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Re: Scotch down

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 02, 2008 at 18:40

In Reply to: Scotch down posted by Doug on December 02, 2008 at 14:23:

: I grew up in rural southeastern Virginia. Many of the older men would use the term "scotch down" as a substitute for "hunker down". For example, when I would hunt with them, they would say, "Go over to that bush and scotch down while I drive the animal your way." I can't find references to the phrase "scotch down". I have read that "hunker" is based on Scottish. Perhaps these facts tie together? Any info on the "scotch down" phrase would be appreciated.

The Oxford English Dictionary had no helpful definitions of the verb, to scotch. However, the well-known verb, to scooch (down), seems like what you want. According to the OED, it means "To crouch or stoop (chiefly with down). Also: to fit oneself into a small or crowded space; to squeeze in."

The OED considers it as originally an American colloquialism, and cites, as its first example, "1858 Atlantic Monthly Sept. 421/2 She scooched down on the floor and pulled my two hands away, and looked me in the face."

I first heard the expression from my wife, who was raised in Philadelphia and uses it freely. So I suppose it must be fairly common.

As for the origin of the word, the OED speculates that it may be a variant of scouch or scrooch or crouch or scoot, which may or may not be helpful. It does seem that "scooch" is used exactly as you indicate "scotch" is used.