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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

CROWL, CROUL, n., v.2. adj. Cf. Crull. [krʌul]

1. n.

(1) A dwarf, a diminutive person (Ayr.3 1910). Used as a term of derision or contempt.Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 109:
The puir meeserable Saxon crowls had nae beass tae kill.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle v. v.:
Jamieson o' Penpoint, wee crowl o' a body.

(2) The smallest pig of a litter (Uls. 1931 M. Montgomery in North. Whig (11. Dec.) 13/3, croul).Uls. 1920 P. Gregory Songs and Ballads 34:
I'm sellin' this wee pig, For, though I've stuffed an' fed it, The crowl'll nae grow big.

(3) A child, often a diminutive child.Arg.1 1930, obsol.:
Guidsake! see thae wee crowls at the aidge o' the watter an' no a sowl lookin' efter them.
Ayr. 1880 J. Tannock Poems (1880) 25:
A crood o' crowls ahint her heels The fun tae hear and see.
Uls. 1911 F. E. Crichton Soundless Tide 252:
She's proud enough o' the child too, though a poorer wee crowl A niver seen.

2. v. “To stunt the growth of anything. It is said that dogs can be crowled by giving them whiskey when they are young, and that a child is crowled if a man puts his leg over the child's head” (Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). Ppl.adj. crowled, stunted, under-sized; also fig. oppressed, harassed, over-worked (s.Ayr. 1950).Kcb. a.1848 R. Kerr Maggie o' the Moss (1891) 73: 
My wee yowie's crowl'd and crabbèd.

3. adj. “Undersized” (Dwn. c.1921 “Presbyterian” in North. Whig).

[Origin uncertain, but phs. the same word as Crowl, v.1]

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"Crowl n., v.2, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <>



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