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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLOUP, n. Also gloop, †glupe. A sea-cave or chasm (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1954); “spec. in Ork. of a deep chasm or pit a little way back from the cliff-edge, but having an opening to, or connexion with, the sea down below. Looking down into the gloop one may see the sea dashing about in the bottom. A gloop is thus a big cave, the top of which has fallen in at the inner end” (Ork. 1929 Marw.). [glup]Cai. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VIII. 150:
Near the top of the rock, and on that which faces the Orkneys, there is a vast gulph or cavern, (called, by the neighbouring inhabitants, the Glupe), stretching all around perpendicularly down, till its dusky bottom comes on a level with the sea.
Ork. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 170:
A deep cavern which in the neighbouring district is called the gloup. It is situated a few yards from the precipice on the east coast, is eighty feet deep, and fifty-six by thirty wide; and the water in its bottom communicates with the open sea by a passage through which a boat may enter, at certain states of the tide and weather.
Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles xvii.:
This idea [that the elves were melancholy] probably originated from the moaning sound made by the wind and waves in the geos and gloups where they were supposed to dwell.
Ork. 1951 Ronald Miller ed. The Third Statistical Account of Scotland: The county of Orkney (1985) 162:
A Gloup may be described as a big cave which is open to the sky at its inner end. The Gloup of Deerness may be entered from the sea by boat, but most visitors have to be content with looking down a deep chasm to the surface of the water about 80 feet below.
Sc. 1998 Herald 3 Jan 45:
About halfway along, rough man-made steps lead through the ferns into a mysterious silent cavern shaped like a circular pit with a dark, narrow tunnel leading to the sea - what they call a "gloup" in the Northern Isles.
Ork. 2000 Orcadian 11 May 17:
The famous Vat of Kirbuster. This dramatic opening, or gloup, is spanned by the finest natural arch in Orkney.

[Norw. dial. glup, glop, chasm, gulf, abyss, hollow or deep mountain fissure. Cf. E. Fris. glupe, glopp, cleft, fissure; Du. gluip, small opening, glop, hollow, cleft.]

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"Gloup n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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