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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CHAP, v.1 [tʃɑp]

1. To knock or strike: (1) in gen. (Ork., Cai., Bnff., Abd., Fif., Edb., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s); (2) of a clock. Gen.Sc. except for I.Sc. and Cai.; cf. Chop, v.1; (3) with a hammer, e.g. in a smithy (Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.2, Fif.10, Kcb.1 1939); (4) in the game of curling: to strike away a stone (Cai.7, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Lnk.3 1939); (5) in the game of dominoes: “to knock on the table in order to indicate that one has not a suitable domino to play” (Edb.5 1939); used fig. in quot. Gen.Sc. Also sim. used in playing cards. Deriv. chapper, a person who misses a turn in dominoes (Cai., Bnff., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s). (1) wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 173:
He chappit on the Bible and raised his twa hands abune his heid.
wm.Sc. 1995 Alan Warner Morvern Callar 86:
I drank what you could spare of the milk then chapped the eggs on those stones I'd lugged up from the river to put round the fire.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 16:
Than wi' chirten and chappen, down comes the clay hallen and the hen bauk.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) ii.:
Sometimes he chapped him on the nose, and then on the lug.
(2) ne.Sc. 2004 Press and Journal 31 May 12:
Doublin back, the wifie calm't me doon an ordered me oot o the car in the traffic steer o the nerra streets o Dunblane jist as the clock wis chappin alaiven an the doors aboot tae be steekit.
Abd.(D) 1920 G. P. Dunbar Guff o' Peat Reek 19:
I aften heard my mither say the “knock” jist chappit five.
Ags. 1990s:
The cloak chapped fower. The clock struck four.
(3) Cai. 1930 Caithness Forum in John o' Groat Jnl. (18 April):
The're seven blacksmiths scattered back an' 'fore 'tween Chicago an' Vancouver 'at A kent chappin' in smiddies here an' 'ere in Bower.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 215:
He had chapped his thoom with a claw hammer.
Ags. c.1870 (per Ags.17):
When I was a young chap, chappin' at the smiddy, O.
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 130:
He wanted four shoes for some of his horses. As John never liked to be hurried or put out of his usual way, he said he did not think he could make them. “What way?” asked the Archbishop. “Because,” said the smith, “there's n'ane aboot han' tae chap.”
(4) Lnk. 1864 J. C. Shairp Kilmahoe, etc. 182:
Some lie at hog-score, some owre a' ice roar, “Here's the tee,” “there's the winner,” “chap and lift him twa yards.”

Phrase: chap an' lie, “to strike away the opponent's stone and make your stone lie in its place” (Abd.9, Slg.3 1939); also used in bowling (Ayr.4 1928).Ags. 1883 J. Kennedy Sc. and American Poems 98:
Canny aye it chipp'd the winner — Never fail'd to chap an' lie.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Langsyne in Braefoot iv.:
A week frae that wad throw ye intil the winner, an' if played like a man ye wad chap an' lie.
(5) Sc. 1995 Daily Record 14 Feb 10:
What is it about domino players? Recently a crowd of these so-called sportsmen have invaded our local. I thought that you had to be over 18 to go to a pub, but these noisy chappers behave like bairns.
Sc. 1996 Scotland on Sunday 4 Aug 8:
There is no malice in him, no finger-pointing or sermonising, but nose-pickers and plouk-squeezers have no hiding place. Folk lean into blatters of rain and snow as if balancing a dinghy in a squall. He catches us in the act - canoodlers and fornicators, philanderers and chantywrasslers, musicians, feardygowk footballers and improbable angels, cats, card players, domino chappers and social derelicts.
em.Sc. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 126:
The Englishman's laughter filled the silent bar, then died. A domino clacked on to a table. Another chapped. Rebus left his glass where it was and approached the group.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems in two Tongues 19:
Till even the droothy stapped drinkin' tae hae a sicht O' playin' sae braw — And noo ye hae played us a pliskie tae gie us a fricht, Chapp'd yince and for a'.

