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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WHIP, n., v. Also whipp; wheep (Inv. 1712 Trial of Scot & Mackpherson (1737) 7, Lnk. 1736 H. Davidson Lanark (1910) 82, Ayr. 1786 Burns Ordination vii.; Edb. 1821 D. Haggart Life 98; Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 149; Sc. 1896 Stevenson W. of Hermiston iii.; Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 28; Abd. 1936 E. Dieth Bch. Dial. 14; Sh. 1963 New Shetlander No. 67. 7; ne.Sc. 1974); †wheip, †whipe (Sc. 1822 P. R. S. Lang Duncan Dewar (1926) 9); whup (Ayr. 1803 A. Boswell Works (1871) 12; Slk. 1820 Hogg Tales (1874) 187; Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 100; Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow xviii.; e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 32; Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 47; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson, Ork. 1929 Marw.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai); †whop (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 46–48), whoop. For older n.Sc. forms see Fup. [ʍɪp, ʍʌp; also ʍip, esp. in I., n., em.Sc. (a)]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. The pl. is occas. used as a sing., phs. on analogy with tawse s.v. Taw, n.1 (Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket 21).m.Sc. 1932 Matt Marshall in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills (1982) 10:
Hae ye whupped the whurling eddies
By the brow'd, loud linn?
Hae ye tracked the tired buck upon the brae?
When ye couched it in the heather
Were ye chittered by the win?
Hae ye waukened in the mist at skreigh o day?
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 1:
Fairmer's fingers - braid, an hakkit, an roch, an swalled o the jynts, far seeventy winters dellin the grun in the Howe at the fit o the fite glimmers o Morven hid scoored an wheeped an birssled him inno the wyce nippick o grissle an smeddum that he wis.

Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) whip-licker, a carter, a horse-and-cart hirer, specif. in St Andrews a member of the Incorporated Society of Whiplickers or Carters (Fif. 1825 Jam.). Now only hist.; (2) whipman, a carter (Per., Lth. 1825 Jam.; Peb., Rxb. 1930); a member of one or other of several friendly societies of carters and ploughmen, esp. in Lth. (J. Maidment Sc. Ballads (1859) 62 sqq.) and s.Scot., now obs. exc. in West Linton in Peeblesshire where the local society celebrates an annual festival ‘The Whipman Play' and elects one of its number as the Whipman of the year. A female companion is now chosen as the Whipman's Lass; (3) whip-rein, see quot.; (4) whip shaft, a whip-stock, whip-handle. In phr. to lick a (bare) whopshaft, to kiss the rod, to admit defeat, to suffer humiliation or loss, to be cheated or outsmarted; (5) wheep-yill, a kind of weak beer. Cf. penny-wheep s.v. Penny, 4. (40) and Eng. whip-belly, id., so called from its purgative effects.(1) Fif. 1866 St Andrews Gaz. (25 Aug.):
St Andrews could once boast of seven incorporated trades, besides several societies, all of which had a distinctive flag. There is a relic of antiquity in the ‘Whip Lickers' Flag.'
Fif. 1936 St Andrews Citizen (2 May) 6:
The rendezvous of the Whiplickers' (or Carters') Society on the day when they had their annual races.
(2) m.Lth. 1758 Scottish Studies V. ii. 227:
The reason of their Meeting together once every year is to keep up brotherly love and good order among the whipmen the young whipmen were received into Memberships about twelve or fourtain years of age when they could drive a plough or go alonge with a full plowghman and drive two loaded horses.
Rxb. 1789 J. Mason Kelso Rec. (1839) 64:
With this fantastical finery the Society of Whipmen and Ploughmen are assembled on the day of their annual meeting by the beating of a drum.
Fif. 1815 J. Fernie Dunfermline 52:
The Maltmen and Whipmen Lads society.
Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 84:
Routhless whipmen, scant o' grace.
Rxb. 1845 Stat. .Acc.2 III. 324:
Once a year, the whipmen of the border turn out.
m.Lth. 1911 J. Dickson Crichtoun 111:
Another Benefit Society, known as the “Whipman's” is also now extinct.
Peb. 1939 F. Drake-Carnell Old Sc. Custom 90:
In place of the Cornet Linton has its Whipman and Whipman's Lass.
Peb. 1964 Stat. Acc.3 214:
The annual festival, ‘The Whipman Play', provides an opportunity for a demonstration of local pride and patriotism [West Linton]. This local festival dates from the year 1803, and was carried on through the years by the ‘Whip'-men of Linton — the carters, the carriers and the cadgers. They formed themselves into a Benevolent Society and appointed one of their number to be the ‘Whipman' for the year.
(3) Bwk. 1809 R. Kerr Agric. Bwk. 152:
In driving the plough the ploughman, who of course walks between the two stilts, or plough handles uses either whip reins, one to each horse on the opposite sides, or he has common long reins reaching to the stilts, and a single whip rein between the two horses.
(4) Sc. 1720 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 162:
Expecting some, wha a' the leave will nick And gie them nought but bare Whop-shafts to lick.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 55:
My market's made, ye may lick a whip shaft.
Sc. 1849 G. Cupples Green Hand xiv.:
The spars aloft bent like whip-shafts.
(5) Lnl. a.1895 Poets Lnl. (Bisset 1896) 187:
A daud o' her cheese and a drink o' wheep-yill.

