FORMS: 16th century suterkyn 17th century soutterkine, souterkine, soutrikin, sooterkin 18th century souterkin.
1: Sweetheart, mistress.
[ Apparently an adaption of an older Dutch or Flemish word *soetekijn (cf. Kilian: "southen, dulcis amice, glycerium") from soet, sweet. ]
1530: Songs in Anglia XII, 593 "This mynyon ys a sutterkyn; non lyke to hym but only Trym hys owne souterkyn."
2: An imaginary kind of afterbirth formerly attributed to Dutch women.
[ Perhaps from soot. There is apparently no similar term in Dutch. ]
1658: JOHN CLEVELAND: The Chronicle of a diurnall-maker "There goes a report of the Holland Women, that together with their Children, they are delivered of a Sooterkin, not unlike to a Rat, which some imagine to be the Offspring of the Stoves." 1678: SAMUEL BUTLER: Hudibras "Knaves and Fools being near of Kin, As Dutch-Boors are t'a Sooterkin." 1727: JONATHON SWIFT: To Delany "There follow'd at his lying-in For after-birth a Sooterkin." 1742: ELIZABETH MONTAGUE: Letters "I am glad there was a child, but pray was there not a little souterkin for the joy of the Ladies relations." 1748: MARY LEAFOR: Poems "but turn your back … Alcidas with a Grin Will vow you're ugly as a Sooterkin." 1860: JOHN W DRAPER: History of the intellectual development of Europe "The housewives of Holland no longer bring forth sooterkins by sitting over the lighted chauffers."
Chiefly applied to persons in allusive senses: a Dutchman.
1680: THOMAS BETTERTON: The Revenge "Good morning, my little Sooterkin; how is't, my prettie Life?" 1696: MAIDMENT: Scottish Panquils " For if the Devil assumed thy corpes And travelled through the Holland Dorps, Thou would terrify the Souterkins." 1704: THOMAS BROWN: "While I was getting Money … my Wife made it fly like Suterkins at home." 1719: THOMAS D'URFEY: Pills to Purge Melacholy "Ye Jacobites as sharp as Pins, Ye Mounsieurs and ye Sooterkins, I'll teach ye all the Dance." 1746: BRITISH MAGAZINE: "Smiling between Anger and Pleasure upon the snivelling Sooterkin." 1795: THE SPORTING MAGAZINE: "The highwayman pushed poor Sooterkin (= chimney-sweep) out of the way." 1801: BLACKWOOD'S EDINBURGH MAGAZINE: "Here is the sugar beside, which the hands of the sooterkin negro Reared."
Applied to literary compositions, etc: of a supplementary or imperfect character.
1668: T ST SERFE: Tartungo's Wiles "Besides the Author's true birth (= his play), the Audience will not be satified without a Soutterkine." 1728: ALEXANDER POPE: The Dunciad "Fruits of dull Heat, and Sooterkins of Wit." 1777: R W COX, in C F HARDY: Beneuden Letters "You can show you are a clever fellow, while I must have my cherubims suffocated, and sooterkins put in the cradle." 1817: JANE WELSH CARLYLE: Early Letters "After the considerable flourishing, he ventured to produce this child of the Doctor's brain - and truly it seemed a very Sooterkin." 1866: THOMAS CARLYLE: Reminiscenses "It was by her address and invention that I got my sooterkin of a 'study' improved out of its worst blotches."