Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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.

SLAP, n.2, v.2 Also slap(p)e, slaap; †sloap, †slop(p)(e); ¶slab; misprinted shap (Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 234). Dim. slappie. [slɑp]

I. n. 1. A gap or opening in a wall, fence, hedge or the like, whether intentionally or accidentally caused, a breach (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor Gl.). Gen.Sc. Phr. to draw a thorn in a slap, to close a loophole, to prevent possible harm or damage, to forestall trouble.Abd. 1703 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 197:
For mending a slape of my yeard in the Greine.
m.Lth. 1712 J. Monro Letters (1722) 64:
The roaring, battering Pieces of his Father's Wrath, made great Slaps in our Partition-wall.
Sh. a.1725 T. Gifford Hist. Descr. Zetland (1879) 75:
Each winter slop found in their decks after the first of May.
Edb. 1767 Session Papers, Dick v. Tennent Proof 28:
These dikes were all rags and slaps since he remembers.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Death Poor Mailie vii.:
To slink thro' slaps, an' reave an' steal, At stacks o' pease, or stocks o' kail.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. i.:
He broke down a slap in a dry stone fence.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. ii.:
I wad e'en draw a thorn in that slap, — I wad make him keep the cauld side of the wall and her the warm side.
e.Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 376:
After harvest, when the crop was secured in the stack and the barnyard slap built up.
Slg. 1869 St Andrews Gazette (3 April):
I see your tups comin thro' the slap again.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xxvii.:
There at the gate-slap I leaped down.
Ork. 1912 J. Omond 80 Years Ago 7:
The cattle came to their own slap at night themselves waiting to be taken home.
Ags. 1947 J. B. Salmond Toby Jug ii.:
The girls walked through the slap in the dyke.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick iii.:
A ‘slappie' between the henhouse and the peatshed.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 33:
The puir wally-draigle his ae fuit has liftit
syne stoppit afore he's oniethan duin.
Nae stobs has he biggit, nae slaps has he reddit,
naethan tae shaw aa this time on the muin.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen Seventeen Poems 5:
I can mind the ducks waddlin oot the gate to dook.
And Peter goose takin oot his wives
through the slap - hissin and streekin his neck.

2. A gap to admit or let out water in a dam, drain, ditch, etc.Ork. 1708 County Folk-Lore III. 133:
The said day the minister reported that being informed that Kathrine Brown . . . had been employing one Kathrine Taylor, a cripple beggar woman in Stromness, to come to her house and wash the said William, who had been long sick and afflicted in his bed, that by her Sorcerie and charming he might come to his health, and that the said Kathrine Brown coming to a Common Slap on the high way carrying the water wherewith the said William was allegit to be washed, in a large Stoup . . . about one or two hours in the morning, and emptying the said Stoup in the said Slap.
Ags. 1727 Arbroath Town Council Records MS. (28 Feb.):
To visit the Bishop Loch and make report of the Condition of the furs and slaps of the Ditches there.
Dmb. 1848 Session Cases (1847–8) 527:
When Inzever dam was full of water, there was a slap at the east end from which the water was carried.

3. A gap or open space temporarily left in a salmon weir to allow the fish to swim further up the river to the spawning-ground unhindered; specif. in comb. Saturday('s) slap, the period during the week-end from Saturday night till Monday morning, fixed by law for the free passage of fish up a river.Sc. 1701 Fountainhall Decisions II. 123:
He had observed the Saturday's slop.
Sc. 1743 Falconer Decisions 161:
During the Saturday's Slop, the Defender ought to lay by the Inscales in all and every one of the Cruives.
Abd. 1796 Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 153:
Said dike now extends across the river from bank to bank, excepting a slop or opening in the main grain for letting up the fish.
Sc. 1824 Farmer's Mag. (May) 171:
The Saturday's slap was introduced, which consists in raising the bars of the cruives for the space of an ell (about a yard) from six o'clock on Saturday evening till sunrise on Monday morning.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (26 Oct.) 2:
In an instant he [a salmon] was through the “slap” in the cauld.
Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 80:
Where fishing is by cruive, the trap must be open from Saturday at sundown to Monday, sunrise. This is sometimes called Saturday's or Setterday's slop or slap.

4. A narrow passage or lane running between houses (Mry., Bnff. 1970), or between a house below street level and the street itself (Mry. 1970).Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 54:
A “slappie” on the other side of the street.
Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 27:
It's the first time A iver kent him fa' doon the slappie afore the door.