2. A blow with a whip, a lash, in pl. a whipping; also fig. as in phrs. to get, gie, hae one's whips, to give or receive a drubbing, to get or administer a dressing-down or severe censure (‡ne., em.Sc., Rxb. 1974). Comb. Whupsday, the day on which floggings were carried out in military discipline, or as a ritual during riding of the marches (see 1913 quot.).Rnf. 1700 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) 188:
George park and Robert Kerr to be taken to the Tolbooth stairhead and then and there receive each sex whipps.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 68:
If Tom had got his whips, which he often deserved.
Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes xxvii.:
Noo ye jist gie them their whups weel for ye ken that he that spareth the rod blaudeth the bairn.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 8:
Ance, on a Whupsday, I had seen a Hielan' sodger lashed with the cat.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick x.:
The Frees got their wheeps, I can tell ye; he wasna mealy-mou'd wi' them.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 253:
Whupsday, a day appointed in olden times by the magistrates of Irvine to walk round the burgh's bounds. A young boy received a whipping to make him remember the occasion and the spot when he grew old.
Ags. 1922 V. Jacob Tales 310:
She'll gie ye yer wheeps when the kirk's skailed!

3. A sudden, quick movement like that of a whip: (1) in gen., a start, jerk, stroke, sweep, swirl; in 1794 quot. of the motion of a yarn-winder. Used fig. in phrs. at a(e) whup, in a or wan whup (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ork., n.Sc., Per., Wgt. 1974), wi a whup, at one stroke or swoop, in a trice, suddenly, precipitately. Adj. whippie, whuppie, -y, quick or brisk in movement, nimble, agile (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; Fif., Wgt. 1974).Ags. 1794 W. Anderson Piper of Peebles 7:
Tell'd ilka cut [of yarn] that they ty'd up, By double-downcomes, jig, an' whup.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 88:
Ta'en aff it [leg] was by a ship's hawser, Baff at ae whup as clean's a saucer.
Sc. 1836 M. Mackintosh Cottager's Daughter 65:
Syne in a whip she let him in.
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 204:
Here, lassie, bring me a dribble o' drink, too; and see and be whuppy in your way.
Lnk. 1885 F. Gordon Pyotshaw xviii.:
There's haill saxpince worth o' hair-line and gut, forbye the hook, awa' to pot at a whup!
w.Lth. 1892 R. Steuart Legends 165:
I pat oot ma haund tae kep her, but she was owre whuppy fur me.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (20 Aug.):
I güde rambooze wi' a whup, richt alang da brig.
Kcb.4 1900:
A mother says to a boy sent on an errand, “Aff ye go noo, and look whuppie.”
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie ii. ix.:
He'll sweep us a' off the quay in wan whup.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 24:
Oo war birlin ower the Trow Burn; raisin at yeh whup a steer an a stoor.
Ork. 1929 Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 76:
He'd bit tae wiss for a ting tae be deun, an' deun id waas i' a wheep.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 133, 232:
Morning came soaking laired across the clay parks, in a wheep of gulls driven in from the coast. . . . The run and wheep of the wind in her hair.
Bnff. 1949 Banffshire Jnl. (6 Dec.):
I canna jist tell them a' aff at a wheep!

(2) a crack, shot, “go” at (Ork., Cai., Per., Lnk. 1974); a single exertion of effort.Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 51:
We'll hae a whup at some o' the livin' anes.
Fif. 1895–6 Royal Caled. Curling Club Ann. 117:
Lay doon a guid shot every whup.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xix.:
The only thing that daunts me is that I should hae missed my chance o' a whup at them.
Per.4 1950:
A ate half a loaf at a whop.

(3) a sudden attack of illness or misfortune. Phr. whip o' dearth, whuppi-, whuppy-, an unexpected hardship, a time of need or emergency, ‘a rainy day' (Per. 1887 Jam.; Ayr. 1921 T.S.D.C.).Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 89:
Ye chose me — at a whip o' dearth — To represent ye.
Per. 1901 I. MacLaren Young Barbarians 54:
This whup o' inflammation is the feenish.
Ayr. 1927 Proc. Royal Philosoph. Soc. Gsw. LIV. 52:
Here a penny for ye; keep it for a whuppi-dearth.

(4) a hasty draught or drink, a quick sip or gulp, a swig (wm.Sc. 1887 Jam.).m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning xxxix.:
Mr Tawse “had snappit up twa o' the whackin'est stiff wheeps that ever swam round a tongue root.”

4. Gen. in pl.: plenty, lots (Cai. 1974). Also in n.Eng. and I. Ma. dial. Cf. Eng. lashings.Kcb. 1888 G. Sproat Rose o' Dalma Linn 242:
He'll hae whups o' tabacca.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie ii. x.:
Three dozen o' ginger beer an' a whup o' pastry an' stuff.
Gall. 1934 Gallov. Annual 41:
I ha'e whups o' claes, but I'm fair ashamed to wear them.

5. In Weaving: a thread separate from the basic warp and weft which is introduced into the weave to form a pattern (see quots.). Comb. whip-net, cloth made by this process.Sc. 1807 J. Duncan Weaving 192, 221:
The term whip is used by weavers, to denote a species of warp rolled upon a separate beam, and slackened, as may be required, to form fanciful patterns. The mounting of the whip net is the same as common gauze. . . . In most instances, the whip consists of two threads twined together. It is not interwoven with the fabric, but crossing over a certain number of splits of warp, rises through the shed, and is tacked to the cloth by the weft shot passing under it.
Sc. 1825 J. Nicholson Operative Mechanic 415:
In the weaving of ribands and other ornamental works, many extraneous substances, totally unconnected with the warp or weft, are thrown in. . . . These substances are merely held in the fabric by the intersection of the two staple parts, the warp and the weft, and are by the weavers denoted whips.
Sc. 1863 J. Watson Weaving 206:
Whip is the name given to that kind of yarn which is used for making the figures in lappet weaving, and it is made by twisting together so many ends of common yarn.

6. In pl.: a lever, orig. a wooden bar pulled up or down with a cord, and so resembling a whip, to adjust the level of the bridge-tree of a mill and so raise or lower the grindstone, a brayer (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., wheeps).

II. v. Pa.t., pa.p. wheep(i)t, whup(pi)t, †whept (Inv. 1708 Inv. Session Rec. (Mitchell 1902) 63).

1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. and derivs.: (1) whipcol(l), -kull, a kind of rich whipped cream or syllabub, made as a special dish at Christmas in Sh. (Sh. 1881 Chambers's Jnl. (24 Dec.), 1914 Old-Lore Misc. VII. ii. 75, -kull, 1932 J. Saxby Trad. Lore 172). Cf. Norw. dial. koll, top, hat-top, and hatted kitt s.v. Hat, v.1, 2.; (2) whup-ma-denty, a fop, dandy. See Dainty; (3) whipper-in, whupper-in, wheeper-, (i) a school attendance-officer (Abd. 1914). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; (ii) an odd-job man on a farm, an orraman (Ags. 1947); (4) whippie, whupp-, -y, a derogatory name for a pert girl, a hussy, sc. ‘one who should be whipped', “sometimes implying the idea of lightness of carriage” (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). CF. skelpy s.v. Skelp, v., 5., but poss. also associated with whippie s.v. I. 3. (1); (5) whipshard, to whip severely, to give a good beating to. See Shaird, n., 1.; (6) whip-the-cat, to go from house to house over a district practising one's trade, used esp. of a tailor, occas. of other trades, to be an itinerant tailor, etc. (Sc. 1887 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Now only hist. Hence used as a n. phr., an itinerant workman, esp. a tailor, who received free board and lodgings from his customers as well as payment for each day's work (Per. a.1843 J. Stewart Sketches (1857) 32); (7) whip-together, a makeshift or hastily prepared dish.(1) Sh. 1888 Edmonston & Saxby Home of Naturalist 131:
The bowl contains whipcol, the venerable and famous Yule breakfast beverage. It had come down to us from time immemorial, and was indissolubly associated with Yule morning. The yolks of a dozen fresh eggs are vigorously whisked for half an hour with about one pound of sifted loaf-sugar; nearly half a pint of old rum is added, and then about a quart of rich sweet cream.
(2) Per. 1894 I. Maclaren Brier Bush 191:
A' wes ettlin tae lay my hands on the whup-ma-denty.
(3) (i) Abd. 1831 Aberdeen Mag. 242:
Janet had not taken the precaution to appoint a whipper-in, and I knew that when the matter came to a regular chase between me and her, the advantage was wholly on my side.
Cai. 1965 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. 26:
He wis a richt good wheeper-in.
Mry. 1969 Northern Scot (8 March) 6:
Moray and Nairn's only full-time “wheeper-in” is to become fully mechanised.
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 87:
They did no homework, brought no books, gave no quarter. When they came to school, which they did only when they chose, they beat up the headmaster and held hostage their classmates in the bathrooms. They turned on taps, redrew the map of the world and drank ink through straws. But most of their time they spent well away from school avoiding the Whipper-in, which is what we called the school Attendance Officer.
Sc. 1989 Scotsman 2 May 14:
On further reflection, I wonder if this is a two-party plot. What better function for the Government's school boards than to police Labour's education partnership. In addition to the traditional "whupper in", we could have the Wee Willie Winkie Man in charge of the bedtime curfew.
(4) Sc. 1808 E. Hamilton Glenburnie ix.:
Go, ye idle whippy! and let me see how weel ye'll ca' the kirn.
Per. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 218:
A contemptuous term used to denote a young female; generally in connection with an adj., as “an ill-faur'd whuppie,” “a sour-looking whuppie.”
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xvi.:
Young though the whippy was, she had already begun to set her cap to the lads.
(5) Abd. 1875 E.D.D.:
Ye sud hae whip-sharded him.
(6) Per. 1830 Per. Advertiser (5 Aug.):
The practice of “whooping the cat,” though gradually disappearing, is not altogether abandoned by the tailors in this district.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller vi.:
Weel do I recolleck when I first gaed to whip-the-cat wi' auld Gibby Clipclouts.
Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 211:
Robert M'Kinlay was “whipping the cat” in the house of James Hamilton.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 2:
The whip-the-cat's aff fae hoose to hoose, Wi' his oxtered lap-buird lampin'.
Per. 1904 R. Ford Hum. Stories (Ser. 2) 76:
“Bogle” Tamson, the whup-the-cat tailor o' Powmuddle.
Bwk. 1905 R. Gibson Old Bwk. Town 206:
These continued to be the rates for tailors down to 1849 or a little after, when the custom of tailors working in the houses of their customers (“whipping the cat,” as it was called) was practically given up.
Rxb. 1924 Kelso Chronicle (20 June) 2:
Tam the tailor — a well-known Whip-the-Cat in those days.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 16:
A' week he'd trauchled sair “Whippin' the cat” at ferm toons.
(7) Rxb. 1848 R. Davidson Leaves 215:
The kickshaw must be no brosey whip-together, but made of the finest flour, with currants.

2. To twine, twist, coil. Obs. in Eng. Now gen. in deriv. whippie, a rope of twisted straw (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; em. and s.Sc. 1974).Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chronicle (25 March) 4:
He made with great care a “whippie”, such as were used for tying bean sheaves.
e.Lth. 1940 Mrs Church Once Upon a Time 2:
When the days were too wet for work in the fields, the making of whippies was the usual proceeding. One of the farm hands fed the rope from a heap of straw and another whipped it round with a hook.
Slg. 1961:
In thatching a rick, another rope about six feet long, called a whuppie, was used for tying a bunch of thatch.

3. In Weaving: to make a whip (see I. 5. above). Comb. whuppin' pin, a set of threads used to make the whip (see Pin, n., 13.).Ayr. 1863 J. Manson Lyrics 339:
A weaver said, “The Devil may tak' My whuppin' pin and treddles.”

4. To decant, drink, gulp down. Cf. I.Lnl. 1771 J. Finlayson Marches Day (1814) 10:
There's not a bottle been whip'd here the day yet.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxix.:
Meg kissed the glass, and offered it back . . . “Wheep it oot; yer garrin huz loss time.”

III. adv. With a quick or sudden movement, like a shot, in a jiffy (Sh., Abd., Per. 1974). Also used as an int.Bnff. 1830 T. D. Lauder Moray Floods (1873) 189:
Whup! doun she comes, like the side o' a hill, breaks the rope, an' aff they a' gaed to the sea!
Per. c.1879 Harp Per. (Ford 1893) 347:
The fatness o' the land gaes wheep Awa to Englan'.
Hdg. 1903 J. Lumsden Toorle 199:
Whup! in a kennin', neck and heels, The feck o' them is swirl'd!

[O.Sc. to get ane's quhippis, 1567.]

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"Whip n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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