Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CA' THROUGH, —THRO(O) , —THROU', —THROW, v.phr. and n.phr.

1. v.phr.

(1) To display great energy in getting work done, to work away (Bnff.2, Abd., Ags. and Fif. correspondents, Lnk.3 1938). Sc. 1931  J. M. Bulloch in Times (30 Dec.):
May I suggest that we might honour the centenary of their author's [Scott's] death by introducing the fine phrase “Ca' through” . . . because it forms a counsel of perfection for the New Year?
Ayr. 1792  Burns Hey, ca' thro' (Cent. ed.) ll. 1–2:
Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro', For we hae mickle ado!

(2) To pull through (an illness). Known to Bnff.2, Ags.1, Fif.1 1938. Ags. 1893  Arbroath Herald (8 June) 2/4:
We got him hame a' richt, an' he'll mebbe ca' throo't.

2. n.phr.

(1) Drive, “push” (used of work). Known to Bnff.2, Abd. and Ags. correspondents, Fif.10 1938. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 23:
He's a servan' it hiz a ca-through we's wark.

(2) Disturbance (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Fif.10 1938). Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary (1818) xxiv.:
There was siccan a ca'-thro', as the like was never seen.
Ags. 1934  R. C. Buist in Scots Mag. (Nov.) 142:
Wi' this an' that, they'd a gey ca' thro'.

(3) Of clothes: a slight or preliminary wash (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.1, Lnl.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1938). Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
A gaed the colour't things a ca'-throw.

(4) A search (Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.10 1938). Bnff. 1937 2 :
I'll gie the press a ca' throu', bit I dinna think yir glesses are there.
Abd. 1938 2 :
“Man, Jimmie, ye sud tak' a wife; she wud be chaper than a hoosekeeper.” “Weel, gin a hed the hairst by, a'll yoke the shalt an' hae a ca'-throw.”

Ca' through v. phr., n. phr.

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"Ca' through v. phr., n. phr.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Dec 2019 <>



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