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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

CLAUGHT, CLAUCHT, Claght, Clacht, Klacht, v. and n. [klǫxt, klɑxt]

1. v. To grasp, seize forcibly, clutch (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.11937). W. H. Patterson in Gl. Ant. and Dwn. (1880) gives claght. Often followed by at.Sc. c.1700 This is no my Ain House in Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 24:
Then was it dink, or was it douce . . . To claucht my daddie's wee bit house?
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie, etc. 8:
Clachtin' at the wee bit “han'fu', ” Wha is noo in deep disgrace.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 97:
Sae nae agility avails, While they can claught him by the tails.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xii.:
The Bailie was, at all times, overly ready to claught at an alarum [as an excuse for exercising his official authority].

2. n.

(1) A clutch, a grasp, a grab (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.1, Arg.11937); “a firm hold” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., klacht).Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel iii.:
The lion has got a claught of our auld Scottish shield now, but it was as weel upheld when it had a unicorn on ilk side of it.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 37:
But ane I kent na took a claught of me.
Mearns 1857 A. Taylor Lummie 4:
And wi' a spring o' sudden power, He made a noble claucht at four [dogs], But miss'd them a'.
Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies of Lennox 209–210:
The de'il was sitting on the end of the long dyke, and made a claught at him as he passed.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Men of the Moss-Hags xxx.:
In that narrow place he gripped them both with the first claucht of his great arms.

Phr. to play claught, to make a grab or snatch at. Dmf. 1828 W. McVitie Jamie Tod 18: 
I ance played claught at her in the kitchen.

(2) In pl.: clutches (Bnff.2 1937).Edb. 1812 W. Glass Caledonian Parnassus 42:
An' gin he comes within our claughts, He'll get some lound'rin' knocks, man.
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 186:
In a' his pet transactions he never gets within the claughts o' the law.

(3) “As much as the hand is capable of holding” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 38; Bnff.2, Abd.2 1937), a handful.Abd. a.1879 W. Forsyth Sel. from Writings (1882) 188:
I'd seek nae tocher wi' my bride, Save what kind nature gae her; Nae claughts o' gear, nae acres wide.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie I. i.:
If your wife can lay her hands on a claught o' ony thing eatable for the family to tak wi' them, for God's sake tell her no to be scant or scrimpit.

(4) A blow (Ags.11937).Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 227: 
He dropped it wi' a clacht intil a corner o' 'e seat.
Ags. 1879 G. W. Donald Poems, etc. 8:
'Twas sad an' sair to thole When claught on claught th' scammit leather Cam tum'lin' ower me like a blether.
Edb. 1866 J. Smith Poems, etc. 155:
I'll gie them a claught mair siccar an' stour.

(5) A nickname for the Town Guard of Edinburgh. Edb. 1825 R. Chambers Traditions II. 297: 
A detachment of the Claucht came hurrying down the street, and put a stop to the battle.

[Formed from the pa.t. and pa.p. of Cleek, v.1, q.v.]

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"Claught v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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