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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.


I. With meanings as in Eng., but with variant grammatical forms.

1. Past tense: (1) crap (Abd.2, Ags.17 1940), crep, (Arg.1 1940) [krɑp, krɛp], craup (Bwk. 1880 T. Watts Woodland Echoes 72); (2) creepit (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17 1940), creeped (Fif.10 1940), creept [′krip(ɪ)t Sc.; ′kripɪd Cai., Fif.].(1) Sc. 1920 D. Rorie Auld Doctor 24:
Jock swat wi' fear, an' in the dark He crep' attour the smiddy.
Bnff. 1723 W. Cramond Ann. of Cullen2 (1888) 83:
Thomas Reid was put in the tolbooth, but he said he rysed the daill of the foot of the door with his hands and crap out from below the door.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 42:
Aroond the hills and heughs the gloamin' crap.
m.Sc. 1994 John Burns in James Robertson A Tongue in Yer Heid 28:
Breathin quick an wi his tongue atween his teeth he crep furrit. Raxin his hauns oot in front o him he pairtit the taiglit brainches an stems an leafs sae that he could see wha it was.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 72:
Weill, they sat an they spied, an the derk drew in, an their lang lyart bairds raxed doun tae their hochs, an on they sat, an a bit haar crap up on their sax auld buits, ...
(2) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xi.:
My very flesh creeped when I thought what a rumble I was going to get.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 186:
One night he spied on them and saw three dwarves, each one with a fork no bigger than ye'd carve a turkey with, digging up the fine new tatties. What did the crofter mannie do? He creepit home to his bed, like a wee mouse from a coven o cats, and saw there was aye a tattie left handy till the summer came.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 8:
The hauns o the classroom wag-at-the-wa creepit roon frae hauf een tae hauf twa, syne tae the back o fower, an Neil Rannoch trauchled hame wi the dreich prospect o a hale evenin feedin an muckin oot chuckens an futterats afore him.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums vi.:
Syne he creepit oot o' the bed, an' got the staff, and gaed ben for Leeby.
Bwk. 1879 W. Chisholm Poems 20:
An' a hope creept up to my bosom then, That Fairies still wauk'd i' the haunted glen!

2. Past participle: (1) cruppen (Abd.2, Fif.10 1940), crupen (see II. 1), cruppin, croppen [′krʌp(ə)n, ′krɔp(ə)n], crippen (Dmf. 1837 Wilson's Tales of the Borders IV. 58); (2) creepit.(1) Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian iv.:
Little Eppie Daidle . . . had just cruppin to the gallows' foot to see the hanging.
m.Sc. 1939 James Barke The Land of the Leal (1987) 398:
' ... I thocht I heard a queer kind o' a noise about the dresser. I opened one o' the doors and there you were a' crippen up, mixing away at the oatmeal and the salt and the sugar. God o' Glory ... I was that glad to see you I couldna be angry.'
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvi.:
[She had] cruppen across the bauks on her hands an' knees.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar I. 5:
There's a heartlessness . . . croppen in amang the sheep-farmers.
(2) Sc. 1897 N.E.D.:
It has creepit oot.

II. Special Sc. usages.

1. Gen. with doun (doon, down): to shrink, shrivel or bend with age (Fif.10 1940). Found only in ppl.adj. and pa.p. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., cruppen doon). Cf. Croppen.Bnff.2 1942:
Jean's growin a peer creepit craitur an' winna last lang.
m.Sc. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls o' Hame 96:
We're ripenin' for the hairst, guidwife . . . I'm sairly crupen doun.
Dmf. [1777] J. Mayne Siller Gun (1808) 42:
Tho' whozzling sair and cruppen down Auld Saunders seem'd.
Dmf. 1912 J. and R. Hyslop Langholm as it was 646:
By some process of shrinkage it [beaver hat] had “cruppen doon,” bit by bit, until it resembled nothing so much as a concertina.

2. With in: of early winter days: to grow shorter; Gen.Sc.; to grow smaller, to shrink (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Cai.7 1940; Bnff.7 1927; Arg.1, Lnk.11, Kcb. correspondents 1940). Ppl.adj. cruppen, croppin, shrunk, shrivelled.Sc. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 51:
Fan' the hole — to her surprise, Seemin' cruppen in in size!
Sh.(D) 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales (1892) 247:
An' sae it is wi' barkin' da stamick. It gets croppin in till a lempet-shell o' shute-watter.
Ork. 1832 D. Vedder Orcad. Sketches 142:
An' the little wee starns crap in wi' fear, As she glowrit up to the sky.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 4:
The days are creepin' in.

3. With out: of early winter nights: “to lengthen” (Bnff.4, Abd.2, Fif. 10 1940).Mry.2 1937:
The nicht's startin to creep out a bit.

4. With ow'r: to swarm, be infested (with vermin) (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1940).Lnk. 1856 “Young Glasgow” Deil's Hallowe'en 15:
Some cam' frae dark, sepulchral walks, A' creepin' ow'r wi' creamy mawks.

5. With thegither: (1) to get married late in life; (2) to shrink, huddle up with cold or age (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Fif.10, Kcb. 1 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).(1) Bnff.2 1942:
They've been coortin' this twenty year, an' noo they've cruppen thegither.
m.Sc. a.1846 A. Rodger Poems (1897) 3:
So Robin an' our auld wife Agreed to creep thegither.
(2) Sc. 1810 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 932:
[She] crap thegither like a clue, To fend the cauld.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xvi.:
He was a' fa'n in an' cruppen thegither: juist a ruckle o' banes.

6. In phr. creep-at-even, “one who makes a habit of wandering at night for the purpose of courtship” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 31; Bnff.2, Abd.9 1940).

7. Of a curling stone: to move slowly and gently (Sc. 1833 J. Cairnie Curling 134; Lnk.11 1940).Ayr.4 1928:
Stones are said to “creep” or “sleep” when thrown with little force.

8. Proverbial sayings:Abd.4 1929:
“Creep in 's ye crap oot,” said on going to an unmade bed. [Known to Abd.2, Ags.2, Kcb.1 1940.]
Sc. 1824 Scott St. Ronan's W. I. iii.:
Ye might mak a guinea a-head of them. Dick made twa, but he was an auld used hand, and folk maun creep before they gang.
Ags. 1924 W. A. Craigie in Sc. Tongue 46:
The experience of other countries has clearly shown that in the revival of a language it is absolutely needful to “creep afore ye gang.” [Widely known.]

[O.E. crēopan (st. v.) gives rise to Sc. and Eng. creep. From its pa.t. crēap comes O.Sc. and n.Eng. crap(e), Mod.Sc. crap. The ablaut forms of crēopan, viz. crup- and crop-, give rise to Mod.Sc. pa.p. cruppen, croppen. The weak pa.t. and pa.p. are found c.1300 in n.Eng. creped [e], shortened later into the mod. crept; Sc. has retained ee [i] up to the present, but since the 16th cent. crept has been the predominant form in St.Eng. Crep' (in quot. under I. 1 (1)) is prob. a clipped form of Eng. crept (see P.L.D. § 63.2), though crep was in gen. use up to the 15th cent. in Mid.Eng. (N.E.D.).]

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"Creep v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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