Joseph Lister at one of his earliest operations using anti bacterial methods while his colleague waits in a blood and meat splattered frock coat, cuffs and even hands.
The Scottish Word:


“Get a move on Lister, this scuttering aboot swoppin aprons, washing, scrubbing an pentin between operations is going tae mak me late for ma supper.”


scutter: hinder with something unimportant, delay detain through some needless or annoying thing.

“Get a move on Lister, this time wasting carry on of swopping aprons, washing, scrubbing and painting between operations is going to make me late for my supper.”

[scutter spelled out in the phonetic alphabet.]

Illustration Friday.

Joseph Lister first used his new antiseptic surgical technique in March 1865.

While working in Glasgow Lister read some papers by Louis Pasteur who introduced the idea that tiny organisms in the air can cause putrefaction. Lister knew that carbolic acid was a powerful disinfectant and would kill these tiny things. He developed methods to use it during surgery. He painted wounds, developed dressings and sprayed it in the air.

Despite the proven successes of the methods the British Medical Profession regarded it as overcomplicated and superfluous and it was many years and many lives lost before it became widely adopted. However Europe recognised the benefits and even improved the procedures and developed less irritating solutions than carbolic acid.

Previous to this pioneering breakthrough more died than lived after surgery. With the introduction of antiseptic conditions that trend was now reversed. By the time of his death in 1912 Joseph Lister was a greatly venerated figure.

The Scottish Word: scutter with its definition and its meaning illustrated and captioned with the word used in context in the Scots language and in English.

7 thoughts on “Scutter.

  1. This is great. Nice use of color symbolism & the patient’s expression – yikes! Your visit to my blog led me to your illo. What goes around, indeed: Tonight I bought Listerine. Thank you, Mr. Lister, and a Happy New Year to you, Mr. Scott!

  2. He should look even more scared but it would have spoiled things – in those days there was no anaesthetic apart from alcohol and often patients were strapped to the table or have to be held down. The surgeons had to work fast and they were not uncaring about their patients but the pain, shock and infection were killers.

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