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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

TOLTER, v., n., adj. Also toolter (Ork. 1929 Marw.); tulter. [′tɔltər]

I. v. To totter, hobble, move unsteadily (Ork. 1929 Marw.); to be unstable (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Ork., Cai. 1972). Also in Eng. dial.

II. n. 1. An insecure erection (Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Ork., Cai. 1972). Hence toltery, adj., insecure, unstable, ready to fall (Id.).

2. A wobble, tumble, collapse.Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (19 Jan.):
If Princie gi'es a side loup ye'll fa' aff in a tulter.

III. adj. Unstable, off the perpendicular, ready to fall (Ork. 1972). Also adv.Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 119:
Trumblan' like twa toolter stoops Jeust i' the wey o' fa'an'.

[O.Sc. tolter, insecure, unsteady, 1423, towter, c.1550, E.M.E. tolter, to rock, totter, Mid. Du. touteren, to waver, totter, Du. dial. talteren, id., cogn. with O.E. tealtrian, to be unsteady. See also Towter.]

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"Tolter v., n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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