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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WHEEP, v., n., int. Also wheap. [ʍip]

I. v. 1. To emit a sharp shrill noise from the pursed lips, to whistle (Sc. 1808 Jam., “at intervals”) esp. as a call to a dog, or to attract attention (ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), wm., sm.Sc., Rxb., Uls. 1974); to blow on a whistle; to pipe shrilly as a bird (Rxb. 1974), esp. the lapwing (ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1974). Phr. to wheep on one's thoom, see Thoum, n., 1. (23).Sc. 1844 Songs for Nursery 25:
When ye on your whussill wheep, Roun' our ain fire-end.
Ags. 1898 A. H. Rea Divot Dyke 70:
Hoo mony chickens hae ye cheepin' Hoo mony's oot and taen to wheepin'.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe (1950) 58:
The peesies wheeping about in the moon.

2. To make a shrill noise in gen., to squeak (Sc. 1808 Jam.), emit a high-pitched buzz, hum or hiss (ne.Sc. 1974). Vbl.n. wheeper.Ags. 1897 F. Mackenzie Northern Pine 74:
They maun a' be started wi' the wheeper (John Tosh's irreverent name for the tuning-fork).
Kcd. 1932 L. G. Gibbon Sunset Song (1937) 98:
Binder and reaper clattered and wheeped through the brittle weather that held the Howe.

II. n. A sharp shrill cry or whistle (Sc. 1888 C. Mackay Dict. Lowl. Sc. 273; n.Sc., Ags., Per. 1974). Phr. no a wheep, not a cheep, no sound at all.Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 115:
Tho' noo a vexin', sickly wheap, Is a' thy sang.
Ags. 1879 J. Guthrie Poems 56:
You didna need to roar to Dan — Just gie a wheep.
Ags. 1894 “Vathek” Brechin 8:
It takes a noise almost enough to wake the dead to get people to start work, it only requires one short, sharp “wheep” to get them to leave off.
Cai. c.1930:
I never heard a wheep. No a wheep oot o' him.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 64:
They are lowsed fae routine's sweaty wheel
and the clickin wheep o the clock.

III. int. An excl. meant to represent a whistle.Sc. 1826 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 302:
Whistle, whistle, auld wife, And ye'se get a man. Wheep, whaup, quo' the wife; I'll whistle as I can.

[Echoic. For freq. forms see Wheeple.]

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"Wheep v., n., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2022 <>



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