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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STOTTER, v., n. Also stutter, stoater: ¶stooter; stowter (Cai.); stouther (Uls.). [′stɔtər, Cai. ′stʌut-]

I. v. 1. intr. To stagger, move unsteadily, to totter, rock about, to stumble (Slk. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm. and sm.Sc. 1971). Vbl.n. stotteran (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 184). Ppl.adj. stooterin, stottering, unsteady, tottery.Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry 29:
The table stotter't on the floor Wi' straiks that frae his neif descendit.
Rnf. c.1830 Vagabond Songs (Ford) 140:
Stotterin' hameward drunk ae day.
Sc. 1892 Stevenson Catriona xi.:
Since I could stotter on two feet.
Abd. 1903 Weekly Free Press (12 Sept.):
Fin wir heids are fite an' wir feet some stooterin'.
Ags. 1920 D. H. Edwards Muirside 271:
Ye'd see the auld stock ilka day stotterin' roond the boonds o' the paris'.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 85:
The oul' docther wasn't long till he come stoutherin' down the sthreet.
wm.Sc. 1946 G. Reid Big Adventure 13:
I stotter aboot, owre the fender I trip.
m.Sc. 1979 William J. Tait in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 37:
As I stoater hame through Drummond Place
At ten tae five o an April moarnin,
A barrage o birdsang opens up,
Blackies an mavises burstin their haases
wm.Sc. 1987 Duncan and Linda Williamson A Thorn in the King's Foot 149:
He kin o staggert an stottert an made his wey back tae the fairm.
Ork. 1987 George Mackay Brown The Golden Bird (1989) 166:
Some louts came round the corner. They scooped up the stottering apples and began to pelt the stall-holder with them, ...
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 21:
Na, he'll blouster till he draps on the flair
or spews up his ring as he stotters hame,
syne faas intae bed and lies goggit there,
snortlin or the morn and the heidstound and the shame ...
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 132:
He hauled himself to his feet, using the corner of the gable, and stottered off to the steading. The byre door was not locked but it took him a few moments to fumble for the sneck and lift it.
Sc. 1994 Herald 23 Jul 15:
Legions of Glasgwegians stoater out of the darkness to stagger in front of the headlights instead, ...

2. tr. To make to stagger, to strike violently (Gsw. 1971).

II. n. 1. The act of stumbling or tottering, a stumble, stagger, unsteady gait (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 184; n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm. and sm.Sc. 1971).Mry. 1865 W. H. Tester Poems 150:
Sittin' back he gaed a stotter — Ower he flappit on the fleer.
Lnk. 1886 J. Stewart Twa Elders 7:
Closely clinging intae the wa' In case that yin should mak' a stutter.
s.Sc. 1947 L. Derwent Clashmaclavers 42:
It gies a shoogle an' a stotter, Mair like a monster than a motor.

2. = Stot, n.2, 4. (1), the rhythm of a 1950 Northern Scot (23 Dec.):
Scotswoman, describing attempts of a raw rustic at a threesome reel: “At first he was some shochelsome, syne he got intae the stotter o't.”

[Freq. form of Stot, v.2, n.2 Cf. Stoiter.]

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



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