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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 but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Bow, Bowe, n.1 Also: bov, bou. [ME. bow, bowe, early boȝe, OE. boᵹa, ON. boge, bogi. See also Boll n.3]

1. A bow for shooting with.For other examples see Arrow n.; also Cors-bow, Hand-bow. 1375 Barb. v. 595.
I haf a bow, bot and a vyre
Ib. 603.
He tit the bow out of his hand
a1400 Leg. S. v. 477.
The ȝunge man than his bov bent syne
Ib. 481.
Tharfor he his bow vnbent
1386 Rotuli Sc. II. 85/2.
Men folwand thar gudes … withut spere or bowe
c1420 Wynt. i. 208.
He dang hym wytht hys bowe to dede
Ib. vii. 3424.
With swerdys, sperys, and wyth bowys
1429 Acts II. 18/2.
The ȝeman that is nane archer na can nocht deyll with a bow sall haif … suerde & buklar [etc.]
1462 Peebles B. Rec. 149.
He has payt for his fredom a bow and a schefe to the toun
a1500 Henr. Fab. 22.
Ane bow that is ay bent Worthis vnsmart and dullis on the string
1491 Acts II. 226/2.
That … for comoun gude & defence of the realme be hantit bowis schvting
1513 Doug. ix. x. 77.
Hys bow with horsis sennonys bend hes he
1518 Glenartney Doc.
Stalking and slaying of dere … with bowis
15.. Christis K. 76 (84).
He forgit it so fowriously, The bow in flenderis flew
1567 Inverness B. Rec. I. 152.
He lent … Johne Gollan ane bowe of ewe price xiij s. iiij d., … quhilk bowe … the said Johne will nocht mak payment of
fig. a1578 Pitsc. II. 122/28.
Thay … eschaiped with thair lywes narrowlie betuix the bow and the string
a1605 Montg. Son. lv. 1.
Hir brouis, tuo bouis of ebane ever bent

b. A bowman, archer. 1481 Acts II. 140/1.
That the tane half of the said wageouris salbe speiris, and the tother half bowis
a1578 Pitsc. I. 193/15.
Captaine of ane thousand bowis of ordinance
Ib. 205/11.
Ane thousand gentillmen weill horssit, … ane thowsand bowis

2. An arch, esp. of a bridge.In Edinburgh spec. the arched gateways called the Over and Nether Bow, mentioned in the Reg. Great Seal as arcus superior (1425) and arcus inferior (1472).(1) 1471 Edinb. Chart. 140.
Fra the Frere Wynd to the Netherbow
Ib. 141.
Sic like gudis that suld be weyit to be vsit at the Ouer Bow
1513 Doug. vi. x. 10.
Eik I behald, … Tha portis with thar stalwart bow or brace
1520 Edin. B. Rec. I. 201.
That nane pas outwith the Bow … to met the said corne
1540 Lynd. Sat. 160 (B).
Thay callit my mvder bony Bes, That dwelt betwene the bowis
1558-66 Knox II. 222.
First, in the throt of the Bow, war slane David Kirk [etc.]
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 176.
Having certane hagbuttaris lyand aboue, betwixt and the bow
1603 Moysie 70.
He gat presence in the chancelleris ludging betuix the bowis
(2) c1420 Wynt. viii. 2889 (W).
Ane arche of full faire werk … The Bischop Walter gert mak syne; And vndir that bow lyis he
1555 Aberd. B. Rec. I. 294.
The haill toun … ordanis Maister Robert Lumisden … to big the said brig of twa bowis, sufficiently with stane and lyme
a1578 Pitsc. II. 312/6.
Quhen it come to Sanct Johnstoun brig it buir away thrie bowis thairof
1596 Dalr. I. 17/14.
The brig [of Glasgow] … haveng 8 bowis is ane gret delectatione to the lukeris vpon it
1610 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 300.
The wast bow of the said brig
The mid pillar betuixt the tua bowis
1621 Perth Kirk S. 298.
The brig of Tay was hailly dung down, except only one bow thereof standing
1653 Peebles B. Rec. II. 17.
Which … lyme the toune hes resolvit to imploy for building ane stone brig of ane bow
1681 Irvine Mun. II. 294.
The casing [= causeying] of the new bowe of the bridg

3. The bow of a yoke. See also ox(in) bow. 1535 Stewart 44493.
Neuir ane ox wes ȝokkit into bow
1598 Edinb. Test. XXXI. 324 b.
Thrie furneist ȝokis with irne someis and bowis

4. The curved handle of a pot. (Cf. Bowit a.)

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"Bow n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2022 <>



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