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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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Ruch, Rouch, Roch, adj. and adv. Also: rucht, ruche, ruiche, rwch, ruwch, rugh; rowch(t, roucht, rouche, rough(t, rowgh(t, rowghe; rewch(t; rocht, rogh; roche; roich(e. [ME and e.m.E. ruhh (Orm), ruchȝe (Ancr. R.), ruch, rugh (Cursor M.), roughe (c1400), rowh (1477), also roȝ (14th c.), rogh (1435), roght (c1480), OE rúh, rúg.] Rough.

A. adj. I. 1. Of a skin or hide: Still covered with hair; undressed; untanned.(a) 1542 Linlithgow B. Ct. 23 June.
Ane rucht scheip skin
1568 Edinb. Test. I 119b.
Ane ruch Orknay scheip skyn price fywe s.
Ib. 212b.
Four hundreth … rucht calf skynnis in the lyme pot
1594 Ib. XXVI 278.
xl ruch hog skynnes price of the peice x s.
1639 Acts V 618/1.
The caus quhilk movit the schoemakeris and marikin dresseris to send to Denmark and Swaden … to bring home ruche skynnes
1640 Dumbarton B. Rec. 63.
Hydes best ox ruch aucht merks
1643 Edinb. Test. LX 205.
Ane old bybill coverit with ane ruche skynne
1652 Ib. LXVI 1.
In the lymes handlinges and baits with ruch salt hydes lxvj daiker and fyve hydes at xl lib. the daiker
1685 Kirkintilloch B. Ct. 135.
(b) 1513 Doug. vii xi 63.
Hys body wymplit in A … gret lyon skyn, Terribill and roucht, with taty lokkyrrand haris
1561 Reg. Privy C. I 191.
Without the saidis rowch hydis remane within this realme
1562 Edinb. Skinners in Bk. Old Edinb. C. VI 59.
That naine … sall ony calf skynnis owt of the lyme pottis unaumyt or rowch to ony poynt makeris
1608 Aberd. Council Lett. I 104.
To tak tryall yeirlie of the pryces of all rough hydes and of the differrence of the price betuix the rough hydes and the barkit hydes
1630 Edinb. B. Rec. VII 85.
That na rouche skynnis, shorlingis, or footfailles salbe skoirit, hoillet or blaymit
(c) a1400 Leg. S. xxxvi 279.
In-to arsk hare he wes clede, With a belte of reucht skine made
1536 Dumfries B. Ct. 167a.
& v rewch sufficient nolt hydis to be pait
(d) 1547 Elgin Rec. I 92.
And specialle in bying, selling of rocht hyidis and barket ledder
1568 Inverness Rec. I 168.
The rocht hydis quhilkis ar cumand to the mercate
1553–81 Aberd. Baillie Ct. 5b. 1586 Aberd. Trades 270.
And that na cordonar nor saidlar bark ony ledder in tyme coming or ȝit by ony roch hydis heirefter
1623 Brechin Test. IV 123b.
Auchtein daiker hyidis quhairof sum ar ȝit roche, the rest ar in the lyme and bark holis
1652 Grant Chart. 461.
[For each dog so trained … to give him six firlots victual and a] rogh hyd

b. Of shoes, in ruch rilling: Made of undressed hide. See Rilling n.

c. Of a garment or cloth: Of coarse or shaggy stuff; having a coarse texture or surface.(a) 1596 Dalr. I 93/17.
Thay vse ruch couirings, ane sorte to thair bed, another sorte to the jornay conuenient
1647 Caldwell P. 99.
Ane ruch hatt
(b) 1513 Doug. ix v 186.
Syne Mnestheus a bustuus lyon skyn, That rowch and weirlyke tawbart na thing thyn, To Nysus gave
1595 Edinb. Test. XXIX 5.
I leif to James Donald … my stand of rouch claythtis
1632 Inv. Newark 2a.
Of rowghe harden for lyning of tapestrie
1678 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Processes No. 261.
Three ells of rouch lining
(c) 1610 Brechin Test. II 53b.
xv elnis roche narrow quhyt pryce x lib.
1647 Bk. Pasquils 152.
A roche coate's better nor a beare
1659 Craven Ch. in Orkney II 196.
A roch cap
(d) 1565 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 25.
Ane baithkycht of roich worsat to ly vnder nobillis feit

