Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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COSH, Coash, Coish, Kosh, adj.1 and n. [kɔʃ, koʃ]

1. adj.

(1) Of things and persons: snug, comfortable, cosy (Bnff.2, Ags.1, Fif.10, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1937). Abd. 1906 J. Christie in Bnffsh. Jnl. (26 June) 2:
Soon after nine they socht their den, As cosh as hoggies in their pen.
Per. a.1837 R. Nicoll Poems (1842) 15:
Wha tauld us stories, sad and lane, O' puir folk's waes, until we wished Them a' beside our cosh hearthstane.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Sc. Poems (1925) 38:
A' his housie looks sae cosh and clean.

Hence coshly, adv. Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet iii.:
For ilka shepherd's chequered plaid Has room enough for twa, And coshly shields his mountain maid Frae a' the blasts that blaw.

(2) Quiet, undisturbed (Ags.1 1937). Rxb. 1811 A. Scott Poems 23:
At length he drew the hamlet near, Where wakrife tykes their vigils keep; . . . A' else seem'd coash, an' gane to sleep.

(3) Friendly, intimate (Bnff.2, Fif.10, Lnk.3 1937). Sc. 1788 Scots Mag. 559:
Auld Cloots and you are unco cosh.
Sh.(D) 1916 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr, Janniwary 31:
It's no safe for kyunnins ta be ower kosh wi whitrits.
Fif. 1894 (2nd ed.) D. S. Meldrum Story of Margrédel v.:
“They twa's very cosh,” said the Bailie, looking up.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Doun i' th' Loudons 62:
“Engaged?” Hang it, I canna say for that, But, I could threep the deil they're unco cosh!

†(4) Cheerful, lively; happy (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 142). Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 158:
But Rab had got a gay bit drappy . . . Was very cosh and unco cracky.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish iii.:
Decent ladies, coming home with red faces, tozy and cosh, from a posset masking.

2. n. “A confined, comfortable, or warm situation” (Nai. 1813 W. Leslie Gen. View Agric. Nai. and Mry., Gl., coish).

[Not in O.Sc. Origin uncertain, but phs. a variant of Tosh (cf. Caiver and Taiver, Spurtle and Spurkle, etc.), with influence from cosy.]

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"Cosh adj.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Jul 2020 <>



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