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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 since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TOCHER, n., v. Also tochar, †togher (Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 333), taucher, toucher, tougher (in ballads), †towcher (s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 149); erron. thoker-. [′toxər]

I. n. A marriage portion, esp. a bride's dowry (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson). Gen.Sc., obsol., and now somewhat liter.; a bride's trousseau (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Phr. in tocher, as a dowry.Sc. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife (1803) 228:
He married Ada, the niece of Malcolm IV, and got with her in tocher the lands of Strathmiglo, Falkland.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 52:
Maidens' tochers and ministers' stipends are ay less than ca'd.
Ayr. 1791 Burns My Tocher's the Jewel i.:
My tocher's the jewel has charms for him.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xiv.:
I'll gie ye sic a tocher wi' my Keatie, as never was gi'en wi' a farmer's lassie i' the Forest.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxviii.:
Will Miss Ashton's tocher not weigh against any in Lothian?
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Raiders ii.:
He married a lass from the hills who brought him no tocher, but, what was better, a strong dower of sense and good health.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 25:
Ye hae yer tocher a' complete, Ye're bonnie as the rose.
Bnff. 1935 I. Bennet Fishermen ix.:
Jean's ample tocher had furnished the house.
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 16:
Circuat aboot bride's gizzen-bed fertile
Neir-bluids, wi bite and sup tae wat your heid.
Tidy and boukit, bride's tocher's an heir indeed
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 87:
Tocher, from the Gaelic tochar, a dowry. A bonny word. What tocher would the new year bring? Riches, gold, jewels, like the daughter of a prince.
Dundee 1996 Matthew Fitt Pure Radge 20:
an juist whit
in the nemm o the wee man
did ye dae tae the horse
ma best brawest cuddie, puir meg
that wis the tocher aff ma ain faither

Also attrib. in combs., and deriv.: (1) tocher band, a marriage settlement. See Band, n.1; (2) tocher-fee, id.; (3) tocher gear, property given as a dowry; (4) tocher gude, -gueed (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 90), id.; (5) tocherless, having no dowry or marriage portion; (6) tocher purse, a woman's dowry (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).(1) Ayr. 1792 Burns Gallant Weaver ii.:
My daddie sign'd my tocher-band To gie the lad that has the land.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 200:
I hae yet a tocher band, My winsome Donald's durk an' bran'. Into their hands to gie.
(2) Sc. 1827 G. Kinloch Ballads 85:
“A clerk! a clerk!” the king cried, “To sign her tocher-fee.”
(3) Sc. 1824 Katherine Jaffray in Child Ballads (1956) IV. 225:
For tocher-gear he did not stand.
(4) Sc. 1706 Short Survey Married Life 3:
The Wife with the old Tocher Good, which is sometimes more Wind than Wealth, more Sauce than Fish, and more Draff as Butter.
Sc. 1723 W. Fraser Bk. Carlaverock (1873) II. 349:
There is so much to doe about the thoker good.
Sc. 1761 Session Papers, Justice v. Murray (1 May) 16:
Decerned to refund to her the aforesaid Sum of 3000 Merks as her Tocher-good.
Sc. 1818 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
That part of your father's spoils which he may be prevailed upon to disgorge by way of tocher good.
Sc. 1827 G. R. Kinloch Ballad Book 33:
I'll gar your father sell Kinnaird, Your tocher gude to pay.
(5) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 76:
She that's tocherless, neglected lies.
Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley lxvii.:
A landless laird wi' a tocherless daughter.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xiv.:
Tak thy tocherless bargain to thee, and see what thou'll mak o't.
Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray 259:
Faith, at the manse, an orphan and tocherless, had so few offers.

II. v. To endow with a marriage settlement or portion, to dower (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Ppl.adj. tochered, freq. qualified by advs. lang, muckle, well, ill, etc., dowered, provided with a dowry, also in gen. endowed, settled, bestowed. Gen.Sc.; in 1909 quot. put on, turned out, in regard to dress.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 283:
Well tocher'd Lasses or jointer'd Widows.
Sc. 1752 J. Spottiswoode Stile of Writs 420:
Where the Woman contracted with Consent of her elder Brother, who being in Law obliged to tocher her.
Ayr. 1790 Burns There's a Youth iv.:
There's lang-tocher'd Nancy maist fetters his fancy.
Sc. 1803 The Earl of Errol in Child Ballads No. 231. A. xxiii.:
It wad be a great sin, To toucher oney John Sheephead.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xii.:
Ye are a bonny young leddy, and a gude ane, and maybe a weel-tochered ane.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxv.:
There's no a brawer nor a better tocher'd lass in the three shires.
Abd. 1868 J. Riddell Aberdeen 12:
Keep yer taunts to tocher yer maidens.
Ags. 1885 W. Pyott Poems and Songs 112:
Ye tochered chiel's sae learned an' clark I fear ye're sair to blame.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxxii.:
His fleein' flagarie o' a muckle-tochered Crawford lass.
Fif. 1909 R. Holman Char. Studies 67:
I looked at the lassie and saw that she was gey smartly tochered.

[O.Sc. tochir, dowry, c.1460, tochir gude, 1502, tochir, to dower, 1559, Gael. †tochar (now tochradh), O. Ir. tochar, apportionment, what is bestowed or settled.]

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"Tocher n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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