2. Having the skin covered with hair; hairy, hirsute; shaggy.(a) c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 41/44 (M).
My bony baib with the rwch brylȝoun
1629 Boyd Last B. 62.
Though Jacob … seeme not to bee a peregall vnto the rugh man who is full of strength
(b) 1460 Hay Alex. 10716.
Thay war nakit and sum thing rouch [ed. routh] of hare
c1515 Asl. MS I 167/25.
In that cuntre … is mischapen men and women … sum has four feit all rouch and tuskis lyke a baire
1513 Doug. iii ix 97.
Lurkis Polyphemus, ȝymmand his beystis rouch
Ib. x iv 128.
[Triton] With … vissage All rowgh of harys
Ib. xii 95.
c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 91.
I dreid rouch Malkin de for drouth
1600-1610 Melvill 82.
The man was of a grait telyie, weill bigged, of a large face, … all rouche with heire
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 131.
That Barbet rought water dog that taks the escrevisses
(c) 1460 Hay Alex. 10144.
Richt reuch of hare betaknys scharpe nature
a1568 Gyre-carling 4.
That levit vpoun Christiane menis flesche and rewcht heidis vnleipit
(d) 1662 Crim. Trials III 603.
He [sc. the devil] wes a meikle blak roch man

3. Of a sheep: Unclipped, unshorn.(a) 1488 Acta Aud. 115/1.
Twolf skore of ruch scheip
1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 93b.
Tua ruch hoggis
1615 Orkney & Shetl. Ct. Bks. 19.
Haveing walknit with fear … and feilling a thing lyke a ruche sheip abone him
1644 Lochwinnoch Par. 175.
Ane quarter of a ruch wadder
1645 Galloway P. 12 May.
With fyve guid rugh weill woolit wedders
1671 Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct. Deeds I 442.
Ten scoir rugh vnclippit lambs
1673 Kirkcudbr. Test. (Kirkcudbr. Sheriff Ct.) 16 Jan.
He leawes to … his oy … two rugh sheepp and a lamb
1694 Argaty Baron Ct. 7 Dec.
Ordaines these who are lyable to pey the thrie ruch wedderis to pey fourtie schilling Scotts for the peice
(b) 1489 Acta Aud. 140/2.
Gud and sufficient rouch wedderis & ȝowis
1513 Doug. xii iv 27.
A rowch twyntyr scheip
1536 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 171.
Twa sufficient rouch yowes
1563 Dumfries B. Ct. fol. 227b. 1622 Hawick Ann. 197.
Four rouch unclippit scheip
(c) 1493 Acta Aud. 179/1.
Sevin skore of ȝowis clippit five skore of gymmer and dynmont roche

4. Having an irregularly uneven surface that is not smooth to the touch; bristly.(a) c1500 Rowll Cursing 152 (B).
Als blak, as ruch as ony taid
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 576 (T).
His froisnit front In runkillis run ruwch [pr. ruwth]
(b) c1500 Rowll Cursing 223 (M).
And sum ar sneth and sum ar rouch
1513 Doug. ii vii 33.
Abak he drewch As quha onwar tred on a rowch serpent
Ib. viii iv 181.
The rouch byrsys on the breist and creste Of that monstruos half deil wilde beste [sc. Cacus]
c1641–54 J. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 601.
Bin-Moir-Assyne a very hie hill … hath a kynd of rough marble
1649 Sc. N. & Q. IV 27.
There came out something like a rough worme out of her mouth
1684 Law Memor. (1818) 177.
It [sc. the elephant] has no hair upon the skin of it, but a rough tannie
(c) 1566-70 Buch. Comm. on Virgil Georgics i 495.
Scabra, roche
Ib. ii 69.
Horrida, roche

5. Of ground: Difficult to traverse; broken, uneven; covered with tussocky vegetation or the like; wild. Cf. Roche n. 2. Also, once, of vegetation.(1) 1466 Chart. Coupar A. II 60.
Et deinde ascendentes per le Ruiche Reisk versus austrum
1478 Acta Aud. 75/1.
And analijt the landis of Dallwnyholme the bra and the ruchfalde
a1568 Scott v 58.
Madynis … hes thair mynȝonis … To hors thame quhair the gait is ruch
1596 Dalr. I 9/16.
The montane Grampius, and vtheris ruch, scharpe and hard hillis full of mosse, more and marrase
(b) a1500 Henr. Fab. 2247.
Lowrence … In ane rouch rone wes at the furris end
1513 Doug. vii Prol. 132.
The sulȝe stythly, hasart, rouch and hair
Ib. ix vii 29.
The wod was large and rowch
Ib. viii vi 84.
1571 Sat. P. xxv 2.
At the castle of Edinburch, Vpoun the bank baith greine & rouch, As myne alone I lay
1596 Dalr. I 28/11.
A rouch rock or craig
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1884) 29.
Mull, ane grate rough ile, noch the les it is fertile
(c) ?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 70.
Ane roche cuntrie, but all full of frie stanes and gude querrellis
Ib. 78.
In thir roch iles are infinite fair scheippis
Ib. 81.
Ane laich roch ile full of little laich craigis and holvis betwixt, of naturall fertile earth … weill inhabite and manurit
(2) a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1825) 340.
Becaus the hedder on the hill syd was so ruch and heich that the horsis could nather trot nor gallop

