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Scottish word of the day - Clipe

FOR THOSE of you who remember your schooldays, you might recall the unwritten and unofficial (yet somehow global) school laws which meant you were never to tell tales or ‘grass up your mates’, no matter how severe the playground crime.

Of course, there are a number of unwritten laws, but keeping quiet when a misadventure was found out was undoubtedly crucial to maintaining friendships - after all, school can be a cruel place (and rules are there to be broken).

The Scots word ‘clipe’ is one of those curious elements of the Caledonian tongue which is both a noun and a verb at the same time. To clipe on someone means to ‘tell on them’, or ‘grass them up’ - usually to the teacher. Those who indulge in the act of cliping on someone are often referred to simply as a ‘clipe’.

The word itself hasn’t always had such negative scholastic connotations - Clipe was originally used to describe a storyteller, or simple tale, and even gossip in some cases.

The origins of ‘clipe’ are believed to lie with the Old English word ‘Clype’ which means to name, or to call, and the Scots word itself can be spelled with either an ‘i’ or a ‘y’.

 

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