Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLAW, BLA', BLAA, Blyave, Blyaver, n.1

1. “A blast, a gust” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd.19, Abd.22 1934). As in St.Eng. blow.Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet Intro. 6:
Sae the wee thing cow'rs in the chilly blaw.
w.Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier vi.:
Imphm! the wind's changin', Maister Weelum, to the nor'-east. That means a bla' doon your lum, I'm thinkin'.

2. Breath, hence rest (Sh., Ayr. 2000s).Mearns 1890 J. Kerr Reminisc. of a Wanderer I. 23; Ags.2, Fif.1 1934:
We micht just sit down here an' tak' a bit blaw.
Gsw. 1988:
Ah'll huv a blaw afore ah dae onythin else.

3. “The direction of the wind” (Bch. 1825 Jam.2).Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 67:
Syne our her weakest shouder, She wechts the corn anent the blaw, Thinkin her joe wad scud her Fast by that night.

4. A puff (of a pipe). Gen.Sc.Abd. 1909 G. Reid in Bnffsh. Jnl. (9 Feb.) 6:
You would find them in groups among the gravestones discussing the parish ferlies, taking a bit blaw o' a smoke.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1914) v.:
And every noo and again takin' a blaa o' a short, black cutty pipe, which she keepit at the back o' the hud [fireplace].

5. A pull of liquor.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Blaw. A pull, a draught; a cant term, used among topers.
Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 9:
Then come and gies the tither blaw Of reaming ale.
Dmf. 1817 W. Caesar Poems 95:
Come some forenight when ye're slack, An' gie's your jaw; Though my auld purse should get a rack, Thou's hae a blaw.

fig. (1) “A boast, a bravado, a gasconade” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2). Gen.Sc.Ork. 1908 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc., Ork., Sh., etc. I. viii. 326:
Jeust a lock o' hypocrisy an' blaw.
Bnff.(D) 1917 E. S. Rae Private J. McPherson, etc. (1918) 30:
His sisters, wi' a bit o' blaw, waur never far ahin, Bit their brither a lieutenant! — they waur nae tae haud nor bin!
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae 'Tween Clyde and Tweed 33:
I aye hae mind . . . O' hearin' young Rab Royston frae Dunsyre, Uphaud a new-boucht ploo wi' unco blaw.

(2) A boaster, braggart (Sh., Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Rxb. 2000s).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 14:
Blyave, one who boasts; one who tells fibs out of vanity. Also blyaver.
Abd. 1993:
E's a great blaa - bit e niver dis onything.
wm.Sc. 1993:
He's an awfie blaw.
Lnk.3 1934; Kcb.6 1914, Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 9/2:
Did ye ever hear sic a blaw as wee Sanny?

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Blaw n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: