Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPORRAN, n. Also sporan, sporrin, ¶sparren. A purse or pouch, specif. the leather pouch, now often highly ornamented with goat-hair, fur or brass, worn suspended from a waist belt by a Highlander in front of his kilt, and used to hold money and other small articles. Gen.Sc. [′spɔrən] Sc. 1752 J. Campbell Highl. Scot. 8:
This Weapon [dirk] hangs before in a Scabbard along with a Knife and Fork, and a Purse for their Money, which they term a Sparren.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxxiv.:
Had ither folk's purses been as weel guarded, I doubt if your sporran wad hae been as weel filled.
Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 97:
The Campbell in his sporrin bears A never-failing charm.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xv.:
A five-shilling piece (which he declared he had at that moment in his sporran).
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant xix.:
I produced a sporran. “Here's twenty gold pieces.”
Sc. 1958 Maxwell & Hutchison Sc. Costume 158:
The traditional sporran, which began as a leather purse with a thong as a drawstring, and was looped over the belt, and in the late seventeenth century followed the late medieval purse by becoming a leather or sealskin bag sewn to a brass top.

[Gael. sporan, id.]

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"Sporran n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 May 2021 <>



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