Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
COWLIE, Couli(e), Cawlie, n. Also cowl, cull. [′kʌuli]
1. A boy (Sc. 1808 Jam., coulie, cowlie); “name given to town-boys by George Heriot's boys” (Edb. 1910 Scotsman (3 Sept.), cowlie).
Edb. 1825 R. Chambers Trad. of Edb. (1847) 109:
Their neglected grass-green precincts too frequently formed an arena whereon the high and mighty quarrels of Old and New Town cowlies we brought to a lapidarian arbitration.
2. “A contemptuous name for a man” (Sc. 1808 Jam., cawlie); “a big, hulking fellow” (Cai.9 1938, cowlie); a cant term for a man (Abd.16 1930, cowl; Per., Arg., Gall. 1907 A. McCormick Tinkler-Gypsies, App. xvii., cowl, cull).
Edb. 1720 A. Pennecuik Helicon 67:
The Cowlies on the Straw, with the Morties will be glad, But ilk an must maund on his awn Pad. Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 37:
E'en-now some couli gets his aits, An' dirt wi' words they mingle. Edb. 1825 Jam.2:
A man who picks up a girl on the street, is called her cowlie.
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"Cowlie ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Sep 2019 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/cowlie>
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