b. ellipt. as noun. a1500 Henr. Fab. 2506.
He wald chase thame baith throw rouch and snod

c. Of the sea: Rough, turbulent. 1533 Boece 86b.
The sey (rouch and brym movit be ane contrare aspect of ane vnchancye planet)
1633 Maxwell Mem. I 440.
The sea being sum quhat ruche

d. As a place name element in Rouchla.

II. 6. Of a person or community: Wild in habits or behaviour; untrained in accepted social behaviour; uncultivated, lacking in refinement. c1450-2 Howlat 616 (A).
The rouch wodwys wyld … Our growin grysly and growe, grym in effeire
1494 Loutfut MS 19b.
He that first bure it wes a wild man & rugh … and duelland in wild land
1502 Treas. Acc. II 146.
For ane maid cote of broun to the rouch lad
1597 James VI Dæmonol. (STS) 45/16.
And this spirit they called Brownie in our language, who appeared like a rough-man
16.. R. Gordon in Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 391.
They being a rogh, rude people, knowing litle of civilitie

b. Of diction or style: Unrefined; unpolished; rude. 1535 Stewart 148.
For thocht thi langage be bayth rouche and rude, Ȝit neuirtheles the sentence is richt gude

7. Of a person, his behaviour or language: Ungentle; uncivil; harsh.(a) 1584 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 341.
Becaus the … ansuer apperit to be consavet in scherp and ruch termes [the council] ordanet ane vther lettre to be formet … mollefeing the said scherp wordis
1612 Crim. Trials III 229.
Thay thair, efter dyuerse ruche and hard speiches vtterit to him, drew thair quhingeris
(b) c1590 Fowler I 275/6.
Thy soft correcting hand is nou becommed more hard and rough
1600-1610 Melvill 229.
Efter divers hatt, rouche, and maist scharpe reasonings haid betwix the king and my uncle
(c) 1642 Strathbogie Presb. 28.
The brethren present thocht him to be ane rogh ridder
1619 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 90 (10 March).
Accussit for brek off sabbathe be tulȝeing [they] confessitt thair was some roche wordis

b. Of a sound: Harsh, discordant. c1450-2 Howlat 794 (A).
Sa come the ruke with a rerd and a rane roch
Ib. 215 (B).

8. Of weather: Severe; extreme, and therefor hard to endure. 1655 Brodie Diary 126.
4, 5, 6 of … Apryll wer bitter rogh cold days, and the season was unkindli and uncouth

III. 9. Of almonds: ? Unshelled. 1583 Edinb. Test. XII 313.
vij pund wecht of rouch almondis price of the pund vj s. viij d.
1617 Ib. L 36b.
Ruche almantis at aucht schillingis the pund weycht
1633 Ib. LVI 143.
Threttein pund wecht roch almondes
1672 Stirling Common Good 77b.
Ane pund of rugh almonds

10. a. Ruch bere, roche corne, a (? coarse) variety of barley or corn.[Cf. 18th c. rough bear ‘the common barley … the Highland barley’ (Encycl. Brit. 1771 in OED).](1) 1642 Nicolson Diurnal 13 May.
Sawin … in Brereflatte 6 firl ruch beir
1666 R. Brown Paisley I 279.
When the boll of rough biere is vi punds
1675 Peebles B. Rec. II 91.
He did confess the stealling of about ane peck of rough bear
(2) 1616 Fraserburgh Kirk S. 69b (21 Feb.).
[She had] gottin the roche corne that same morning giffin hir

b. Rough bread, ? bread made from ‘rough flour or meal’. 1662 Soc. Ant. XXII 238.
Rough bread and sour drink

c. Roche flour or meal, ? flour or meal made from a above, or ? coarsely ground flour or meal. 1602 Old Ross-shire I 57.
Ane heipit peck of roche meill as bannok
1609 St. A. Baxter Bks. 75.
Bying of quheit and grynding it in flowre, sellyng it in roiche flowre
1679 Ib. 166.
To exact ane peck of … roche meall as graveship or bannock happer out of each chald[e]r

