‘They were so agreeable with each other—never fell out nor ‘threaped’.

This delightful word is now limited to Scottish and northern dialect, unless we choose to use it more widely.

Its meaning here is ‘to rebuke, reprove, chide, scold or blame’.  By extension, ‘to contend in words; inveigh against; argue, dispute; quarrel, bicker, disagree; to wrangle about terms, haggle’.  You get the gist.

Related meanings are ‘to persist in asserting; to affirm positively or pertinaciously; to maintain obstinately or aggressively’ or to ‘thrust, obtrude, press (something) upon a person; to urge upon him acceptance of or acquiescence in.’

A rather gentler and more appealing use is to impute or attribute a quality to someone, to give them credit for it, such as ‘to threap So-and-So with kindness / love’ or to threap kindness / love upon someone.

The noun and adjective are ‘threaping’ and a person who threaps is a threaper.

Don’t miss the opportunity, next time someone is giving you a bickering earful, to call them The Grim Threaper.

You saw it here.

Source: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 448, and OED


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