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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
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S(c)had(d)ow, n. and adj. Also: sadow; s(c)hed(d)-, schaud-, schawd- and -o(u, -owe, -aw, -ew. [ME and e.m.E. sceadewe (c1175), scadewe (c1200), sadue (a1220), scheadewe (Ancr. R.), schadewe (a1272), scaudu (Cursor M.), shadow (Rolle), schadue (c1350), OE scead(u)we, oblique case of sceadu S(c)had n.]

A. noun. I. 1. The ‘dark’ or west side, or end, of a piece of land, as opposed to the ‘sunny’ or east end or side.Cavilling be sone and schadow, drawing lots to decide whether, when dividing land, to begin the division at the east (‘sone’) or west (‘schadow’) end of the land.For a very full discussion of the ‘sun-division’ system of allotting parcels of land, see R. A. Dodgshon ‘Scandinavian ‘Solskifte’ and the Sunwise Division of Land in Eastern Scotland’ in Scottish Studies XIX (1975) 1–14. 1388 Bamff Chart. 22.
Strekand … allssua in tyl thar toftis the forsayd Gylbert at the sadow and the forsayd Alysonder at the sone as alde departyson wes
1428 Liber Melros 521.
I kest thaim [supra twa kabillis], the tane to the son, the tothir to the schadow & thus it [sc. the land] was departit
1537–8 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. 151.
The actione … tuecheing … the cawelleyng be sone and schadow of thairis haill landis
1549 Lanark Sheriff Ct. MS 30.
Johne Robb … schiref deput … kaist cavillis for sone & schaddow of the saidis landis
1556 Dundee B. Ct. III fol. 65b (16 Aug.).
All byrun proffeitis … of the saidis half landis lyand at the schado
1557 Inverness Sheriff Ct. 59b.
And cawillis being cassin that scho fell hir terce to the schadow
1557 Reg. Privy S. V i 37/2.
Anent the kenning [etc.] … of the landis of Waterstoun be half and quarteris, sone and schaddow

2. Shade, esp. viewed as protection from the rays of the sun; shelter.Const. of the thing providing such shade, also of the sun or other luminary causing the shadow. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1343.
Me to conserue than fra the sonis heit, Vnder the schaddow off ane hawthorne grene, I lenit doun
1513 Doug. i iv 18.
A wod abufe … castis a plesand schaddow our the clewis
Ib. vii 43.
Ane semly schaw, With hys maist plesand sobir schaddowis
a1538 Abell 3b.
Sum [monsters] that liand furth with the schaddo of thare braid fut thai ar kepit fra the rayne or the heit of the sone
1549 Compl. 34/19.
Quhen the sune castis oure grite heyt, ve pas vndir the vmbre or the schaddou
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv Pref. 46.
The plesant plane-trie … With fairest schaddow to save the sone in symmer

3. sing. and pl. Darkness caused by absence of light or obstruction of a luminary.Schadow of death, after English translations of the Bible, rendering L. umbra mortis. Also fig.(1) 1513 Doug. iv i 51.
Me smyte ful deip onto the schaddoys dern, Amang pail gastis of hellis holl cavern
Ib. vi iv 43.
Amang the schaddowys and the skuggis mark The hell hundys hard thai … bark
Ib. xv 51.
Bot a blak sop of myst, als dyrk as nycht, With drery schaddo bilappis his hed
Ib. xii i 132.
Quhilk goddes … Was wont to … heild hir self alsso in schaddois vayn
a1570-86 Maitl. F. 206/17.
As schadow in the sonnis beme … So all my dayis is bot ane dreme
(2) 1513 Doug. i ix 52.
Quhil sonnys schaddow circlys hillis about, And thefirmament starris doith conteyn
1563–4 Inverness Rec. I 110.
[They] Past vnder the shadow of the mone … and stude awaittand vpon bodelie harme to haif done to the said James
(3) c1520-c1535 Nisbet Matth. iv 16.
And quhile men sat in the cuntre of schadou of deid licht raise to tham
1639 Fugitive Poetry II xv 5/18.
Whiles thy foes in schadows of death wer swounding
(4) fig. a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 92.
Silit he [sc. Adam] wes vnder schaddew of syn
1513 Doug. xii xi 119.
The schaddois of pertrublans Was dryve away

b. specif. The darkness of night. 1513 Doug. ii vi 116.
The dyrk nycht hyd ws with cloys schaddowis meit
Ib. iv vi 142.
The dyrk nycht With hir donk schaddow hydis of the erth the sycht
1634 Fugitive Poetry II ix 3.
Suteing nights shaddowes did tempestuous showe

