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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LIVER, n.1 Sc. usages. Adj. livery, stuffed with liver (see quots. below). Attrib. in combs.: 1. liver-bannocks, a kind of sandwich of two oat-cakes baked with fish-livers between them (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1961); 2. liver-croos, see 10.; 3. liver-cruke, -crook, an intestinal inflammation in calves (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). See Cruik, n., 8. (4); 4. liver-cup, a kind of pie or pastry-case filled with fish-livers, covered with strips of dough and baked on the hearth (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1961); 5. liver-downie, -dounie [′dʌuni], a dish of potatoes, fish and fresh fish-livers mashed together, common in Cai. up to the end of the 19th c. Also in form livery-downie, “a haddock stuffed with livers, meal, and spiceries; sometimes the roe is added” (Ags. 1808 Jam.); 6. liver-drink, in phr. to get one's or gie one his liver-drink, to get one's or give one his death, a knock-out blow, severe retribution, used in threats, etc. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1961); Jak. suggests that this is an ironical usage of O.N. lífs drykkr, a life-giving drink. Cf. Helly, 2. (1); 7. liver-flackies, -flakkis, two half-dried young coalfish filletted and roasted on the hearth with fish-livers spread between them (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1961); 8. liver-grass, the liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha.  9. liver-head, the head, usu. of a cod or ling, stuffed with fish-livers and boiled; 10. liver-kroos, -krus, a pie of the sort described in 4., baked in a cruse or small oil-vessel, later in a scooped-out potato (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 136, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1961); 11. liver-køde, -køthe, -kjud, see quot. and Cuithe; also a nickname for an inhabitant of Dunrossness in Shetland (Sh. 1960 New Shetlander No. 54 29, -kjud); 12. liver-kuttie, sim. to 1. See Kutty; 13. liver-muggie, -moggie, the stomach of a cod stuffed with fish liver and boiled (Sh. 1808 Jam., 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1961). Also livered moggie. See Muggie; 14. liver-piltock, see 11. and quot. s.v.; 15. liver rock, a rock of homogeneous sandstone without planes of stratification (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 42), so called from its appearance; 16. livery foal, a thick cake made with oatmeal and fish-livers and boiled with the fresh fish (Ork. 1902 E.D.D.). See Fole.3. Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 149:
Calves, during the first three or four weeks, are sometimes seized with an inflammation in the intestines, provincially called liver-crook or strings. It is attended with a strangury, and seldom cured.
5. Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April):
Articles of food that we would turn up our noses at were then deemed luxuries. How many have tasted “liverdownie,” “ lown” milk, “brochan” or “clapshot?”
6. Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl. 25:
Dou's gotten dy liver-drink, meaning that death is near at hand; applied to man or beast.
Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 134:
Come do ower daal and link And I'll gie de dy liver-drink.
8. Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 60: 
Lichen, and liver grass And the moss-willow.
9.Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 177:
The liver of the fish was extensively used in a fresh state, and entered into the formation of numerous nutritious dishes, such as stap, gree'd fish, liver heads.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 33:
Ta tell wis at liver heads an' stap is guid fur wis.
11. Sh. 1897 J. Jakobsen Dial. Shet. 20:
In Dunrossness the “liver-piltocks,” piltocks roasted on the fire with the livers inside, were called “liver-kødes” or “køthes.”
13. Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 553:
Another favourite Shetland dainty is known by the name of “Cropping Moggies”, consisting of the liver of the cod mixed with flour and spice, and boiled in the fish's stomach, … in the plainer form of “livered moggies” the flour and spice are absent.
Sh. 1948 C. E. Mitchell Up-Helly-Aa 77:
And so on the aff-lay would go, ranging from Greenland whalers or “ castin' peats” to “ sookit pilticks”, “liver muggies” and “ stap”.
15. Edb. 1835 Trans. Highl. Soc. 81:
This quarry [Craigleith] produces two kinds of rock very diffferent in quality, the one being of a fine cream colour, termed “liver-rock”.
Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 803:
Some of the sandstone beds produce building materials of good quality; but there seems to be none of great thickness, or of the sort called liver-rock.
Mry.4 1932:
He told me that there was part of the rock in most of the “freestone” quarries in Moray, more especially that of Spynie, that had no graining or bed, and it would split equally well either down or across. This rock they call “liver” rock.

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"Liver n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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