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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STOUP, n., v. Also stoop, stowp; stup (Sc. 1713 Acct. Growth of Popery 27), stupesteupt (Ork. 1726 P. Ork. A.S. VI. 31); misprinted sloop (Rnf. 1761 W. M. Metcalfe Lordship Paisley (1912) 51). [stup; Abd. + stʌup; Fif. støp, step (see etym. note).]

I. n. 1. A wooden post, pillar or prop, e.g. a chair or table leg, a bed- or gate-post, etc. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., Cai., Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh., Abd., Fif., Lth., Ayr., Kcb. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. Comb. bed-stoup.Edb. 1702 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 7:
Two new stoups for supporting the jeasts in Lindsayes milne eight pound.
Sc. 1711 J. Kirkwood Hist. 27 Gods Lnl. 26:
Mr. Kirkwood, thinking to save himself, claspt his Arms closely round about the Stoup of a Bed.
Peb. 1720 C. B. Gunn Cross Kirk (1914) 96:
He craved that he might set a seat on the other side of that stoop. One of the new stoops of the Earl's loft.
Gsw. 1726 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 265:
For setting eight lamp posts and fastening the stoups and causseying about the same.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 226:
A chair, with one carved bar close to the bottom behind, eight other turned bars, the stoops and four cross bars in the back.
Arg. 1756 P. Macintyre Odd Incidents (1904) 23:
The height of the stoops [of a peat-creel] nearest the horse side to be twenty-seven inches.
Abd. 1758 Aberdeen Jnl. (25 Apr.):
Deals, Fir-Logs, Oak-garrons, Bed-Stoups.
Rnf. 1791 A. Wilson Poems 184:
Your Saw-pit stoops, like wans, are shaking.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 199:
Like ane o' the stoops o' your yett.
Rnf. 1852 J. Mitchell Grey Goose Quill 114:
I'll set it down at his loom stoop.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 119:
His bowie legs, like creukid girds Wur trumblan like twa toolter stoops.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (2 June):
I raepid up me line an' set her at da stoop o' da mill.
Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (March) 447:
Sin' thir's ae word gin I suld speak Wad gar its very stoups to rock.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 17. 15:
The grinnd, swinging in its wooden harr, had been repaired bar and stoop time and again.
Sc. 1991 John McDonald in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 90:
A stowp stobbed i the steirin sauns
o the warl's indifference.

Phrs. and combs.: (1) 'four stoops and an o'er-tree, used jocularly to describe a lean worn-out horse (Lth. 1825 Jam.); (2) stoup-bed, a poster-bed (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; w.Lth. 1971), esp. one with short legs and no canopy; (3) stoup-net, a salmon fishing-net stretched between three poles (see quot.); (4) the (four) stoups o misery, the weaving-trade, from the four posts of the hand-loom and the poor living it provided in the 19th c. in competition with the factory power-looms of the industrial areas. Hist.(3) Sc. 1758 Session Papers, Erskine v. Magistrates Stirling (11 July) 8:
The Stoup-Net Fishing is performed after this Manner: There is a Rope stretched betwixt two Stakes, fastened in that Part of the River intended to be fished. To this Rope are fastened Boats in which the Fishers sit. The Stoup-net is made of three Poles, joined together in the Form of an equilateral Triangle, round which the Net is fastened. The Base of the Triangle, or Bottom of the Net, rests upon the Ground, and to the Angle at the Top is fixed a Pole, which the Fisher holds in his Hand, till he feel a Salmon strike in the Net, and then by bending down the long Pole, or Handle, over the Edge of the Boat, he forces up the Net with the Fish in it. This your Lordships see must be but a very inconvenient Way of Fishing, and therefore it is used only in such Parts of the River, where, by reason of Stones. Roots of Trees, or other Obstructions. no other Kind of Nets can be drawn.
em.Sc. 1755 Morison Decisions 14271:
The stoop-net, being a species of the pock-net, the pursuers are debarred by the said act from fishing on the said river. above the Pow of Alloa, with pock-nets. stoop-nets, or herry-water nets.
(4) Ags. 1891 Brechin Advert. (3 March) 3:
By gude luck he wasna tied to the four stoups o' misery.
Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 92:
Nae mair o' the stoops o' meesery for me.
Fif. 1952 P. K. Livingstone Flax, etc. 10:
The handlooms came to be designated “the four stoops o' misery.”

