Scottish word, +ginger

Aaron E. Drews aaron at LING.ED.AC.UK
Wed Jun 7 12:08:36 UTC 2000

on 6/6/00 7:37 PM, GSCole wrote:

> In a recently completed visit to the mainland of Orkney, someone gave me
> a term that seems to have several meanings.  The word is ferrylouper.

My Concise Scots Dictionary doesn't have "ferrylouper", but for "loup" it
1. leap, spring, dash
3. spring to one's feet
5. dance, caper, hop about
6. walk with a long springing step, bound
8. _also vt, of things_ spring, fly (in some direction); pop out of a
(receptacle or covering)

n. 1. Leap, jump, spring

These definition hint at some sort of transience, in this case, rapidly
going from the ferry, landing on Orkney, saying "It's bloody cold, wet and
windy here" and hopping back on the ferry.

More importantly, according to the dictionary, seems to be prominently from
Shetland and Orkney (I'm sure some Worfians could relate this to the weather
:-) ).

As for ginger, I took an informal survey of linguists.  "Ginger" can mean
any shade of red hair, for some strawberry blond is excluded (for those that
knew what strawberry blond was), for others, strawberry blond is included,
for some it included the brownish side, for others, definitely not.  The
group was a mixture of English and Scots.  It was about as useful as asking
how long a piece of string is.  As for why ginger is red and not, say, a
sandy blond shade, I don't know.  Ah, but I have my CSD here....

For _gingerbreid_ (ginger only has "ginger"), in addition to ginger bread,
the definition is:
2. adj. gaudy, extravagant; unsubstantial
[laME = n; ME _gingerbreed_, _gingebras_, OF _gigembras_ ginger conserve]

It looks like it's a circle back to ginger marmalade.  I'm going to assume
that ginger conserve has a reddish tint, and that got carried through to a
Scots borrowing...


Aaron E. Drews                               The University of Edinburgh      Departments of English Language and
aaron at                    Theoretical & Applied Linguistics


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