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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLYPE, Clipe, Claip, Clep, v.1 [kləip Sc., but Rxb. + klep]

1. intr.

(1) To tell tales about, inform against someone. When not used absolutely, always with on. Gen.Sc.Bnff.6 1914:
Ye manna clype on's noo, Mary, fin ye gang hame.
Mearns 1934 “L. G. Gibbon” Grey Granite I. 76:
If that doesn't please you, gang off and clype.
Lnk. 1923 G. Blake Mince Collop Close xi.:
Mrs Rafferty had cliped on Bella to the police.
Gall. 1930 (per Wgt.3):
Sandy yince cam' up an tell't me that Johnie was lyin' sleepin' on a rickle o' corn in the middle o' the day when he shud ha'e been workin', an' when I chackit Johnie for't, he said, “I'll mak' him rue the day he clyp't on me.”

Hence (a) clypin', cleping, adj., tell-tale; (b) clyper, n., a tattler, tell-tale.(a) Sc. 1722 Ramsay Tale of Three Bonnets i. i.:
When men of Mettle thought it Nonsense To heed that cleping Thing ca'd Conscience.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 10:
Did clypin' bow nae deck the lift, The rain micht ne'er hae been!
(b) Ags. 1912 J. A. Duthie Rhymes and Reminisc. 75:
There were aye some clypers ready to tell on 'm.

(2) “To be loquacious, to tattle” (Abd., Ayr., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2); “especially, as implying the idea of pertness” (Sc. 1808 Jam., clep); to gossip. Known to Bnff.2 Kcb.9 1936.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
She's aye claipin'.

2. tr. To report, relate, tell (Bnff.2, Fif.10 Arg.1 1936).Bch.(D) 1921 J. Wight in Swatches o' Hamespun 7:
Thinkin' on things she dursena clype.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 11:
Sometimes whin the gaffer wisnae in she wid teach mi tae fillet, but Doshie cliped on mi and sae did the dame Polly.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 103:
The police came intae see him and wanted tae ken whit happened but Lockie never cliped ontae naebody.
Ags. 1816 G. Beattie John o' Arnha' (1862) 12:
A . . . digression; By bards of yore who sang of gods, Clep'd underplots and episodes.
m.Sc. 1989 James Meek McFarlane Boils the Sea 54:
McFarlane looked at the policeman, leaned back and folded her arms. Surely she could clype on Doctor Bree without guilt or further involvement.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 129:
"... Just let me say I ken you and he came to blows, and that you didn't get that cut on the brow from any accident."
"Has Geordie Bonnyton been clyping?" he asked.
She smiled at the child's word. "Clyping? You've done nothing wrong, Andrew, so there can be no clyping. ..."
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 119:
The land-sire gave his cousin and his ill-doing tenant a scalding that sent Cuningham away like a beaten dog and Matt Hay festering with suspicious rage that someone had cliped on him to the laird, who seemed somehow to know almost all his business.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 35:
But, on reflection, mibbe I'll go gently -
Not clype to my husband, let's say Ah'll
Keep mum about your proposal and betrayal.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 97:
But although he was well aware of it, Colin Campbell was not the man who cliped, for he was thoroughly reprimanded by the authorities for his dilatory and lenient ways, and ordered to throw James Stewart out of his tenancy at Auchindarroch in Glen Duror and to repossess it.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 103:
I reckon Creeping Jesus got sick of his gawkit face, fibbing and clipeing and burglarising with his thieving hands; I hated him he was a total perv.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 49:
Ah, cannie Fionnula. Uhm totally skint. I was working part-time in the Superstore, fucking bass, yon Tina MacIntyre cliped on me that ah was pregnant and they fucking sacked me on the spot.
Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 137:
Up till noo, whan A'm proodly clypin' the story, the secret society o' Edward Main hes kept the vow.

3. Comb.: clype-clash, “a tale-bearer” (Kcb.1 1936; Uls.2 1929; Uls. 1950s).Ags. 1898 Arbroath Guide (5 March) 3/6:
I was never kent for a clype clash a' my days.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 39:
"It's true, Mr. Rutherford," he cried. "I'm sorry to say I'm the clypeclash. You see, I was there myself this afternoon."
"You mean...?"

[O.Sc. clep(e), c.1400, cleip, 1513, to name, address, accuse, denounce, Mid.Eng. clepe, O.E. cleopian, to call, name; also O.Sc. clip, clyp, from c.1500–c.1512, to call or name, from the O.E. variant form clipian (D.O.S.T.). There is no older form to explain the vowel [əi] in clype, which is a modern development due to some obscure analogy.]

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"Clype v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2024 <>



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