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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GRUMPH, n., v. Also grumf(f).

I. n. 1. A grunt, either from an animal or a person. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs (1750) 20:
Better thole a grumph than a sumph.
Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael I. v.:
Pressing his lips together, he drew a long sigh or rather grumph, through his nose.
Edb. 1821 Private MSS. (20 April):
Frae Hogg [the Ettrick Shepherd] ye can get nought but grumph.
Sc. 1827 Scott Two Drovers i.:
If he had not had his morning in his head, . . . he would have spoken more like a gentleman. But you cannot have more of a sow but a grumph.
Sc. 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1864) III. 36:
A girn — or a toss o' your head — or a grumph, 's a' you aften condescend to gie in answer to a remark.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 209:
A fig for their pretended care, Their formal grumph and groan.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) v.:
“An' a weeda man too!” said Mysie wi' a grumph.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 49:
Sir Thomas gied a kin' o' grumph.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 15:
As aye the grumphs flew back an' fore I wished the drooth wid dry their tongue!

2. A name given to a pig (Abd., Ags., Per., Wgt. 1955). See also Grumphie, n., 1.Per. a.1869 C. Spence Poems (1898) 170:
That question ye maun spier at Grumph, Wha . . . was munchin' meallocks frae my pockets.
Ags. 1880 A. M. Soutar Hearth Rhymes 67:
Her hoose wid be nae empty hool If “grumph” wis in the bauks by Yule.
Dmf. 1903 J. L. Waugh Thornhill xvi.:
There's a slauchter-hoose noo, to where we tak' “grumph,” Afore we've her flakes on the rack.

3. One who grunts or complains, a grumbler, a grouser (Bnff., Abd., Per., Fif., Ayr., Kcb., Dmf., Slk. 1955). Hence grumphie, adj., ill-natured, grumpy. Gen.Sc.Kcb. 1912 G. M. Gordon Clay Biggin' 81:
Rory Duff, the baker, . . . himsel' (a grumphie kind o' body) was aye i' the bake-hoose.

II. v. 1. To grunt (both of animals and persons), to grumble, grouse (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry, Gl.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 70; Ant. 1931 North. Whig (14 Dec.) 9). Gen.Sc.Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 52:
The tither wis a pridefu' yade, A grumphin, girnin, snarlin jade.
Fif. 1824 J. Bissett Poems 184:
And several times he tried to grumph. Hoot, says I, ye maunna tear me, Nor wi' your grumphing try to fear me.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 76:
A stupid loggerhead of a fellow, who . . . grumfs at all genuine sports, and sits as sour as the devil, when all around him are joyous.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) V. 62:
She made a great deal o' grumphing an' groaning about the misfortune.
Mry. 1840 Lintie o' Moray (1887) 88:
Silk purse ye canna mak' O' lug o' sow that grumphs, Sirs!
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xii.:
The loathly sow . . . grunting and grumphing most filthily.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 8:
He wis a girnin' deevil, faith, an' never hed a please, Bit aye gaed grumphin' oot an' in wi' ne'er a wird o' reeze.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 26:
In a place I ken there's a wee soo lies in the clart, Grumphin' away wi' her gruntle deep in the glaur.
ne.Sc. 1953 Mearns Leader (25 Sept.):
Johnny Ettles dauchelt wi's haimmerin' lang aneuch tae grumph — “Ay, its a gran' treat aweyt.”
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 48:
He glowres, his broon een
drumlie, hachers, grumphs: "It's nae richt"
as the snortlin tractor stotters doon the dreels.

2. To sulk, be surly.Rnf. 1947 J. F. Hendry Fernie Brae i. i.:
His grandfather was still not speaking to his uncle. He was “grumphing.”

[Imit.: cf. Eng. grunt.]

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"Grumph n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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