2. (1) To tap at a door or window, gen. as a signal, esp. as followed by out. (Known to Ork.1, Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.19, Fif.1, Arg.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1939; Ork., Cai., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s).Sc. 1818 Blackwood Mag. III. 531:
Chappin out, is the phrase used in many parts of Scotland to denote the tirl on the lozen, or slight tap at the window, given by the nocturnal wooer to his mistress.
Sc. 1995 Scotsman 2 May 3:
" ... The postie kept chapping on the door and I thought it was the poll tax people, so nobody would answer it. ..."
Sc. 2004 Scotsman 16 Sep 24:
PS: Jack had better make sure that his next TV appearance is not Danny Baker chappin' on his door and asking him to take the Daz challenge.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 133:
Chap out as monie yonkers frae your glen, As ilka horn an' hoove o' yours may ken.
Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past and Present Abdsh. 126:
The geese chaps at the yitt; the gaaner he cries, fa?
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 26:
My nieves are sair wi chappin
but nocht as sair as my dunched hairt;
I canna aye joke the dunts awa.
m.Sc. 1990 James Meek in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 99:
I knocked again and someone started beating a snare drum. When I chapped the third time the door opened and out marched the orange brigade band of Milngavie ...
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Alan Jamieson A Day at the Office 56:
The flat had a light on in it and he chapped. After a moment, the door opened.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 106:
He unsnecked the door and Mitchel was hit by the icy night. They looked around but the courtyard was silent and empty. 'She'll chap when she wants back in,' the Major said.
Gsw. 1985 James Kelman A Chancer 8:
Don't come barging in here without chapping!
Gsw. 1991 Scotsman 25 Mar 11:
Happily, at that confusing juncture the right man materialises chapping on the British Telecom booth with his mobile phone.
Gsw. 1993 Herald 18 Jan 4:
...the incessant supply of Herald readers who now chap on our door and say: "I hope you don't mind me asking but is this the City Croft?"
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop J. Mathison's Courtship, etc. 44:
He chappit doon tae the engineman tae lessen the speed o' the boat.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders xxi.:
When I chappit at the door.

Hence chapper, a man employed to go the rounds early in the morning to arouse factory workers. See also Chapper-up. Ags. 1881 J. S. Neish Byways 133:
At the time Jamie held the office of "chapper" in Montrose the Ten Hours' Factory Act had not come into operation.
Dundee 1987 Norman Lynn Row Laddie Sixty Years On 59:
It concerned a 'Chapper' a man whose job it was to waken people in the early morning, being described as someone's half-brother.

(2) To knock at (a door etc.) (Cai., Abd., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 2000s).Sc. 1995 David Purves Hert's Bluid 20:
A hae hard tell anaw that at
the tyme thai open Paurliement,
thai hae ane unco chiel, Blek Rod,
that thryce maun chap the chaumer dure ...
m.Sc. 1991 Robert Alan Jamieson A Day at the Office 15:
He chapped the door three times, then leant forward to try to see in through the peep-hole fish eye.
Edb. 1991 Gordon Legge In Between Talking about the Football 77:
They have chapped the doors of the thirty-three places in our wee town that you can buy dope and have come up with nothing.
Edb. 1992:
I chapped the door before going in.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 37:
You used to chap the doors and they asked you to sing or say a poem and you got nuts and apples.
Gsw. 1983 James Kelman Not not while the giro 158:
On the first floor each of the flats had had its door taken off. He passed quickly up to the second and chapped the only flat which had one.

3. “To bruise, as by a nip or squeeze” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Ib.:
A chappit ma finger.

4. Of sand: to grind small (Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1939). Vbl.n. chapping.Gsw. 1898 D. Willox Poems and Sk. 14:
Young Willox was, at an early age, sent to work at “Sand Chapping,” an occupation now unknown. . . . In those days most of the houses of the poorer class had earthen, or clay, floors, which were beaten hard, and when roughly swept and sprinkled with fine sand were considered clean.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1912) i.:
I never chappit sand or made mud pies, or waded on wat days in the syver.

5. To mash vegetables, such as potatoes, turnips, etc. Ppl.adj. chapped, chappet. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1733 Scornfu' Nancy ii. in Orpheus Caled. (2nd ed.) I. 25:
Chapped Stocks fou butter'd well.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 101:
Syne chappet kail an' yirn't milk cam'.
Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 64:
Lifts off a pat o' tatties frae the fire, an' chaps them wi' a beetle.

Hence chappies, chappities, mashed potatoes (Ags. 1884 Brechin Advertiser (22 April) 3/3, chappies; Ags.17 1939, chappities).

