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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHOUDER, n., v. Also shooder (Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 9; Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lad's Love v.), shu(d)der (Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 19), shuider (Kcb. 1913 A. Anderson Later Poems 6), showder; shidder; shoolder (Mry. 1908 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 87); shouther (Ayr. 1785 Burns Halloween v.; Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xvii.), shoother (Peb. 1793 R. D. C. Brown Comic Poems (1817) 118; Ags. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.; Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 149; Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 184), shoothir (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 155), shoulther (m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood ix.), showther (Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 93), shuther. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. shoulder (Abd. 1739 Caled. Mag. (1788) 498; Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. vi., Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). [′ʃudər, ′ʃuðər (see D, 4.); em.Sc. + ′ʃɪðər]

I. n.

Sc. forms of Eng. shoulder (shooder Sh., Bnff., Abd., Fif., Edb., Arg., Gsw., Ayr., Rxb.; shidder Ags.; shouther Cai.; shoolder Cai. 2000s). ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 63:
Lug to the cushion I steek my een
and let my cheek and shouther beek
in the cosmic ingle o the sun.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 66:
'I am indeed. But how dare you, woman, pluck at my coat. Awa' wi' you ... you're but litterin' the plainstanes. I dinnae gie charity on the street to the likes of you. Awa' wi' you afore I take my stick across your shouthers.'
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 3:
Ah'll knoack yer heid aff yer shooderz.
Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 52:
"Mr. Patel's a big-built man. Broahid shidders. A handsome man. ... "
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 32:
Wi his helmet on his heid,
bandolier roond his breist,
watter-bottle on his hip,
rifle ower his shoother,
he traiks amang the stoor:
Abd. 1995 Sheena Blackhall Lament for the Raj 24:
His showders are braid as the Forth Road Brig
His shanks are heigh as a Nor Sea rig
Ags. 1995 Courier 18 Mar :
"I remember the recipe [for a tattie-bogle] was also a good lesson in old Scots words. ...The cross-sticks supporting his shuiders have to be fixed at the oxters, and then his slaives have to be tied to his shakkles with bits of sparty...Breeks for his shanks, bauchles for his feet, and the tattie-bogle is complete. ... "
wm.Sc. 2000 Liz Lochhead Medea 40:
smoothing it over her breists and shooders
Jason whistled she shimmied to the mirror
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 59:
Wi shouthers square't, they roll a wee, -
thir mainners an thir bearin,
inspires the hert an prides the ee, -
a feelin aa can share in.

1. As in Eng. Combs. and phr.: (1) shooder-boy, a stout branch of a tree carried home on the shoulder for firewood (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); (2) shouther-bun', stiff in the shoulders or arms: (3) shooder-cleek, the hook on a cart-shaft to which the shoulder-chain from the hames on the collar is attached for draught (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Lth., Dmb. 1970). Also in Nhb. dial.; (4) shoother-cup, the socket of the shoulder bone; (5) shoother-heid, id., the shoulder-joint (ne., em. and s.Sc. 1970); (6) shoulder-lyar, -lyre, the cut of beef from the upper fore-leg of a carcase, corresp. roughly to Eng. brisket (Sc. 1960 Edb. Ev. News (7 March)). See Lire, n.1, 2.; (7) shouder-naipyin, a scarf (Ayr. 1970); (8) shoulder-net, a fishing-net fixed on a pole restingon the fisherman's shoulder (see quot.); (9) shouther-pick, a pick-axe, one wielded over the shoulder (ne.Sc. 1970); (10) never to look ower one's shouder, = Eng. “never to look back”, i.e. to progress without interruption, to go steadily forward, not to fail, relapse, etc. (ne., m. and s.Sc. 1970).(2) Sc. 1822 Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 384:
He has a cramp bow-hand. He's shoother-bun'.
(4) Rnf. 1852 J. Fraser Poems 105:
To lift the pen into my hand, 'Twill loose my shoother cup.
(5) Abd. 1886 North. Figaro (12 June) 10:
Garrin' me think I had ca'd mysell oot at baith the shoother heeds.
Fif. 1895 S. Tytler Kincaid's Widow i.:
Young Maclain, standing there the height of my shouther-head.
Slk. 1904 Border Mag. (March) 48:
Some idea how my back and shouther-heids felt.
Abd. 1961 P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 44:
I've hauled an' rived 'is mornin' till my shooder heids are sair.
(6) Sc. 1855 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 693:
The shoulder-lyar is a coarse piece, and fit only for boiling fresh to make into broth or beef-tea.
(8) Kcb. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 IX. 322:
By far the greatest number of salmon, grilse and sea trouts, are caught in the night time, by what they term the fishing with the shoulder-nets. There is a small net fixed to a semicircular bow of iron, and this is fixed to a pole of about 18 feet in length. The fisherman ties a small piece of bended wood, with a groove in it, upon his left shoulder, for the pole of the net to slide upon. He . . . throws his net straight before him to the water, . . . and draws it straight to him on the bottom, sliding the pole upon the groove of wood upon his left shoulder.
(9) Abd. 1884 D. Grant Keckleton 48:
Ane o' my spades an' a shouther-pick were lyin' upon the unthrown yird.
Abd. 1965 Abd. Press and Jnl. (30 Dec.):
They nott the shoother pick yesterday, takkin' in a ruck.
(10) Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 128:
He's gettin' on rale weel, an' has never lookit owre his shou'der since.

