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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Jow, n.1 Also: Jowe, Jou. [ME. Jow ( 14th c.), Juw, Juu, Ju (a 1300), Gyu (c 1275), plur. Joues, Jowes (a 1340), Juwis, Juues, Juus (a 1300), Giwis (c 1175), OF. giu, gyu, giue. The more common Sc. form, and after the 14th c. chiefly or only Sc. Cf. Jew n.]

A Jew, a Hebrew. In plur., freq. = the Jewish nation or race.(1) sing. a1400 Leg. S. ii. 1001.
Ȝe sall apertly prewe … That I ame verray Jow
Ib. xxxvi. 961.
With a Jow he gat thir twa That he to wif befor can ta
1456 Hay II. 159/13.
A Sarrazene … hapnyt till ourtak a Jow
Ib. /18.
And sa the Sarrazene sperit at the Jowe quhat lay he lyvit apon
c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxxii. 9.
Me thocht that Judas with mony a Jow Tuke blissit Jhesu
1535 Stewart 48430.
No Jow or Turk thow hes done ws sic ill
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3952.
The prudent Jow, Josephus, sayis That he wes present in those dayis
1570 Sat. P. xxiv. 51.
Ane Turk, ane Jow, or than the mekle Deill, To thy foule tressoun trewly na compair
1572 Ib. xxxi. 173.
Nane of Scottis blude In Scotland dar him self auow, Mair nor in Jurie dois the Jow
(2) plur. a1400 Leg. S. i. 657.
Paganis and Jowis fellely Buffit thame dispituisly
Ib. ii. 69.
Twa ȝer … in prechinge ilkaday Agane the Jowis
Ib. xvi. 626.
Quhare Criste … was eftyr tane With fals Jowis mony ane
c1420 Wynt. v. 301.
Mony off Jowys and Gentyl Till hym he drewe
?1438 Alex. ii. 9941.
Of thir thre Jowes we find it writ, … Josua, … David, … Judas Machabeus
1456 Hay I. 187/22.
Gif that haly kirk may move were agaynis the Jowis, Goddis inymyes
a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 692.
The quhilkis [signs] Sanct Jerome wraite In Jowis bukis as he thaim fand in feire
Ib. 995.
As King of Jowis thai salust him in scorne
c1515 Asl. MS. I. 314/10.
Jowis etis neuer sennonis
a1568 Gyre-carling 25.
The carling … Is mareit with Mahomyte, And will the doggis interdyte For scho is quene of Jowis
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5203.
All Turkis, Sarasenis, and Jowis, That in the Sonne of God nocht trowis
1560 Rolland Seven S. 1963.
I will pas now to the Halie land And fecht with Jowis
1563 Misc. Wodrow Soc. 242.
The Jowes … persuading circumcisione to be necessare with baptisme
a1578 Pitsc. I. 392/14.
Quhene the said Haman … could not be content witht his poore bretherin of the Jowis
1622-6 Bisset I. 7/34.
Succeded Pontius Pilat in the governament of the Jowes

b. Loosely, as a term of abuse: An unbeliever, an infidel. Also attrib. 1506 Glasgow Dioc. Reg. II. 155.
Johne Elphinstoun is a defamit persone … and ane verray erratik and a Jow
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 524.
Judas, Jow, iuglour, Lollard laureate
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 31.
The Jow was of a grit engyne And generit was of gyans
Ib. lx. 15.
Fowll Jow jowrdane hedit jevellis

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"Jow n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Feb 2024 <>



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