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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

MADDER, n. Also mather; mether. [′mɑdər, ′meðər]

1. A square wooden vessel, used as a measure of liquor. Hence madder('s) full, mather fu', metherful, the quantity contained in a madder or madders (w.Sc. 1825 Jam.).Uls. 1749 Caled. Mercury (21 Aug.):
After the Feast, the Company . . . put about the Madder of Whisky between every Song.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 89:
An' Michael wi' a matherfu' Crys “Welcome to the manor.”
Sc. 1814 C. I. Johnstone Saxon & Gael. I. ii.:
[She] was there at home crying out her eyes madders' full, fit for neither mill nor moss.
Uls. 1840 W. Carleton Tales I. 97:
The wind ris, and the rain fell as if it came out of methers.
Uls.3 1930:
Mether, the small square-shaped wooden vessel with an “ear” on each side which was used as a drinking vessel.

2. A similar vessel used in a mill to hold meal (w.Sc. 1825 Jam.).

[A borrowing of Anglo-Irish madder, mether = 1., ad. Ir. meadar, a measure.]

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



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