4. The dark outline of a person or thing cast upon a surface by his or its interception of the rays of the sun or other luminary. Also proverb. 1549 Compl. 56/15.
And alse the mune is maid obscure quhen it clips be rason that the vmbre and schaddou of the eird empeschis hyr to resaue lycht fra the soune
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1751.
Quhen the sonne is at the hycht … The schaddow of that hydduous strenth [sc. the tower of Babel] Sax myle and more it is of lenth
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1694.
Ane dog … ane collap staw … the schadow saw, That it was mair, larger, the flesche leit faw
1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Æn. i 164.
Ane covertour of the tries … quhilk makis ane glansing shaddow on the watter
1583 Sempill Warning v.
Chasaris dog That for the sheddow sene he loist ane ben
1584 Melvill 180.
And mak your awin particulars to follow efter as the servant and sheddow, and nocht go befor as the maister and body
a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 46.
Upoun the wyndo … he affixt blak cloths, that his shaddow sould not be sene … when he went to or fro
proverb. a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 694.
He is fleid at his awin schadow

b. As a type of what is transient or fleeting. c1460 Wisd. Sol. (STS) 312.
This present pilgremage, quhilk passis as a schadow daily

5. A reflected image. c1450-2 Howlat 50 (A).
I sawe ane howlat … Lukand the laike throwe, And saw his awne schadowe
a1500 Henr. Fab. 2392.
The schadow off the mone schone in the well
Id. Test. Cress. 348.
Scho … tuik Ane poleist glas and hir schaddow culd luik
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1490. c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 176/5.
For as thow come sa sall thow pas, Lyk as ane schaddow in ane glas
a1568 Bann. MS 92b/72.
For ane noble of blud that hes no vertousnes … Is evin bot as a schaddow in a glas
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 312 (W).
The chirries … Quhais schaddowes in the river schew
Ib. 51 (L). 1598 James VI Basil. Doron 104/9.
Lett youre awin lyfe be … a mirroure to youre people, that … thairin thay maye see be youre shaddou quhat lyfe thay soulde leade

6. In various transf. or fig. extensions of the above senses. a. Covering, protection. 1490 Irland Mir. I 135/32, 34.
He said the wertu of God in hire suld tak ane schadow defendand hire fra all troubile and hyde hire in the gret licht of hevin that was the son of God … And be the manere of a schadou the blist sone of God and hire haly lif fyrst suld be hid fra the waurld
1562-3 Winȝet II 64/19 (see S(c)had(d)ow v. 2 (2)). 1614 in Melvill lxii.
The childring of men trust under the schadow of Thy weingis

b. (Outward) appearance; image.The Irland quots. here and above translate and explicate the Latin obumbrabit. 1490 Irland Mir. I 135/30.
The angell promittit … that … [God's] derrast sone suld in hir blissit wame tak a schadow that is a westament and clethinge of hire nature and humanite
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 201/2.
Remember … be youre outuairde using of youre office to testifie the inuarde uprichtnes of youre hairte & be youre behauioure in all indifferent things to sett furth the treu shaddou [v.r. image] of youre uertuouse disposition

c. Outward show, as opposed to an inner and invisible reality; a delusive semblance; an unreal appearance; a pretence. 1490 Irland Mir. II 72/15.
Thai may haue the schadow of honour and for a litle tyme waurdly and fleschly plesaunce
a1500 Bk. Chess 1103.
He has nocht bot ane schawdow of ane knycht
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Tua Mar. W. 191.
He is for ladyis in luf a right lusty schadow
c1520-c1535 Nisbet II 22 marg.
Dreames … ar deceatful, and quha sa euer regardis sic, takis hald of a schedow and followis efter the wynd
1531 Bell. Boece I xii.
Siclik our life without activite Giffis na frut, howbeit ane schado blume
Ib. II 351.
Thay ar bot ane schaddow of pepill, and may thairfore be slane like miserabill beistis
1560 Bk. Disc. 194.
Those that have a vane schaddow … content thame selfis with the same, … thinking that thai have a minister, quhen in verray deid thai have none
1562-3 Winȝet II 42/20.
He tuke nocht our natuir on Him finȝetlie and vnder a schaddow, bot verelie and manifestlie
a1568 Bann. MS 223b/12.
To schaw ane schaddow quhair my hairt hes bene
1596 Dalr. I 258/5. 1611 Crim. Trials III 160.
To abuse thame selfis with the delytis of the vayne schaddowes of this lyfe
1633 Lithgow Poet. Remains 112.
Yea, some-where there's lord Baillie, and men must Vpon his sheep-drawne shaddow lordship thrust
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1894) 176.
Neither is father nor mother [etc.] … in this over-lustred world … anything else … but feathers, shadows, night-dreams, and straws
1679 Lauder Notices Affairs I 243.
Thus ended this circuit, being but a ludibrie and shadow of justice