2. The butt-end of the under-rail of a farm cart on which it rests when tilted (ne.Sc. 1971); the stilt or handle of a plough (Abd. 1971).Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb i.:
Fat's the eese o' that lang stoups ahin', aw wud like to ken?
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. iii.:
The tane heild up the cairt on her stoups, the tidder took aff the wheels.

3. A wooden seat set up at a front-door.Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 206:
Leeb sat down on the “stoop” or wooden bench by the door.

4. A post marking out a circular race-track, esp. the turning-post and winning-post (Sc. 1808 Jam.); a person standing for the same purpose.Sc. 1700 Edb. Gazette (21 March):
2 Horses which did not run the whole course, but only to the farest Stoup and back again.
Lnk. 1719 Burgh Rec. Lnk. (1893) 300:
The magistrats to be judges in the rydeing and turneing the stoups.
Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) III. 58:
Women upon horses, some with short coats, others with sogars coats, who, by turning of the stoup, fell from the horses.
Dmf. 1755 Session Papers, Kirk Sessions Dumfries, etc. (Feb.):
It being the place at which the race was to terminate, and the winning-stoop, the race could not be won till one of the parties reached that stoop.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 65:
The only twa things he ca's guid 'S a startin' stupe, — a horse o' bluid.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 16:
Cheek-for-chow, outstript the wind, At ithers elbows jinkin The stoop that day!
Slk. 1817 Hogg Tales (1874) 155:
At the distance of 500 yards there was a man placed, whom they denominated the stoop, and who had his hat raised on the end of his staff. Around this stoop they were to run and return to the starting-place.

5. The pillar of a gateway (Sh., Abd. 1971).Abd. 1903 Abd. Weekly Jnl. (13 May):
The most notorious place in this locality was the Stoops of Brucklay — the hollow in front of the Wittingshill Lodge.

6. A pillar of coal left in mining to support the roof of the working (e.Lth. 1881 J. Sands Sk. Tranent 30; Fif., Lth., Lnk., Ayr. 1971). Phrs. in or up stoop (see 1886 quot.). Deriv. stooper, a miner who cuts away the stoups after the rest of the coal has been removed (Sc. 1927 Dict. Occupational Terms (H.M.S.O.) 42). Also attrib. in stoop road, a road cut in the solid coal between stoups (Sc. 1883 W. S. Gresley Gl. Coal-Mining 243), stoop-side.Fif. 1725 Hist. MSS. Comm. X. App. i. 154:
He must take great care that the wideness of the rooms and largeness of the stoups be according to the goodness of the roof and the hardness of the coal.
m.Lth. 1762 Session Papers, Drummond v. Ferrier (29 Jan.) 8:
He may cut away his Neighbour's Stoops or Pillars, which support the Roof.
Gsw. 1842 Children in Mines Report (2) 355:
When taking out pillars or stoops there was no regular hour.
Lnk. 1875 T. Stewart Doric Rhyme 197:
Cuttin' their capers in style, are oor stoopers.
Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 69:
A working room is up stoop or in stoop when its length is equal to the side of the pillar to be formed.
e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie iv.:
Hanging his lighted lamp on the stoopside.
Lnk. 1893 T. Stewart Among The Miners 50:
These stoops contain generally from six to nine hundred tons of coal.

