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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEAP, v., n. [Sc. lip, em.Sc.(a) lep]

A. Forms. Pr.t. leap; leep (Lnk. 1723 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 217); lape; laip (Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes lx.), lepp (Ags. 1951 C. Sellars Open the Westport 191). Pa.t. strong: lap (Sc. 1715 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 68, 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 195; Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 185; Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf xvii.; Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 57; e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 11; Gall. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 253; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Abd. 1926 Dieth Bch. Dial. 180; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc., obsol.; laup (Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake (1819) 74; Ags. 1855 “Robin” Rimes 16; Abd. 1875 G. Macdonald Malcolm I. iii.; Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 26); lape (Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 123), lep (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 130), lepp (Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 66); strong-weak lapt (Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Poems 56; wm.Sc. 1876 J. Napier Folk-Lore 108; Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 13); weak leapt; leppit, -ed. Pa.p. strong luppen (Ayr. 1790 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 401; Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xv.; Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. xi.; Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads II. 201; Rxb. 1873 D.S.C.S. 206; Abd. 1926 Dieth Bch. Dial. 160; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai); loppin (Jam.); lippen (wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 421); ¶lup (Ayr. 1912 G. Cunningham Verse 177). The word has now largely been displaced by Lowp, q.v., with similar usages, orig. in the present tense and now in all forms.

B. Sc. usages: 1. tr. To leap from, get out of, flee. Rare.Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton xxviii.:
His estates were declared bankrupt, and he himself “lap the countra” in order to avoid the diligence of his creditors.

2. intr. To spring out of position.Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 65:
The ankers brak, and the topmasts lap.

3. Of frost: to thaw, dissolve (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Loup:
“The frost's loppin,” the frost which prevailed during night has given way about sunrise; which is gen. a presage of rain before evening.
Abd. 1817 J. Christie Instructions 23:
The frost had leap'd which brought a show'r.
Sc. 1849 H. Stephens Bk. Farm I. 139:
When frost suddenly gives way in the morning about sunrise, it is said to have “leapt”.

4. (1) To split, burst open, spring apart, of sewing in a dress (Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Loup), in a shoe (Bnff., Abd. 1935), of potatoes from their skins in boiling (Dmf. 1960). Also in n.Eng. dial.; to burst and discharge, of a festering sore (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); to open out, of a brassica running to seed (Ib.).Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 7:
The luppin' tatties in a heap Are unco sweet tae pree.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 4:
Thae's graand meely taatihs; thay're aa luppen.

(2) Of the face: to become a deeper colour, to flush with blushing or with a skin eruption (Sh. 1960).Sh. 1900 Shetland News (4 May):
Her face lep as red as a coll.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 14:
A luppen-oot face.

5. Combs.: (1) leaping-ague, chorea, St Vitus's dance; (2) leaping-ill, a disease of sheep (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). See Loup; (3) leaping-on-stone, a stone set up to assist riders to mount their horses. See Loup; (4) leap-the-garter, a children's game; (5) luppen s(h)innen, -sinon, -sennet (Watson), a ganglion, a swelling or tumour on a sinew or tendon (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rnf., Kcb., Dmf. 1930). See Sinnen; (6) luppen-steek, a dropped stitch, in knitting (Ayr.4 1928); fig. a gap, omission. See also Loup.(1) Ags. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IV. 5:
A distemper, called by the country-people the leaping ague.
(3) Gsw. 1721 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 123:
Laying the broad stone for the leaping on stone at the Westport.
Sc. 1837 Lockhart Scott xiv.:
He immediately trotted to the side of the leaping-on-stone, of which Scott from his lameness found it convenient to make use.
(4) Gsw. c.1780 Glasgow Past & Present (1884) III. 149:
Playing at the “penny stanes,” at “hap, stap, and jump,” at “leap the garter,” at “leap frog,” at “putting the stane.”
(5) Fif. 1899 Proc. Philos. Soc. Gsw. XXXI. 39:
A tendon is a leader or a sinon; varicose veins being mistakenly termed luppen sinons. Ganglion is also so described.
(6) Sc. 1925 Cadger's Creel (Douglas) 27:
There's nae luppen-steiks in his wark.

[O.Sc. conjugates lepe; lap(e), leapt; loppin, lappin, lepin. The strong conjugation no longer represents the orig. O.E. forms, having altered on the analogy partly of Class II verbs like Rin, spin, begin, etc. (hence lap, luppen), partly of Class IV like Bear (hence lape, lep, loppin).]

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"Leap v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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