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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Cleuch, Clewch, n. Also: cloch, cluch(e, clucht, clouch; cleuche, cleugh; clewche, klewch; pl. cluys, clewis. [Northern ME. cloghe (e.m.E. clough), clouȝ, cloȝ (pl. cloȝes, cloghes, and cloes, clous, clowes), repr. an unrecorded OE. *clóh, gen. *cló(e)s, pl. *cló(a)s.]

1. A gorge or ravine with steep rocky sides, usually the course of a stream.Early examples in place-names are Edwardes-cloch, -clouch (c 1190), Meldrescloes-heued (c 1240), Ernesclucht (c 1350), Westircluch-heuyd (c 1370), Gilmyiscluche (1456), Corsclewch (1456), Eggerstone cluch (1494). 1375 Barb. xvi. 386.
In a clewch on ther ta hand All his archeris enbuschit he
c1475 Wall. iv. 539.
A cleuch thar was, quharoff a strenth thai maid With thuortour treis
1513 Doug. viii. x. 35.
Secret allone by the chill ryver cald, Amyd ane holl cleuch, or a dern valle
1533 Boece xiii. xi. 523.
He jowkit in covis and clewis
Ib. xiv. viii. 555 b.
Wemen haistelie fled fra all partis, lurking and hiding tham in woddis, montanis, or clewchis
1535 Stewart 51247.
Ane vther strenth Neirhand besyde, wnder ane hingand heuch, Betuix ane watter and ane rycht deip cleuch
1591-2 Rob Stene 13.
The fowmart, fox, and brok, And all the wermyne of lyk sorte[s], In cluch and caverne that resortis
1610 Rep. Milne Home MSS. 81.
Wp the cleugh a straight lyn to Lowkie Scheill cors, … than out the gait to the Hors Cleuch head
1629 Boyd Last B. 395.
So hard is it for the most part to plucke their feete out of the clouches of this world
1667 Melrose R. Rec. II. 182.
The pund fauld betuixt the streat and the cleuch
attrib. 1616 Crim. Trials III. 384.
In ane cleuch-syde, quhair the said Laird of Drumlangrig his scheip war lying in thair lairis

2. The steep side of a ravine; a cliff.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxi. 26.
Suppois I war ane ald ȝaid aver, Schott furth our clewch to pull the clever
1533 Bell. Livy I. 238/25.
At thar bakkis was ane strait montane or cleuch [L. clivi]
1535 Stewart 5272.
Abill als that ar of lith and lym Quir craig and clewchis bayth for to creip and clim
Ib. 30294.
Betuix ane watter and ane hingand hewche, Wes closit in with mony craig and clewche
1549 Compl. 38/27.
The depe hou cauernis of cleuchis & rotche craggis ansuert vitht ane hie not
1580-92 James VI Lusus R. 25.
As gaitis delytis to climm throuch craig & cleuch
1595 Duncan Appendix.
Rupes, praerupta petra, a craig, or clewch
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii. 82.
Ane vnrewlie … horse, cariand ane man over ane cleuch, craig, [L. per rupem] or in water … sould be escheit
(b) c1420 Wynt. i. 112.
A propyr place … Off buskis, bankkis and of bewys, Off clyfftis, craggis, and of cluys [C. clewis]
Ib. 599 (W).
The crag and clewis [R. rockys] all Crap to-gidder as a wall
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 243.
Apon my fete I sprent, Amang the clewis so carefull was the crak
1513 Doug. i. iv. 18.
A wod abufe ourheldis with his rank bewis, And castis a plesand schaddow our the clewis
Ib. vii. Prol. 40.
With frosyn frontis cauld clynty clewis schane
1535 Stewart 635. Ib. 2980.
The hillis and the hewis, The mos, the mure, the craigis and the clewis

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"Cleuch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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