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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KYPE, n. Also kip(e), keyp, cype, cuyp; erroneously clype (Ags. 1942 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 110); and dims. in -ie. [kəip]

1. (1) A small scooped-out hollow in the ground, gen. for use in the game of marbles (Abd. 1825 Jam., Abd. 1956 J. Murray Rural Rhymes 33; n.Sc., Ags. 1960). Also fig.Abd. 1831 Aberdeen Mag. 398:
The remains of several kypes which we well remember to have dug with our own particular fingers.
Abd. 1840 W. D. Geddes Mem. J. Geddes (1899) 20 Note:
There was in old time a flaw in the stone which made a cup-like hollow, which we boys used as a “cuypie” in playing at marbles.
Abd. 1891 Trans. Bch. Field Club II. 15:
Pirlin' aboot the kype with their bools.
Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. vi. 149:
The snawbree in kypes a' ower the fleer.
Bnff. 1946 Abd. Press & Jnl. (21 Sept.) 2:
The one [cottage] I was born in had a tiny floor, and on wet days my chums and I used to “howk a kypie” and play “bools” at the fireside.
ne.Sc. 1994 Alastair Mackie in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 92:
And whaur the weather and time and the grunstane o coontless cairt-wheels wi their airn-shod rims had worn awa a bit o the surface to mak a sma hole - there was oor kype whaur we rowed oor fawn picks, or baal-bearins or gless bools wi a twist o colour in their herts,

(2) A game played with marbles aimed at a hole in the ground (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1857 Banffshire Jnl. (25 April 1916) 3; ne.Sc., Ags. 1960). (See also 1980 quot.) Comb. kypie-holie, id.Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 87:
Adam was never away frae among the men since the day that Eve and himself played at the Kypie hole.
Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 31:
We all played . . . with the “bools” at the “winning ring”, “kypie”, and “hard nickle doon”.
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o' Buchan 19:
Eidently they ply the bools at ringie an' the kype.
ne.Sc. 1980 James Fowler Fraser Doctor Jimmy 4-5:
The games of the school were the conventional ones of the time. We played rather an unorthodox game with marbles or the 'bools' as they were called. The shed in the school playground had a pillar in the middle and there were two small holes made in the cement, one at each end a short distance from the end, so we played by rolling the marbles at brightly-coloured glass balls which were known as 'glessers'. The nearest one was played from the hole near the end; that was called the "short kypie". The middle of the shed was the "polar". Then there was the "long kypie" and the "end of the sheddie". Boys would bowl at one another's "bools" and each one that missed was kept by the boy with the "glesser"; if you hit the "glesser", then you got it and the other boy had a shot at it. This would go on interminably.

2. A game played with a wooden bat and a soft ball, a hole in the ground being guarded by the batsman who must give up the bat to anyone succeeding in pitching the ball in (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1907 County of Cai. (Horne) 77, Cai.1 c.1920).

[O.Sc. kype, a game of marbles or of ball, 1647. Prob. O.E. cýpe, a basket, L.Ger. kipe, id., extended to anything of a hollow concave shape. Cf. Eng. dial. kipe, a basket of this shape.]

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"Kype n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jun 2024 <>



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