d. A foreshadowing or prefiguration. 1573 Cath. Tr. 26/28.
The synagoge … wes bot ane schaddou and vmbre of the trew kirk
1581 Burne Disput. 25b.
The neu testament … beand the veritie, & the auld testament the vmbre and schaddou onlie

e. An adumbration; an obscure indication. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 130.
The evangell was ay the mair obscurely preached under dark types and shadow
1596 Dalr. I 128/1.
Men … may perceiue the rest of our cuntrey … be this schadow that heir we haue schawin and similitude sett afore thair eyne

f. A faint appearance; a trace. a1568 Bann. MS 77b/81.
It weschis away all schaddow it allane
?1591 Warrender P. (SHS) II 160.
[I cannot see] quhat schaddow of any possebelitie thair is heirin

g. A misrepresentation. 1609 Crim. Trials III 65.
As your majestie will hawe me free of that schaddowe be the quhilk my ondeserwit enemye crawis my lyiff and land

7. An apparition, wraith, phantom; an incorporeal being. a1400 Leg. S. ii 1159.
Than a schaudow rycht nerehand As of a man saw by hym stand
Ib. 1165.
Ib. xviii 212.
He schaw a schedaw one his rycht hand In forme of mane semand to be
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 46.
Gousty schaddois of eild and grisly ded
Ib. x xi 105.
Bot this ilk schaddo … gaif the bak and fled
Ib. 127.
Thydder went this wrath or schaddo of Ene … And hyd hyr dern … tharin
1571 Bann. Memor. 103.
That in this my decripit aige I salbe compellit to fight against schaddowes and howlatis that dare not abyde the lycht
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 42/13.
These kindes of spirites, when they appeare in the shaddow of a person newlie dead, or to die, to his friends, … are called wraithes in our language
Ib. 55/16.
For the Deuill durst neuer haue borrowed their shaddow or similitude … if their consent had not bene at it
1597–8 Misc. Spald. C. I 121.
Thow affermis that the elphis … ar bot schaddowis, bot ar starker nor men

II. 8. An ornamental eyeshade for affording a woman's face some protection from the rays of the sun. 1605 Paterson Ayr & Wigton III 197.
Ane perill schadow estimat to [£66 13 s. 4 d.] … ane litle neck chayne
1610 Glasgow Test. VII 17 Dec.
Twa … perlit chenȝeis ane pair of bracelletis of gold and thrie perlit schaddowis
1612 Pont Cunningham App. 197.
Ane schaddow of orien pairill, estimat to x lib.

