Where does the word “blatherskite” come from and What does blatherskite mean?

During the Revolutionary War the American soldiers, gathered about their campfires, of course sang all those songs that any of them could recall.

Among the favorites was the Scottish song, Maggie Lauder, one verse of which ran:

O wha wadna be in love wi bonny Maggie Lawder,
A piper met her gaun to Fife, and speir’d what
was’t they ca’d her ;
Right scornfully she answer’d him,
Begone ye hallen shaker,
Jog on your gate, ye bladderskate,
My name is Maggie Lawder.

Bladder skate is the Scottish name for a skate that is able to inflate itself. Thus it became a fitting term for a person who is full of empty vainglorious talk.

The song dropped out of memory in the years after the war, but the term, altered to blatherskite, stayed in the language.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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