Scotch (adj.)

"of Scotland," 1590s, a contraction of Scottish. As a noun, by 1743 as "the people of Scotland collectively;" 1700 as "the sort of English spoken by the people of Scotland." 

Scots (mid-14c.) is the older adjective, which is from Scottis, the northern variant of Scottish. Scots was used in Scottish English until 18c., then Scotch became vernacular, but in mid-19c. there was a reaction against it because of insulting and pejorative formations made from it by the English (such as Scotch greys "lice;" Scotch attorney, a Jamaica term from 1864 for strangler vines).

Scotch-Irish is from 1744 (adj.); 1789 (n.); more properly Scots-Irish (1966). Commercial Scotch Tape (1945) was said to be so called because at first it had adhesive only on the edges (to make it easier to remove as a masking tape in car paint jobs), which was interpreted as a sign of cheapness on the part of the manufacturers. It had become a verb by 1955 and for a time was often printed without capitals.

scotch (v.)

early 15c., scocchen "to cut, score, gash, make an incision," a word of obscure origin. Century Dictionary considers that it might be a deformation of scratch. Chronology rules out connection with scorch. Perhaps [Barnhart] from Anglo-French escocher, Old French cocher "to notch, nick," from coche "a notch, groove," perhaps from Latin coccum "berry of the scarlet oak," which appears notched, from Greek kokkos

The meaning "stamp out, crush" (often figurative, of abstract things) is by 1825, earlier "make harmless for a time, wound slightly" (1798), a sense that derives from an uncertain reading of "Macbeth" III.ii.13). Related: Scotched; scotching.

scotch (n.1)

1778, elliptical for Scotch whisky. See Scotch (adj.).

scotch (n.2)

"incision, cut, score, gash," mid-15c., scoch, in cookery, related to scotch (v.). Compare Old French coche "notch on an arrow."

updated on February 10, 2022

Definitions of Scotch from WordNet
scotch (v.)
hinder or prevent (the efforts, plans, or desires) of;
Synonyms: thwart / queer / spoil / foil / cross / frustrate / baffle / bilk
scotch (v.)
make a small cut or score into;
scotch (n.)
a slight surface cut (especially a notch that is made to keep a tally);
Synonyms: score
scotch (adj.)
avoiding waste;
`scotch' is used only informally
Synonyms: economical / frugal / sparing / stinting
Scotch (n.)
whiskey distilled in Scotland; especially whiskey made from malted barley in a pot still;
Synonyms: Scotch whiskey / Scotch whisky / malt whiskey / malt whisky / Scotch malt whiskey / Scotch malt whisky
Scotch (adj.)
of or relating to or characteristic of Scotland or its people or culture or its English dialect or Gaelic language;
Synonyms: Scots / Scottish
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.