2. In pl.: a coat-hanger (em.Sc.(a), Lth., Rnf. 1970).

3. In dim. shouderie, shoodery, (1) a shoulder shawl (Cai., Dmb., sm.Sc. 1970); (2) a throw in the game of knifie s.v. Knife, 1. (see quot.) (Bnff. 1970); (3) a ride on one's shoulders, a pick-a-back (Ayr. 1970; Bnff., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s).(2) Bnff. 1966 Bnff. Advert. (17 March) 8:
There followed a series of six flicks off the ball of the thumb, and then came knee-kie, split-fingery, wristie, elbickie, shooderie, broo-kie, nosikie and moo-kie. These are fairly self-explanatory, the knife being held against the knee, wrist, etc., and projected toward the ground by the forefinger.
(3)Gsw. 1985 Michael Munro The Patter 62:
shoodery When an adult lifts a child up to sit on his shoulders (shooders) to carry him or allow him a better view in a crowd this is called giving him a shoodery: 'Ah could see nuthin till ma dad gied us a shoodery.'
Gsw. 1987 Peter Mason C'mon Geeze Yer Patter! 25:
Gauny geeza shoodery so's ah c'n see? Will you lift me up on your shoulders so that I can get a better view?
Gsw. 1990:
To carry a child on one's shoulders is to give it a shouderie.
Edb. 2004:
Ye see laddies gien lassies shooderies at pop concerts.

4. The swelling part of a wave rising to the crest (Bnff., Arg., Ayr., Gall. 1970).Arg. 1946 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 220:
The spray that whips aboard at “the slack o' the shoother” as she plunges into the swell.

5. A rounded shoulder-like part of a hill below the top where the rise is much less steep and the ground flattens out, a flattish ridge (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 193; Sh., n.Sc. 1970).Kcd. 1784 Session Papers, Earl of Peterborough v. Garrioch (3 Jan.) 9:
Monlouth is only a part of the Meikle Hawksnest, or a shoulder (as it is called in the language of the country).
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iv.:
Coming whistling and singing over the shoulder of the Hermon-Law.
Kcd. 1899 A. C. Cameron Fettercairn 65:
A huge bonfire blazed on the “Cross-shouther”.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 15:
Keekin bye the shooder o the Dunion.

6. The rounded dome-shaped upper part of the pot of a whisky-still on which the head is set (ne.Sc. 1970).Sc. 1799 Report Cttee. Distilleries Scot. 730:
The Steam, pent up beneath the shoulders of the Still.
Abd. 1892 Innes Review (Autumn 1956) 89:
There was a thing ca'ed the shudder, which gaed o' the pot.

II. v. 1. In phrs.: shouder-the-win, n., a deformity in which one shoulder is higher than the other; adj., up in one shoulder (n.Sc., Dmb., Ayr., Gall. 1970); to shouder the wa, to loaf about, “to hold up the wall.”Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxii.:
Poacher Dod wi his shooder-'e-win'.
Abd. 1960 Huntly Express (9 Sept.) 2:
He “shouthered the wa'.” Or in plainer language, preferred loitering to working.

2. To walk in a heavy, lumbering way, to plod (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 155, Bnff. 1970).Ags. 1894 People's Friend (23 July) 466:
I got a glint o' his ugly face shutherin' ower Glen Moye.
Abd. 1933 J. H. Smythe Blethers 17:
But aye he shouthered up the hill As weel's his feet wad let him.

3. In plastering: to torch, to point the inside joints of slating laid on lath with mortar. Gen. in ppl.adj. shouldered, vbl.n. shouldering (Sc. 1946 Spons' Builders' Pocket-Book 442, 1952 Builder (20 June) 943).

[O.Sc. schuder, shoulder, a.1538.]

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"Shouder n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2024 <>



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