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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

TRUMP, n.1, v.1 Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. A Jew's harp (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 159, 1830 Scott Demonology Let. ix.; Per., Fif. 1915–26 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor; I., n.Sc., Per., Ayr. 1973); sometimes two were played together, sometimes one had two reeds fitted, hence a pair of trumps.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 232:
Like a Sow playing on a Trump. Spoken when People do a Thing ungracefully.
Sc. c.1760 A. G. M. MacGregor Hist. Clan Gregor (1901) II. 3:
He betook himself to his pair of Trumps and there was taking a tune to himself.
Ayr. 1794 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 625:
I would, in preference to your “Trump”, to put a stock and horn among his hands.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 26:
He'd stay baith weeks an' days An whyles upo' the trump wou'd play.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 83:
Now his big shop's weel stowed That was started wi' ballads an trumps in a pack.
Sc. 1867 N. Macleod Reminisc. Highl. Par. 145:
He has two large “Lochaber trumps.” He secures the end of each with his teeth and applies the little finger of each hand to their vibrating steel tongues.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 45:
His ability to play on two trumps at the same time.
Abd. 1909 C. Murray Hamewith 21:
He'd chanter reeds an' fiddle strings, an' trumps wi' double stang.
Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon v.:
He sold his catapult to Tam Wyllie for a trump, twenty bools and a big taw.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 17. 23:
Any company could have danced to the springs from David's trump.

Comb. and phrs.: (1) the stang o' the trump, the principal, most active and vocal person in a group, the chief or indispensable member of a company, the sine qua non of any mechanical device or the like. See Stang, n.2, 5.; (2) the tongue of the trump, id., the spokesman of a body of people; (3) trump-maker, a manufacturer of Jew's harps.(1) wm.Sc. 1843 Whistle-Binkie 168:
Baith bodies toil'd sair to mak' gowd in a lump, But Maggie was counted the stang o' the trump.
Abd. 1963 J. C. Milne Poems 138:
Loch A'an doon yonner, The stang o' the trump.
(2) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 389:
You have lost the Tongue of the Trump. That is, you want the Main Thing.
Sc. 1761 Magopico 43:
Magopico being the tongue of the trump, made the report in form following.
Ayr. 1795 Burns Election Ball. ii. ii.:
There will be black-nebbit Johnnie, The tongue o' the trump to them a'.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
His lady, who is tongue of the trump.
wm.Sc. 1832 Laird of Logan (1868) 308:
In spite and vexation whenever they are no made the tongue o' the trump.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 38:
The lady was the favourite, and the tongue of the trump in every sense of the word.
(3) Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 453:
There was a small village of some antiquity called Piper Heugh [Stevenston]. The inhabitants of it were chiefly trump-makers.

2. A block used with a winch to haul a boat up on a beach, in shape resembling a Jew's harp (Bnff. 1967).

II. v. To play on a Jew's harp.Arg. 1898 N. Munro John Splendid xxvii.:
The sound of piping and trumping and laughing.

[O.Sc. trump, = I. 1., 1549, trump-maker, 1627.]

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"Trump n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2022 <>



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