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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAIRTER, n. Gen.Sc. form of Eng. carter, illustrated only in noun phrases peculiar to Sc. [′kertər, ′kɛrtər]

Phrases: 1. ca'-doon-the-cairter, “a coarse (and often adulterated) whisky, favoured by the Gilmerton carters, a particularly rough class” (Edb. c.1850 (per Fif.10)); 2. kill the cairter, a name given to a very strong variety of whisky (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Ags.17, Slg.3 1938); “applied to a mixture of whisky and porter” (Abd.22 1938).1. Fif.10 1938:
He's had a gless o' ca'-doon-the-cairter.
2. Bch. 1924 J. Will in Buchan Field Club 27:
He preferred his whisky to be strong and heady, with a suspicion of what he called the “fussle ile” [fusel-oil] in it — the variety of potation usually described as “kill the cairter.”

[O.Sc. has cairtar, -air, -er, c.1470, a carter, earlier in place-names, c.1250 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cairter n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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