III. 9. attrib. a. In sense 1, chiefly with terms used in describing divisions or apportionments made in a piece of land.? Only in Fife: Schadow cavill, the lot which when drawn indicated that division of land should begin at the ‘shadow’ end. See the note to 1 above. 1531 Reg. Privy S. II 112/2.
[Litera regressus … super umbrali dimedietate terrarum de Litill Folay et Blakwattir
a1633 Hope Major Pract. I 202.]
Incipiendo vel a parte solari [i.e. oriente] vel ab umbrali [i.e. occidente] prout sors evenerit
1590 Bamff Chart. 138.
[The west third part of the west or shadow half of the lands and manor-place of Crottie]
1619 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 77.
[Two oxgait of the two sunny ploughs of Percock. One oxgait of the sunny plough of the shadow half thereof]
1631 Bamff Chart. 226.
[The shadow half of the east third part toun and lands of Lytill Banff, with the shadow half of the houses and pertinents [etc.]]
(1) 1504–5 Reg. Great S. 600/2.
6 mercatas terrarum … de Smythtoun de Noth, viz., le schaddow-half earundem
1508–9 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 79.
The schedowe half landis of Ruthiristoun
1539–40 Reg. Privy S. II 484/1.
The schaddow half of the toun and landis of Gylstoun
1563 Prot. Bk. D. Gray 57b.
1568 Reg. Privy S. VI 59/2.
[Cowstoun] baith sonny half and schaddow half
1592 Acts III 568/2.
The … schaddow half of Dikmountlaw. … the sonnie half of Dikmountlaw
1603 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. II 31.
[The] myddill pleuch of the schaddou half lands
1653 Retours I Inq. Spec. Fife (822).
The shaddow half of the uther third pairt of the lands of Ester Gellets
Ib. Forfar (322).
Alse weill sunny as shadow halfes
1654 Ib. (338).
The lands of the west or shaddow-halfe of Mylnetoune of Connone
1656 Brechin Test. VI 12.
My spous be our matrimoniall contract is provyded to my shadowe halff lands of Glenboy
1658 Retours II Inq. Spec. Perth (659).
Tua pairt of that shadow halfe of oxingait land of Pitkeithlie
1695 Fraser Hist. Laurencekirk 52.
The town and lands of Barnhill of Garvock, as well sun as shadow half thereof
(2) 1533 (1534) Reg. Great S. 306/2.
Binas partes umbrales (the schaddow tua part) viz. 2 aratrata seu tua plewis ville de Jakkistoun … vic. Abirdene
1544 (1587) Ib. 402/1.
The schaddow-pleuch of Sonny-syde
1565 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 58.
The scheddow part of the samyn [lands]
1566 Prot. Bk. James Foulis 116b.
Enterit … Eufame Wauchop … to the schaddo thrid rig, toft and croft of the landis of Edmanstoun
1568 Prot. Bk. J. Drummond 73.
Hir schadow rig and landis … pertenyng to hir be ressone of terce
1574 (1585) Reg. Great S. 263/1.
The schaddow or myd thrid part and how schaddow thrid part
1577–8 Reg. Privy S. VII 212/2.
The schaddow ten oxingait of land of Blairmad
1584 Acts III 372/1.
The schaddow quarter of the sonie half landis
1586 Digest Justiciary Proc. L 21.
The half schaddow lands of Auchtoreles
1603 Inchaffray Reg. 134.
The teynd schavis of the west schado quarter landis of Drumphingallie
1655 Retours I Inq. Spec. Aberdeen (326).
The shadow 4 oxingait of land, of the shadow pleugh
1657 Ib. (339).
The pleuch, shadow third pairt, and Ord of Monykebbock
1657 Ib. II Inq. Spec. Perth (654).
The west shadow quarter of the toune and lands of Drumphingallie
(3) 1566 Prot. Bk. W. Douglas 81b.
To hir part thairoff being vpon the schaddow syd
1572 Elgin Rec. I 130.
That ane of the bailȝeis … cawill and diwyd the sone syd of tham fra the schaddow syd thairof that … William Ȝoung may … intromet with the ane auchten part thairof of quhilk lyis on the sune syd thairof
1590 Prot. Bk. J. Inglis 20 July.
Ane pleuch of land on the sone syid of the auld toune of Pettindrech, ane vthir pleuch of land on the schaddow syid of the … toune
(4) 1516 Fife Sheriff Ct. 27.
It was fundin … that Margrete Forrate … of Caldhame … is befallyne the schadow cavill of the samyn
1521 Ib. 209.
Cristiane Spens … wes … seruit of hir ressonable terce of … the landis of Ramkelour nethir … to the quhilk scho befell the schaddo cawill
Ib. 237.

b. In sense 2, rendering L. umbrosa in a place-name. 1622-6 Bisset II 414/23.
Fra the name of the monttanes that is called wallis umbra or umbrosa the schaddo valey
Ib. 122/13.

B. adj. Faint, as if obscured by cloud. 1513 Doug. viii i 12.
The glymerand monys schaddo lycht
c1650 P. Gordon Brit. Dist. 62.
The sunne … was seene to shine with a fant beame, yeelding a dime and shaddow light ewen in a cleare heaven

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"Shadow n., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 9 Dec 2023 <>



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