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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

BOWIN, Bowing, n.2 Also booing (Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 399). [′bʌuɪn, ′buɪn]

1. “A holding or lease of a grass-farm and its live-stock” (Rnf.2, Lnk.3, Ayr.8, Kcb.9 1935).Sc. [1833] R. Hunter Law of Landlord and Tenant (1876) I. 358:
In some parts of Scotland (chiefly Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Kirkcudbright and Caithness) there is a contract of location which is popularly known by the rather singular name of “Bowing of Cows.” A proprietor or principal tenant, who is the owner of a stock of cows, lets them, with the privilege of grazing them on the farm, to a party who is called a “bower.”
[See Bower, n.1]Bnff.2 1935:
Bowing. This system of letting a holding is not practised in the North East. The word, however, is fairly well known there in describing the system in Ayrshire, etc.
Dmb. 1863 Gsw. Daily Herald (11 Sept.):
To let, near Balloch, a Bowing of 20 Cows.
Ayr. 1825 Jam.2:
To tak a farm in a bowin, to take a lease of a farm in grass, with the live stock on it; this still remaining the property of the land-holder, or person who lets it.

Comb.: bowin'-dairy, “a dairy-farm” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. s.v. bower).

2. “The average of a cow's milk during the year” (Slg. 1912 (per Abd.13)).

[Bow, n.2, q.v. + -ing.]

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"Bowin n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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