curse of Scotland
Origin uncertain; it may have come from a resemblance to the coat of arms of Dalrymple, Lord Stair, who was an object of criticism for his part in the Massacre of Glencoe in 1692, and his work in bringing about the Union with England in 1707 (ref. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition 1989).
- (card games, slang) The nine of diamonds.
1920, Peter B. Kyne, chapter IV, in The Understanding Heart:
- With a mixed hand and the highest card the curse of Scotland, I've seen that man stand pat in a game with four millionaire mining men.
- 2006, Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, Vintage 2007, p. 26:
- After a moment of silence, it was Miles who announced in a clear and firm voice, “The cards you have put down there all happen to be black—your ‘red’ is the nine of diamonds, the curse of Scotland, and it's right here,” reaching to lift the sharper's hat, and to remove from atop his head, and exhibit, the card at issue.