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Scotch down

Posted by RRC on December 03, 2008 at 01:44

In Reply to: Scotch down posted by Baceseras on December 02, 2008 at 21:01:

: : : 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.
: : SS

: 'Scooch' is also used as a noun meaning a small amount, like a 'tad'. ("More gravy?" "Just a scooch.")

: As a verb 'scooch' often signifies to make a small movement or adjustment, as when trying to add oneself to an already crowded couch - "Scooch over." - and everyone shifts a little.

The noun meaning a small amount is SKOSH from the Japanese 'sukoshi' (not even related to scooch).