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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CUTTER, n.2 A bottle holding half a mutchkin of whisky and gen. shaped to be carried in the hip-pocket (Cai.7 1941, Mry.2 c.1890; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.17, Fif.10 1941). [′kʌtər]Mry. [1865] W. H. L. Tester Poems (1886) 22:
In her left breest the “cutter” was carefully stow'd.
Bnff. 1922 J. Robertson in Bnffsh. Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2:
Certain visitors were blamed for carrying a “cutter,” the contents of which were pure Milton [whisky from the Milton-Duff distillery].
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 24:
An' gin ye're wise ye'll no' say “Na,” Fan Doo han's roon the cutter.
Ags. 1884 Arbroath Guide (19 April) 4/2:
A' the crockery ware ye can find in the room Is a fitless dram glass and a “cutter” half toom.

Phrases: 1. to fraught (freight) the cutter, to fill up a glass or bottle; 2. to (ti) rin (run) the cutter (1) “to bring away liquor from a public-house or brewery unobserved by outsiders (as e.g. by hiding it under an apron)” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; also Mry.11928; Bnff.2, Abd.2 1941; Ags.9 1927, run — —; Ags.2, Fif.10, Fif.13 (for s.Per., Arg., Clc.) 1941). Fig. uses taken from smuggling; (2) to act as a bookie's runner.1. Ags. 1881 Brechin Advertiser (27 Dec.) 3/5:
Look sharp, auld wife, an fraught the cutter.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
Jeames . . . freights the cutter oot o' the “North Port” greybeard, an' slips it into his oxter pouch.
2. (1) Edb. 1938 Fred Urquhart Time Will Knit (1988) 69:
"They went to school together. Danny used to run the cutter for his mother and whiles Tom went with him."
Arg. 1992:
In fact, Ah ran the cutter masel for a certain auld buddy.
(2) Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 18:
cutter To run the cutter is to act as a bookie's runner or simply to take another person's line to the betting-shop for him.

[Humorously applied to the bottle for holding whisky from the name of the vessel (gen. smuggling) used to import it, or (in Phrase 2) from revenue cutter, vessel employed by customs authorities for prevention of smuggling.]

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"Cutter n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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