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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLUTHER, Cludder, Clooter, n. and v. Also ¶clowder. Sc. forms and meanings of Eng. clutter. Where the form clutter is illustrated, the meaning is peculiar to Sc. [′klʌθər, ′klʌðər, ′klʌdər, ′klutər]

1. n.

(1) A heap.Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 306:
He turn't up the whites o' his een, an swarf't wi perfect horror, an fell a' in a cluther in the middle o' the floor. [Ib. 414, cludder.]

(2) “A piece of bad stone building, particularly if it be ‘dry ware wark'” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 139, clutter). Cf. Clather, n., 1, and Cloiter, n., 2.Gall. 1827 Curriehill:
An ill-built stone wall is called a clooter o' stanes.

(3) A close group; disordered crowd. N.E.D. gives clutter, crowded and confused assemblage, as Eng., but last quot. is 1792.m.Sc. 1931 J. Ressich in Glasgow Herald (8 Aug.):
The seendykit wis a' gaithert aboot at the last green yonder; the maist disjasket-lookin' lot ever ye seen. Jist like a clutter o' drookit hens.
wm.Sc. 1973 Scotsman (1 Sept.) Suppl. 2: 
A flat basin, containing milk, had been put out at milking time for the clowder of tortoiseshell cats at the farm.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 20:
Upo' the bent The whigs cam on in cluthers.
Kcb.4 c.1900:
A wheen hooses standin' in close proximity is called a cluther o' hooses.

2. v. “To conceal, to cover, huddle up” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 137:
A man wha frae his vera youth, In word an' deed nae moral truth Did cluther or disguise.

[Not in O.Sc. For the change in the medial consonant sound cf. blutter, bluther, bludder s.v. Bluther, v.2 and n., Bather and Badder, etc.]

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"Cluther n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Sep 2023 <>



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