Combs. (1) stoup-and-room, a method of working coal by cutting out the seam into a network of passages or “rooms” leaving pillars of coal between, which support the roof and are hewn away when the rest of the coal has been removed (Sc. 1886 J.Barrowman Mining Terms 56; Fif., Ayr. 1971), = Eng. pillar-and-stall. Now obsol. but still used when a mine is being newly cut and air-ducts are being made (Fif. 1970); (2) stoop-and-thirl (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 64), -throw, -througher, id. See Thirl, Throu, Thrower.(1) Fif. 1841 Trans. Highl. Soc. 303:
The old and most common method is called “the Post and Stall”, or “Stoup and Room,” according to which two-thirds of the coal are wrought, and one-third is left in pillars (posts or stoups) for the support of the superincumbent strata.
Fif. 1934 Econ. Geol. Fife Coalfields II. 75:
To the north of Kelty Nos. 1 and 2 Pits, where the seam was worked “stoop and room,” the stoops may yet be recovered.
(2) Lnl. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVIII. 436:
With regard to the manner of working the coal . . ., what is called stoop and throw, has been found the most eligible.
Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 663:
The common mode of working the coal at Thornton is what is technically termed “stoop and througher”. The working rooms are 13 feet wide, and the pillars 15 feet; the width of the rooms contracting on nearing the crop. or where the roof is insecure.

7. Fig. A loyal and enthusiastic supporter of a cause or institution, esp. of a church, a staunch adherent, patron or ally (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Per., wm.Sc. 1971), = Eng. “pillar.”Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 217:
Dalhousie of an auld Descent, My Chief, my Stoup and Ornament.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 104:
The shinin' stoops o' their profession.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Annals xxviii.:
He was likely to prove a stoop and upholding pillar to the Kirk of Scotland.
Sc. 1823 Scots Mag. (May) 572:
As if I were a' her stoop an stay in this warld.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie i.:
Wishin' mysel' a stoop strong enough to uphaud them a'.
Ags. 1868 G. Webster Strathbrachan III. xx.:
Sir Richard, wha is the stoop and standard o' the house.
Lth. 1894 P. Hunter J. Inwick 136:
A main stoop o' the pairty up by.
Sc. 1908 Gsw. Ballad Club III. 214:
He's a stoup o' the Kirk, an' he gangs to Communion.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chronicle (25 Feb.) 4:
A stoup in the old Relief Kirk.

8. A prop, support, encouragen ment; the mainstay or chief element in anything.Knr. 1894 H. Haliburton Furth in Field 52:
Drinking and tippling were the “stoops” of enjoyment.
Abd. 1922 Abd. Univ. Rev. (Nov.) 25:
Wi' her wirds stoups to my he'rt I've warstl't throw an' deen my pairt.

II. v. 1. To prop up, support. Ppl.adj. stouped, furnished with stoups or posts, of a bed. Hence four-stoopit, four-po sted (Ags. 1793 Private MS.).Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. I. 65:
One stouped bed with curtains.
Rnf. 1757 Session Papers, Govan v. Govan (29 Nov.) 46:
There were two stooped beds and a closs bed in the house.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 28:
A stoupit caff-bed, an' the teikin'.
Dmf. 1842 Carlyle Letters (Bliss 1953) 142:
We set up the poor blown holly, he and I; stooped it sufficiently with sticks.
Bnff. 1933 M. Symon Deveron Lays 28:
To lie aside my ain In Mains's stoupet bed.

2. To cut away coal in the stoup and room method. Vbl.n. stouping, = I. 6.Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw xxxiv.:
A very great quantity of fire among the old stoopings. . . . They are “stooping“ now.
Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 64:
Stooped, [having] the pillars or stoops extracted. Stooped waste, stoop and room workings where the pillars have been worked out. Stooping, the process of extracting stoops.

[O.Sc. stoup, post, 1420, pillar of coal, 1532, turning-post in a racecourse, 1648, a supporter, a.1572, Mid.Eng. stulp, stowpe, O.N. stolpe, a pillar. The Fif. form [støp] however suggests M.L.Ger., Mid. Du. stupe, a [whipping-] post, from which some Mid.Eng. forms may also be derived, and which is thought to be ultimately of the same orig.]

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"Stoup n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



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