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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCRATH, n., v. Also skrath; scroth (Bch. coast); †scratch (Bnff. 1921 T.S.D.C.). [skrɑθ; Bch. skrɔθ]

I. n. 1. The shag or cormorant, Phalacrocorax (Bnff. 1847 Zoologist V. 1909; Bnff., Abd. 1969).Sc. 1842 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 297:
A scrath, a huge grey creature, three feet long, with wings clipped, struts about the mussel middens.
Bnff. 1926 Banffshire Jnl. (18 May) 8:
Nae yalla-fittit peulie splashed, Nae scrath or marat stirred.
Bch. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 4:
A scroth or three, With wings outspread to catch the sun.

II. v. In deriv. form scrathie, to dive in swimming, like a cormorant, to plunge (Bnff. c.1890 Gregor MSS.).

[O.Sc. scrath, tr., 1683, metathetic form of scarth, Scart, n.3, q.v.]

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"Scrath n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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