6. To cut into small pieces, to chop (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1939). Ppl.adj. chappit.Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 16:
The “Jock horse” got “chappit funs” put before him by Mary. Whins and thistles were used for horses and cattle.
Ags. 1925 Forfar Dispatch (3 Dec.) 3/3:
We wis awfu' for creeshie-mealie tae, and sometimes it wis made wi' a chappit ingin and plenty shooet cut up sma' amon'd.
Dmf. c.1784 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 98:
Chap aff my head, my hinnie, my heart.

7. With adv. complement: †(1) chap away, to move off; (2) chap back, (a) to rebuff; known to Abd.9 1939; (b) to speak back, retort; (3) chap in aboot, to take (a person) down a peg or two, to snub (Bnff.2, Abd.19 1939); (4) chap up, (i) to poke or stir up (a dull fire); (ii) to knock (a person) up, to arouse from sleep by knocking on a door or window (ne.Sc. 1975); †(5) chap yont, = (1).(1) Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 265:
Sae I thinks that I'll chap away up to Matthew Hyslop's bit house, and see if it be true that the gouk said.
(2) (a) Sc. 1818 H. Midlothian xxxv.:
Dinna be chappit back or cast down wi' the first rough answer.
(b) Abd.9 1939:
He began misca'in' me, but I chappit back rale hearty an' that seen seelenced 'im.
(3) Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xix.:
“Gin that didna tak' the stiffin' oot o' Kirsty's cockernony, I'se lea'e't.” “I'm rael glaid 't ye chappit 'er in aboot the richt gate,” said Mrs Birse.
(4) Cld. 1866 G. Mills Beggar's Benison I. 50:
A clear fire burned kindly, now that it had been "chapped up".
(5) Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 38:
Sae chap ye yont, ye filthy dud, An' crib some clocker's chuckie brood.

8. Phrases: (1) chap-door-run, a children's game in which one knocks at a door and runs away (Fif., Edb. 2000s); (2) to chap han(d)s, to clasp hands in token of an engagement or bargain; known to Slg.3 1939; (3) to chap in the taes, to snub (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1939); (4) to chap one's heels, “to kick one's heels” (Kcb.10 1939); (5) to chap one's soles, to walk; not known to our correspondents.(1) Sc. 1993 Independent 21 Mar 20:
One of our favourite ways of harassing adults was to keep knocking on the door and running away (it was a game that went by different names: Door-a-bella, Chap-door-run-away, White horses). It drove people mad.
Sc. 1997 Daily Record 24 May 2:
"A favourite with local kids, especially when it comes to chap-door-run."
Sc. 1997 Scotsman 6 Aug 3:
They invoked his "good natured" ire by dragging him from his carry-out and TV with games of chap-door-run-away.
Sc. 2000 Sunday Herald 20 Aug 19:
Next week, we launch our campaign to have "Chap Door Run Away" introduced as a demonstration sport at the Sydney Olympics.
Sc. 2003 Scotland on Sunday 15 Jun 17:
Nor is it tenable that before television robbed them of independent thought, children all sat about reading Treasure Island and discussing world affairs: most of them were too busy playing that old favourite "chap door, run away".
Fif. 1985 Christopher Rush A Twelvemonth and a Day 234:
It was chap-door-run, for we were men of the snows and the Muscovite campaigns and no-one could face us in our accustomed element.
(2) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 120:
Your just request we canna well deny, Syn Lindy has wi' Bydby chapped hands.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick iii.:
Weel, what wi' me tormentin him, an' the ither fallows a' eggin him on, Geordie chapp'd han's.
Kcb. 1900 R. B. Trotter in Gallovidian II. No. 6, 60:
“Chap han's on't.” So they chapped hands. [Given also in MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. (1824) 132.]
(3) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 24:
The gangin' smatchit got's taes chappit in in fine order, in he geed awa unco hingin'-luggit.
(5) Per. 1898 E.D.D.:
I'm gaun out to chap my soles for a wee.

[O.Sc. has chap, to strike, a.1568; to knock, rap at a door, a.1578; to shake (hands) in friendship or in confirmation of a bargain, 1605; to strike (of a clock or hour), 1695; later form of chop, idem (D.O.S.T.). For change of vowel, see P.L.D. § 54.]

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"Chap v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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