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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

THRAPPLE, n.1, v.1 Also †thrapill, †thraple (Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 163); thropple, ¶throapple, †thropill (Lnk. 1922 T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 50); and I.Sc. forms trap(p)le, trappel. See T, letter, 9. [Sc. ′θrɑpəl, I.Sc. ′trɑp-]

I. n. The windpipe (Sc. 1755 S. Johnson Dict., 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 129; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein: Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Freq. also applied more loosely to the gullet, the throat, of human beings and animals. Also the throat as a source of the sense of taste. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial., and applied chiefly to horses. Also in fig. contexts.Sc. 1735 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 131:
Bring to the Warld the luckless Wean, And sneg its Infant Thrapple.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 69:
The sky's now casten, and, wi' thrapples clear, The birds about were making merry cheer.
Ayr. 1785 Burns To J. Goldie iv.:
Now she fetches at the thrapple, An' fights for breath.
Per. 1801 Letters J. Ramsay (S.H.S.) 57:
One of the chief's ancestors who said the sweetest morsel he ever ate was the thrapple of an Englishman.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
‘When we had a Scotch Parliament, Pate,' says I (and deil rax their thrapples that reft us o't!)
Slk. 1826 Hogg Poems (1874) 413:
The great muckle village of Balmaquhapple? 'Tis steep'd in iniquity up to the thrapple.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xv.:
He was primed to the tap o' the thrapple wi' some confoondit clashes.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxii.:
A bane that'll stick i' the thrapple o' the Moderate pairty.
Sc. 1889 Stevenson M. of Ballantrae ii.:
The Master — the deil's in their thrapples that should call him sae!
Ork. 1904 Dennison Sketches 14:
The de'ilie sic wine ever geed doon the traple o' a Auld Reekie man!
Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 93:
It seeps doon through your thrapple into your lungs.
wm.Sc. 1944 J. Bridie Mr Bolfry iii.:
To have the thrapple of you out by the foots.
Bwk. 1947 W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 62:
Till a' oor cocks flee up and craw Wi' lusty thrapple, “Duns dings a'”.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 30:
It [whisky] should be matured in a cask for at least five or seven years to lose any harshness and bite; for it is not worthy to be drunk till it goes over the thrapple like milk and then glows up like a rising sun.
wm.Sc. 1954 Robin Jenkins The Thistle and the Grail (1994) 158:
"Wha asked you?"
Nuneaton dug the words out of his thrapple. "Mr. Rutherford."
Abd. 1970 Press & Journal (30 Jan.):
Yer thrapple shuts ticht wi' the kink-hoast.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 66:
" ... I mind seeing him when they brought him back, with his thrapple all ripped out. Och, terrible it was."
"Aye - and those very words," Una continued, "the very same words. ... "
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 33:
'There's gommerils that have crossed into Ireland whose only ploughing has been a furrow across some guid Christian thrapple.'
Sc. 1989 Scotsman (24 Apr) 20:
We, who could hardly tell coriander from one of those things you drain pasta in, do not aspire to the clean napkin and the analytical thrapple.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 18:
Bit fyles yer birss begins to rise
An rummlins fae yer thrapple birl
Wi fearsome gurr an feerious dirl
Like thunner rivin simmer skies.
wm.Sc. 1998 Alan Warner The Sopranos (1999) 170:
Right get ... oh but you're left-handed, aren't ya? So salt on the hand, like this, there, aye, an you're gonna just lick it off wi your tongue, whack this down the thrapple then you gnash into the lemon to get the juice out, nah, look, that's a nicer bit lemon.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 92:
For two years before that he had been banished from the Lowlands to Aberdeen, forbidden to preach publicly because of his attacks on the Englishman Laud, him that had tried to force the prayer book down Scotland's thrapple.