5. A pass or shallow valley between hills (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., w.Lth., wm.Sc. 1970). Freq. in place-names.Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuick Tweeddale 10:
The Water of Line hath its first Spring near the Coldstaine Slap.
Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 223:
O'er ilka Cleugh, ilk Scar and Slap.
Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 357:
A hollow slope or declivity, known by the name of the Caldstane Slap.
Ags. 1885 A. Jervise Memorials II. 75:
The road from Brechin to Dundee by Lucky Slap.
Sc. 1896 Stevenson W. of Hermiston vi.:
The Slap opened like a doorway between two rounded hillocks.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 59:
Through ‘The Nick,' a slap nearby Cardon.
Sc. 1924 Scots Mag. (April) 43:
I ken yer road by bog an' bent — Ilk slap an' rocky steep.

6. A nick or notch, an irregularity in the edge of a metal blade (Uls. 1953 Traynor).Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 33:
You [a razor]'re just as rough 's a tenor saw, An' fu' o' slaps.

7. A gap in the ranks (of an army or the like).Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace vii. i.:
This fresh Releif so eager fought and keen, And made such Slaps as never yet was seen 'Mongst Englishmen.
Abd. 1746 S.C. Misc. (1841) I. 376:
I hear many of them are killed; yea, Inverury made a slap among some of them.
Lnl. 1868 A. Dawson Rambling Recoll. 35:
These triumphs made many slaps in the ranks of the regiment.

8. In extended senses: a gap in gen., a hole, a lacuna, a missing part, a break in continuity; an emptiness, lack, want (Sh., Ags., Kcb. 1970). Phr. to kep a slap, to fill a gap, to tide over a period of dearth, etc., to act as a makeshift.Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 81:
The taties kep an' unco' slap When meal is dear!
Sc. 1860 W. G. Stewart Lectures on Mts. II. 89:
Brogues of untanned hide, with slaps to let out the water when it got in.
Bwk. 1863 A. Steel Poems 63:
What can on earth the slap repair That Death has made.
Dmf. 1954:
A ploughing match on his ground didn't do a farmer that much good, because often he was left with slaps between the rigs which he had to plough himself afterwards.
em.Sc.(a)  1970:
She hasna that slappie atween the teeth for naething, i.e. she is fond of the men.

9. Comb. slap-riddle, †slab-, also in reduced form slap, a riddle with wide meshes used to separate grain from broken straw (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.).Ags. 1714 Glamis Estate Papers MSS. (28 Sept.):
Ane Slab ridle, and two Wheat ridles.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephen Bk. Farm II. 333:
The slap-riddles are ¾ inch, and 1 inch in the meshes.

II. v. 1. tr. In Building: to make a gap or break in (a wall or the like) or for (a door, window, etc.), to breach, broach (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc.Gsw. 1703 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) 363:
Diverse persons, doe break, slope and hole the glass windows and leads of the high Church.
Bnff. 1726 Boharm Parish Mag. (Dec. 1894):
Slapping and building ane door and window.
Ayr. 1747 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (28 May):
Slapping and Inputing Doors & windows.
Slg. 1787 Session Papers, Petition J. Scrymgeour (22 June) 2:
To slap or pare away part of the southmost half of the gable.
Fif. 1864 St Andrews Gazette (23 April):
Four new windows have been slapped out.
Abd. 1923 W. D. Simpson Cas. Kildrummy 259:
A window was afterwards slapped out here.
Edb. 1948:
The wa's tae be slapped and a door made intae the room.

2. To open a gap in a salmon cruive, weir, or net to allow the fish to proceed unimpeded (Abd. 1970). Cf. I. 3.Sc. 1950 Hansard CCCCLXXXII. 1200:
It takes from two to six hours to ‘slap' the nets on a sea station.

3. To thin out or single (seedlings or small plants) (ne.Sc. 1970).Abd. 1957 Huntly Express (28 June):
The precision sower on the other hand makes singling unnecessary, and in some cases there is little to do in the way of slapping.

4. To make a notch or nick in, to mark with a notch or nick. Ppl.adj. slapped, slappit, notched, roughened at the edge, indented (Sh. 1970).Mry. 1725 W. Cramond Grant Ct. Bk. (1897) 26:
A horse slaped in the right lug.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 34:
I canna think how ye [a razor] can be Sae blunt an' slappit.

5. To dress grain with a slap-riddle, “to separate grain, that is thrashed, from the broken straw and coarser chaff, by means of a riddle, before it be winnowed” (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.). Cf. I. 9.

6. With up: to fill or patch up (a hole) in a careless or clumsy way. Poss. a mistake for Stap, v.Kcd. 1819 J. Burness Plays, etc. 283:
Wi' strae they slap up a' the pores.

[O.Sc. slop, a gap, opening, 1375, in a weir, 1424, to make a gap, 1516, slap, 1547, Mid. Du., M.L.Ger. slop, gap, narrow entrance, Flem. slop, opening in a dam. For a < o, see P.L.D. § 54.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Slap n.2, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: