Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
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BLETHER, BLEDDER, BLATHER, n.2 Also bleather (Ayr. 1790 D. Morison Poems 26). [′blɛðər Sc., but m.Sc. + ′blɑ:ðər, ′blɑdər, s.Sc. + ′blæðər; ′ble:ðər, Bnff.2, e.Abd., Ags.2 and Arg.1 + ′bledɪr]
1. A bladder.Sc. 1725 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1762) 167:
A teugh purse made of a swine's blather, To had your tocher, Jenny, quo' Jock.Ork.(D) 1909 A. L. Work in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc., II. i. 29:
He wis wint tae kill swine fur aa' the hooses ih Costaside, Swannaside, Abuin-de-hill, an Beuquayside, an feintie ting wad he taak fur duan hid bit de blethers.Abd.(D) 1909 C. Murray Hamewith 22:
He kent wha got the bledder when the sooter killed his soo.m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 51:
The blather, swalled to unco size, Bursts wi' a rummle.m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
Efter, bledder taen oot an
Raised tae mooth,
It swelt gin till
They tethered it wae its thairm
An let it dry fur days. w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 18:
In excitement, the laddies wad skail fae the schuil,
Ti bi doun jist in time for the last o the kill, -
Mebbe beg a coo's blether or, - (whit wad be worse),
Huntit hame tuim-haundit, wi a whack oan the erse.Rnf. 1846 W. Finlay Poems 167:
The savoury scent crap roun' my blether — But O! the Taste!
2. “When accompanied by leather, the word blether denotes a football which is composed of a bladder and a leather case” (Ayr.8 1934). Also attrib.Sc. 1994 Scotland on Sunday 2 Jan :
He can just about be forgiven for getting it wrong, as he was writing at a time when men kicked heads around for sport (okay, they still do) rather than the inflated bladder. Sc. 2004 Daily Record 31 Jan 5:
Until now, not many people knew about this BAFTA award-winning actor's momentous footballing achievement, in the 1955 Dennistoun Back Green World Cup. Played with an old bladder football between the clothes-poles and middens of the Glasgow tenements in the middle of last century, Paterson was an integral part of the competition.Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 11:
bladder A leather football as opposed to a plastic one: 'Away an see if yer big brother'll gie us a len a his bladder.' Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 25:
Go'n git yer bladder an' ah'll gie ye a gemme at heiders. Fetch your leather football and we'll play at the heading it to each other. Rxb. 1908 Hawick Arch. Soc. Trans. 76/2:
The [school] master presented a football, designated a “leather and blether.”Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Blether an' leather, a football. Also leather and blether.
3. A bagpipe; the wind-bag of a bagpipe.Sc.(E) 1926 “H. McDiarmid” Penny Wheep 61:
For the bubblyjock swallowed the bagpipes And the blether stuck in its throat.Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 143:
A queer, short, crookit son o' wind, As piper brang his blether.
4. Used by fishermen to indicate a buoy.Crm. 1911 (per Mry.2):
Blether, a small line buoy.Fif. 1893 “G. Setoun” Barncraig i.:
Eben's a fine command o' language, no doubt, an' a nacky way o' sayin' things; but it's just like the blethers that keep up the net in a calm sea, awfu' easy burstit.
5. A blister.Bnff.2 1934:
There wiz a big blether on the liv o' his han', and twa aneth his een.
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"Blether n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/blether_n2>