IV. 11. Of materials: In a crude or unrefined state; not (finely) wrought, dressed or finished. Cf. 1 above.(a) 1542 Treas. Acc. VIII 152.
Threttye sax pece of ruch coppir
1631 Monteith Stewartry Ct. 3 Feb.
Awand to him for rwch leather
1637 Maxwell Mem. II 264.
Ruche and blottit paper
1652 Edinb. Test. LXVI 80.
Twa ruch lether chyres
1661 Glasgow B. Rec. II 475.(b) 1535–6 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 147.
Fra … the quarrell Salusbery … wall stanis flaggis rouch peind and certane band aslaris
Ib. 150.
For ic rouch peind ilk ic x s.
1575 Edinb. Test. III 416b.
Threttie stane of rouch tauch price of the stane xiiiv s.
1590 Crail B. Ct. MS 3 Nov.
The stane off rouche tawche for xxv s.
1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 314.
Spruce or Muscovia and all vther rough hemp
c1615 Breve Cron. Earlis Ross 6.
Rouch staine
1688 Banff Ann. I 164.
Ane hundreth pund weight of rough leid
(c) 1675 Edinb. B. Rec. X 243.
Rewch tallo
(d) 1538 Aberd. B. Rec. XVI (Jam. s.v. Leddyr n.).
For the bying of rocht leddyr on the get and in landwart
1562 Ib. (Sp.C.) I 350.
Ane half dakkir of roche ledder
?1549 Monro W. Isles (1961) 76.
Ane thik dyke of great roche stones
1608 Inverurie 192.
1629–30 Montrose Treas. Acc. MS.
Feit and roche chreish
1637–8 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 229.
For roche stanes and pineris led to the schoir

12. Of manufactured articles: Without finish or refinement; crudely or hurriedly made, unfinished.(a) 1663 S. Leith Rec. 118/1.
To put up the said seat with ruche dealls
(b) 1585 Whitelaw Sc. Arms Makers 295.
Of unground suordis rouch blaidis
Ib. 298.
Half ane hunder of rouch speir schaftis
1676 Rothesay B. Rec. 343.
Ane hewne door ane hewne window four rough windowes
(c) 1622–3 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 150.
For putting up of ane roch parpall in my Lord Chancellaris seller

13. In ruch wark. a. Having a rough surface; not of dressed stone; rubble-built. b. Not fine in quality or finish. c. Hard, physically demanding.a. 1542 Soc. Ant. III 162.
The said north vall [of the choir] to ryse xvj futtis as it is foundit rouch work
1581 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 217.
Johne Clavie … to big up and close with ruch wark in massiue wall the duris and windowes on the eist syde of his land
1591 Ib. V 338.
To ane layer … at the well in rouche wark under the aisleris
1610 Aberd. B. Rec. II 299.
The vtter course [of a bridge structure] of hewin wark, outlairis, and the pend of baythe the bowes to be of roche wark within
1623 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 282.
The roche wark besyid the said stepill to be pinitt and harllit with lyme
1686 Edinb. B. Rec. XI 168.
And the rest therof according as the remanent calsayes underwritten are to be layed in rouch work
b. 1587 Dundee B. Laws 476.
The black smyth [is to make] roch vark
c. 1639–40 Aberd. Shore Wk. Acc. 246.
For 5 tydes working at the roch work of the schor

d. Rouch layar, a workman carrying out ruch wark, as defined in a above.Cf. ME and e.m.E. rough mason = ‘a mason building only with unhewn stone’ (1444 in OED). 1556–7 Edinb. Old Acc. I 221.
To Jhone Thomsone and his marrowis, rouche layaris, xxij s.
1616 M. Works Acc. (ed.) II 21. 1617 Ib. 42.
To William Chalmers rouchlayer for sex dayes

B. adv. 1. a. Uncivilly, ungently; roughly; rudely. b. Unevenly; in a bristly or shaggy manner. c. Imperfectly; rudely; hastily, but adequately (performed or carried out). d. Finished with a rough surface texture.a. 1560 Rolland Seven S. Prol. 95.
My ant … Meruellit at me how I durst euer dude, Aganis wemen to speik sa ruch and rude
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1156.
Manie came to wow my dochter, but they sped riddin rough
b. 1596 Dalr. I 61/18.
Wormes … had the similitude of … foulis; … sum was throuch and ruch fethired, sum agane was fethirles
c. 1513 Doug. viii xi 30.
The chymmys … Quhais ruffis laitly ful rouch thekit war With stra or gloy
1615 Edinb. Test. XLVIII 214b.
Ane pair of ruche imbrowderit heidis
c1630 Macfarlane's Geog. Coll. II 165.
It is not verie fertill of corne but it is rouch sene [? = sown] of it [sic], and verie profitable for cattell sheep and goatts to feed into it
d. 1593 Edinb. Test. XXV 171b.
In rouch ribbit stanes and wall stanes

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"Ruch adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Apr 2024 <>



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