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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SKELP, n.2, v.2 [skɛlp]

I. n. 1. A splinter, slice, fragment: (1) freq. of a sliver of wood lodged in the skin (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. Gl.; Inv., Mry., Abd., w.Lth., Lnk. 1968).

(2) of something larger: a big slice or chunk (Rxb. 1927 Spectator (3 Dec.) 979), a slab, as of cheese or butter (Ork., n., em.Sc.(a), Arg. 1970); fig. a long piece of recital, a Screed. Also in Eng. of a strip of metal for a gun-barrel.Slk. 1829 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) iii.:
John Grierson of the Hope recited what they called “lang skelps o' metre.”
Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 25:
Skelps o' preachin' she wad tell As guid's the minister himsel'.
m.Sc. 1996 John Murray Aspen 4:
Ah see a skelp o polished iv'rie
raxin doun tae the valley flair.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 2:
"Heilan buggers," ae weel-kent Buchan fairmer chiel caad the Howe fowk, though Gaelic hid deed oot twa hunner year or mair frae the muirs an skelps o clachans aboot the place.
Sc. 1996 Herald 5 Aug 17:
Pre-Harvest Tension was blown to smithereens, as was a fair skelp of Mossie's barley.
Sc. 2002 Press and Journal 13 Aug 6:
"I've got a good bit of ground and it's looking quite good, but I'm not much of a gardener. I'll mow the grass and that's about it. Mind you, it's a fair skelp of grass, so who knows?"
Sc. 2003 Scotland on Sunday 13 Apr 6:
If people get the chance to buy, then they might do so. That would still leave Sir Tim with around 20,000 acres which is still a fair skelp of land.

(3) esp. of ground: a long strip or expanse, an indefinite area (Inv. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I., n. and m.Sc., Rxb. 1970). Occas. also of the sea.Abd. 1891 T. Mair Arn And His Wife 58:
Wi' Jeames an' them to tear a skelp O' reask to Saunders Todd.
Knr. 1900 H. Haliburton Horace 226:
It's braw, nae doot, to read aboot A vine-clad skelp o' mountain.
Bnff. 1965 Banffshire Advert. (28 Jan.) 11:
A gweed skelp o' the Atlantic Ocean.

II. v. 1. To apply slats of wood to a broken limb for support, to put on splints (Slk. 1825 Jam.).

2. To run, break or fall into splinters, to disintegrate, split up (Cld. 1880 Jam.).

3. To slice off or pare the surface of anything, esp. of turf in digging, ploughing, etc. (Bnff. 1886 Gregor D. Bnff. 157), of wood in planing (Bnff. 1880 Jam.).

[Prob. a variant of Skelb, q.v. See also Skelf, n.2]

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"Skelp n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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