Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

CLOOT' CLOUT, Kloot, n.1 The spelling clout often conceals a [klut] pronunciation.

1. A patch. Last quot. in N.E.D. for clout is 1719. Gen.Sc. Abd.4 1928:
Pit a cloot abeen a cloot, An' that 'ill turn the win' aboot.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) v.:
They're scarce o' cloots that mend their hose wi' dockens.
Edb. 1922 P. Macgillivray Bog-Myrtle and Peat Reek 39:
The thackit riggin' needs a clout — The place is cauld an' bare.
Dmf. [1777] J. Mayne Siller Gun (1808) 11:
Nae matter tho' the cloot that eeks Is black or blue.

Hence †cloutry, patchwork. Used fig. in quot. Sc. 1723 R. Wodrow Analecta (Maitland Club 1843) III. 15:
Everything is judiciously drauen out of Holy Writ, and not by way of cloutry out of human authors.

2. A thin metal patch used for strengthening a shoe, “the box of a wheel” (Fif.1 1936), or “the barrel of a ploughshare” (Abd.2 1936). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Sc. 1702 Household Bk. Lady Grisell Baillie (S.H.S. 1911) 11:
For puting one a new plate on the coch and new clouts . . . ¥6. 0. 0. Scots.
Sc. 1809 T. Donaldson Poems 32:
Had ye [the shoemaker] but tauk'd about the yarn, The needle, or the clout.
Abd.(D) 1920 G. P. Dunbar Guff o' Peat Reek 28:
His shop — he wis a vricht, ye ken — Wis steerin wi' the guff O' fooshty timmer, cloots, an' spells — Nae winner he teen snuff.

3. A rag, a piece of cloth; a cloth, often such as is used for housework, e.g. a dishcloth or duster. Gen.Sc. Ork.(D) 1904 Dennison Orcad. Sk. 23:
The g'aists o' the deid folk wad hae torn her tae cloots an' sheu hed no ims'd her [made haste].
Abd.4 1930:
Tie a cloot roon her harns. (Advice for alleviating a headache.)
Hdg. 1876 J. Teenan Song and Satire 16:
Then wi' her besom an' her cloot She sets tae work tae dust an' soop.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Thir Notandums v.:
The table cloot, that by way of a daidly was preened wi' a wee siller saumon. In pl.: “pieces of shirt, etc. torn up and used to serve the purpose of socks” (Ayr.4 1928); “strips of cloth wrapped round the shins (above the stockings) to protect them” (Abd.22 c.1890).

Phrases: (1) a cauld cloot, a “wet blanket”; (2) as fite as a cloot, with a face like a clout, as white as a sheet; (3) a tongue that wad (cud) clip cloots (clouts), a sharp tongue; Gen.Sc.; (4) clip-clouts, a sharp-tongued person; (5) to clip cloots wi', to quarrel with, find fault with (someone). (1) w.Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 150:
Glenhead reckons him “a costive preacher, a conscientious veesitor, a cauld cloot at a waddin', a bucker-up at a funeral.”
(2) Bnff. 1882 W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars i.:
But the lassie, peer thing, has suffered sair, for she has been as fite as a cloot ever since.
Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 155:
But the cook cried to her, and in she went to help with the denner, with a hert like lead, and a face like a clout.
(3) Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood iii.:
She's a tongue that wad clip cloots.
Uls.(D) 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings by Robin 30:
She has a terble bad tongue: I declare when her temper's up she cud “clip clouts wae it,” as the sayin' is.
(4) Ayr. 1834 Galt Lit. Life III. 29:
There was a carding of sense through Peter's particularity, that made his dry words no so salt as the chandler-pin terms o' that clip-clouts, Stephen Ell.
(5) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 253:
He had a bit nyaffin' voice in the heid o' him that was aye clippin' cloots wi' somebody.

4. A baby's napkin (Bnff.2, Abd.22, Fif.10, Lnl.1 1936). Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar II. ii.:
Shame fa' my stupidity! thought I to mysell. Is the haill terrible affair endit in a bichel o' baby-elouts?

5. A piece of cloth, gen. brightly coloured, sewed to the wool of a sheep as a mark of ownership. More commonly Aithken, q.v. Ork. 1827 J. Johnston in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. (1908) I. v. 210:
W. Nicolson, right lug off, sheer mark a bit behint in left lug and tail off and a clout affore.

6. The sail of a boat. Obs. in Eng. since 17th cent. (see N.E.D.). Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Will we gie her the kloot noo' boy?

7. A garment; often used contemptuously. Frequently in pl. = clothes, vestments (Bnff.2, Ags.2, Lnl.1 1936). Sh. 1801 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S. 1889) 122:
Mr Andrew Melvine . . . had preserved his life when he was in his swadling clouts.
Abd. 1909 J.T. Jeannie Jaffray vii.:
The thocht o' . . . the kirkyaird . . . has mair effeck in makin' men britherly than a' the haily clouts an' cann'les ever inventit.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 27:
Till garter height the neith'most clout Is bang'd wi' awfu' force.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 158:
Of course, like the lave of them, cloots, cloots, for ever cloots, is the aim and end of her bit butterflee life.

8. A fishing term: a measure of nets — about four yards. Also found in Cum. dial. (E.D.D. Suppl.). Cf. obs. Eng. clout, a measure of silk (N.E.D.). Sc. 1805 R. Forsyth Beauties Scot. II. 280:
Ten clout of nets are the quantity allowed to each fisherman who has only one share in the fishing.
Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 II. 16:
Five of these pocks [bag-shaped fishing-nets] are called a clout.

[O.Sc. clout, clowt, clut, from 1427, a piece of cloth, a patch, a rag (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. clout(e), clowte, clut(e), O.E. clūt, a piece of cloth, patch, metal plate.]

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

"Cloot' clout n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jul 2020 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: