juist the common name for earwig.

4. A sand-eel, Ammodytes. Cf. Hornel, id., for which this may be an error.Lth. 1837 Wernerian Soc. Mem. VII. 391:
In Edinburgh they receive the name of horners, and are brought to market in August, and sold by the dozen.

[Horn + -er.]

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"Horner n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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