Combs., phrs. and derivs.: (1) dry thrapple, the curlew, Numenius arquatus, used as a sea-taboo term (Bwk. 1959); (2) knot o' the thrapple, the Adam's apple; (3) thrapple-bow, id. (Rs., Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Mry. 1972). See Bow, n.3, etym. note; (4) thrapple-deep, up to one's throat; (5) thrapple-drouth, dryness of the throat; ¶(6) thrapple-girth, a cravat or necktie; ¶(7) trapple-herse, hoarse in the throat; ¶(8) thrapple-redding, clearing the throat, hawking. See Redd, v.1, 4. (4); (9) thro(a)pply, throaty, coming from the throat, “haw-haw”, gobbling; (10) to wat or weet one's thrapple, to quench one's thirst, to have a drink. Gen.Sc.(2) Ags. 1857 A. Douglas Hist. Ferryden 65:
I'll rather part wi' the knot o' my thrapple.
(4) Slk. 1819 Hogg Tales (1874) 141:
Tak' care, Wattie; I widna say but it may be thrapple deep or the morn.
(5) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 120:
Whin wi t'rapple-drouth he wheezed.
(6) Sc. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 106:
In a gizzy big An' thrapple girth drest up fu' trig.
(7) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 51:
He cried while he wus t'rapple-hers'.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 182:
I spok' for twa solid 'oors till I wis trapple-herse.
(8) Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 25:
Hoasting up a thrapple-redding cough.
(9) Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
Ma lungs are staaed o throapply blethers.
(10) Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 188:
The dinner done, for brandy strang They cry, to weet their thrapple.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 459:
A body never gets the thrapple watted ower them [weddings].
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 285:
They bid hae a gill, Their thrapples to weet.
Dmb. 1894 D. MacLeod Past Worthies 89:
[To] weet their thrapples and fight their battles over again.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (10 Dec.):
If I'm ta get da weetin' o' me trapple.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 13:
There's nocht'll weet my thrapple noo, bit water a' my days.

II. v. 1. To grip by the throat, throttle, strangle (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Watson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Agent n. thrappler.Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 105:
A wae worth him quo' the wife, if I winna thrapple him for my good bane comb.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Gathering of West (1939) 67:
Although I had been actually thrappling the creature, it couldna have been mair desperate.
Per. 1879 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 431:
Collie, Pincher, Fangs, here! catch him, tear out his liver, thrapple him.
Rxb. 1898 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 78:
Nannie was horror-struck and exclaimed — “Deil thropple ye!”
e.Lth. 1905 J. Lumsden Croonings 125:
The wad-be thrappler o' his fame.
Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 443:
They war a' i' tha mussel-midden thrapplin' een anidder!
Ags. 1962 Forfar Dispatch (March):
A herd collar roon ees neck that near thrappled im.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 192:
Mitchel shook his head. 'Mebbe no. It was the hangman's job tae thrapple him but he couldna get the breath oot o him. It was strange - he was that seik and feeble they'd tae harl him on a sledge aw the wey frae the Tolbooth, yet when they had him bound tae the stake there seemed a byordnar strenth tae his struggles. ... '

2. To suppress (laughter) in the throat.Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 59:
It was a' he cud to thrapple a guffa.

3. transf. To entangle with cords (Bwk. 1825 Jam.). Phs. a different word, due to some confusion with trammel.

4. With up: to gobble up, to devour (Ags. 1825 Jam.).Lnk. 1822 Clydesdale Wedding 3:
For when he had thrapled up a', He cried out, may the deil claw the clungest.

[O.Sc. throppill, the wind-pipe, 1375, hrappel, 1604, of uncertain orig., poss. a variant of throttle found in Mid.Eng. as a v. c.1400 but not till a.1547 as a n. N.E.D. rejects derivation from O.E. þrotbolla, the Adam's apple (cf. O.Sc. throtboll, 1420, throate-bowle, 1595), but this is not impossible, though the form throatbow would be expected in mod. Sc. Cf. I. Combs. (3), and O.Sc. boll, id., 1425. For -a- see P.L.D. § 54.]

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"Thrapple n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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