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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

TREEPLE, n., v. Also treple, tripple; trebble, trible. [tripl]

I. n. 1. A kind of dance step, consisting of three movements, a three-step; the music for this. Cf. Nhb. dial. treble, id.Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 18:
We'll sen' for fiddling Alic, and the piper he'll play treple.

2. By extension: a movement in the sea caused by the swell of the tide. Phr. the tripple o' tide, see quot.Abd. 1886 Folk-Lore Journal IV. 9:
When the tide is running on the parts of the sea between the shallows and the deeps there is commonly a good deal of swell, and, if the weather is in the least rough, great care must be taken in passing through the swell. It is called “the tripple o' tide.”

II. v. 1. To treble, to increase threefold (ne.Sc. 1973).Abd. 1903 J. Milne Myths 28:
Legg went in amongst the machinery and did something which “treepled” the speed.

2. tr. and intr. To play (a tune) in triple time or dance to it, to waltz; to beat time with the feet to a dance tune (Mry., Abd. 1973). See also Threeple, v., 2.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 379:
He can cut double quick time, and trible Bob Major.
m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 50:
Sing awa', ye wavelets merry, Dance and trebble on the shore.
Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 93:
Or Johnny Cope, wi' triplin' step, He's ready aye to sing.
Slg. 1901 R. Buchanan Works 139:
Cutting, shuffling, and treepling wi' their feet.
e.Lth. 1964 J. F. and T. M. Flett Trad. Dancing 260, 264:
The art of “treepling” in social dances — the art of beating out the rhythm of the music with the feet — is one of the lesser-known features of Scottish dancing that has almost entirely disappeared. . . . Although the term “treepling” is presumably derived from the name of the treble movement described above, the treepling steps used within living memory do not necessarily contain the treble movement.

[Sc. forms of triple, treble, phs., in the usages referring to dancing, conflated with Eng. tripple, freq. form of trip. O.Sc. treeple, triple, 1650.]

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"Treeple n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jun 2022 <>



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