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  • A humorous word applied to a schoolmaster; from skelp, to smite with the palm of the hand. A similar idea enters into the composition of the English phrase "a bum-brusher," with the difference that brusher refers to the rod, and not to the palm of the hand. Burns applies the epithet to the Emperor Joseph of Austria, with what allusion it is now difficult to trace:—

    To ken what French mischief was brewin' Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin'— That vile dowp-skelper Emperor Joseph, If Venus yet had got his nose off. —Burns : To a Gentleman who had Promised to send him a Newspaper.

    April 24, 2009