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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RAMPER, n. Also rampar; rampern (Watson); rampron- (Sc. 1818 Sawers); ramplon (Ayr. 1825 Jam.). Most freq. in comb. ramper eel. The sea-lamprey, Petromyzon marinus (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1892 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. I. 25; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); less freq. the river lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis (Gall. 1829 Annals Sc. Nat. Hist. I. 25); a bait worm of the genus Arenicola, a lug-worm (Kcd., Ags. 1967); in s.Sc. = any large eel (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slk. 1947).Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IV. 217:
These spotted eels are here called Ramper Eels. It is said they will attack man, or even black cattle, when in the water.
Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 358:
Quhare ramper-ells entwin'd.
n.Sc. 1818 E. Burt Letters I. 122 Note:
The ramper-eel, lamprey, or nine eyes, is held in abhorrence.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 297:
With the yet animated tail wriggling and writhing among the ribands, for a' the warld like a newly catched rampar eel.
Uls. 1904 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. 128:
A thread-like creature a few inches in length. Boys in the country have a belief that a horse's hair placed in water for nine days turns to a ramper eel.

[An altered form of Lamper-eel, q.v.]

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"Ramper n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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