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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CUITER, COOT(H)ER, CUTER, Kuter, Couther, Cuther, Couter, Cuitter, Ciutar, Cutter, v. Often used with up. [′kutər, ′kuθər, ′kjutər]

1. (1) tr. To nurse back to health; to pamper, fuss over (Ayr.4 1928, cuitter); “it is used in reference to a person who exercises the greatest care about his own health or that of another, and who is also at pains to have such meats and drinks prepared as will be most grateful to the palate” (Sc. 1808 Jam., cuter, kuter).Sc. 1832–46 Deuk's Dang o'er my Daddie in Whistle-Binkie, 1st Series (1856) 83:
I've seen the day you butter'd my brose, And cuitered me late and early, O.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xxxv.:
Wha has been sae coothered up as he has since he cam' here?
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull (1887) 36:
She thinks that, havin' the puir boarder a' to hersel', she'll couter him up till he offers himsel' as her guidman.

(2) intr. with refl. force: to nurse oneself, esp. by warmth; “to nestle round” (Cai. 1911 D.D. in John o' Groat Jnl. (17 Feb.), cuther).Ags. 1813 [W. Johnston] in Montrose Review (30 July) 240:
Sit whan winter cauld was bitin' Couthrin' at the ingle cheek.

2. To coax, to wheedle, esp. to wheedle into good behaviour by pampering (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.2 1941; Ayr.4 1928, obs.).Sc. 1928 T. S. Cairncross in Scots Mag. (July) 274:
We dinna pey and couther weel-trained folk To sing for us and staun like lumps o' rock.
wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan II. 122:
No that easy to be guided, unless he be cuiterit up by some canny hand.
Arg.1 1941:
That wean's anither laddie when he's wi' his auntie. She ciutars (cooters) him up fine.

Hence cuiterer, cutterer, “a coaxer, wheedler, fawner, fair-speaker” (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.6).

3. “To mend, patch, put to rights” (Sc., Per. 1898 E.D.D., cutter).wm.Sc. [1835–37] Laird of Logan (1868) 560:
The doctor may plaster and cuiter us up for a while.

[Cf. n.Eng. dial. couther, cowther, to comfort by the aid of refreshment and warmth, to cure by the use of remedies, which E.D.D. says is prob. an aphetic form of Fr. accoutrer, to arrange, set out, O.Fr. acou(s)trer, to prepare, fortify, but this is doubtful.]

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"Cuiter v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2023 <>



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