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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SPOACH, v., n. Also spoatch, spotch. [spotʃ]

I. v. 1. intr. To poach (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1971). Deriv. spoacher, a poacher (Ib.).Rxb. 1805 A. Scott Poems 52:
For spoatching tricks had few their marrow.
Rxb. 1824 Rymour Club Misc. (1912) II. 49:
To plunder and spoatch in the way of your trade.
Sc. 1934 Gallov. Annual 11:
The auld spoacher that was mairrit on her faither's sister.

2. To sponge, scrounge around for favours (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Bwk. 1971). Deriv. spoacher, a sponger, scrounger (Ib.).

3. To pry, rummage or poke about in (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai).Bwk. 1943 W. L. Ferguson Vignettes 75:
Spotchin' for sweets i' the wrang place.
Bwk. 1958:
What are ye spoachin in that drawer for?

4. tr. To look for, seek.Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 244:
I'm gaun awa' to spotch my fortune.

II. n. A sponger, scrounger (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); one who pokes about, a prying inquisitive person (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1971). Adj. spoachie, of a horse that continually snatches mouthfuls of grass in passing (Rxb. 1921).s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 168:
He's sic a spotch that hide a thing where ye will he'll hae his dirty fingers on't.

[Variant of Eng. poach with prothetic s. See S, letter, 5.]

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"Spoach v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2023 <>



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