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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEADER, n. Also †liedar. Sc. usages:

1. A carter, one who carries goods in a vehicle (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 41). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1706 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 438:
For a quart eall to the dykers and leaders of the stanes … 4s. 0.
Edb. 1887 Jam. Suppl.:
Until comparatively late years the occupation of water-carrier was followed by a large number of men and women; some carried by hand … and some by cart — those were the leaders.

2. Curling: the first player on each side in a game (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 166:
Next Robin o' Mains, a leader good, Close to the witter drew.

3. Mining: “one who conducts the putting down of a bore-hole” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 41). Comb. small leader, one who inspects the quality of the coal at the pit-head (em.Sc. 1842 Children in Mines Report (2) 435).

4. A water-pipe. Also in U.S.Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 161:
A … leader, that was inserted into the bank, guiding or leading the water which ran from the Queen's Well.

5. A tributary of a stream (Cai., Uls. 1960).Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Nat. Hist. E. Borders 15:
The leaders to these burns are, in some places, called sykes.

6. A tendon, sinew (Gall. 1902 E.D.D.; I.Sc., Cai., Fif., Lth., Ayr., sm. and s.Sc. 1960). Also in Eng. dial.Fif. 1890 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 39:
A tendon is a leader or a sinon.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 13:
A've streended the leaders o ma neck.
sm.Sc. 1928 R. W. Mackenna Rowan Tree viii.:
The “contrackit leader” in the palm of his left hand.

7. The messenger-rope of a line of drift-nets, the heavy cable below the nets when suspended in the water (Bnff., Abd. 1972 Patterns in Folk-Speech (Wakelin) 16). Hence leader-box, the compartment in a boat where this is stowed.Abd. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 20:
Then stowed them quately in the leader-box.

8. A branch or extended arm of a salmon-net designed to lead the fish into the main trap (Cai., ne.Sc., Bwk., Kcb. 1960).Kcd. 1959 Scotsman (25 March):
In the lower picture a crew have loaded their coble with “leader” and “bag” nets.
Dmf. 1959 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (24 Jan.):
The stake salmon net is stretched on stakes, and has at least one enclosed “chamber” into which the fish are guided from different directions by arms known as the ebb arm, the flood arm and the cross arm. The cross arm or the “leader” is extended across the direction of the tide.

9. ? One of the hooks or chains on a set of haims to which the traces are attached.Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) II. 167:
For one paire of Iorn liedars to hems, and mending a paire of hems. … 1s. 4d.

[O.Sc. ledar, a carter, 1456.]

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"Leader n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Dec 2022 <>



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