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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DAW, Daa, Da, n.2

1. A sluggard, a lazy, idle person (Cai. 1907 D. B. Nicholson in County of Cai. 70, daa; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.). Also used attrib. Mainly found in proverbs.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 345:
What better is the house that the daw rises early in the morning. Spoken often by mistresses to their maids when they have been early up, and done little work.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 29:
A working mither maks a daw dochter.
Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 20:
A morning's sleep is worth a fauld o' sheep to a.hudderin' dudderin' daw.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 64:
I'm cheated, if he doesna aither turn oot a deil or a daw.

2. A slattern, a drab, an untidy woman; “used in Ayrs. to denote a trull or bad woman” (Jam.2).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 325:
There was never a Slut but had a Slitt, there was never a Daw but had twa.
Sc. [1826] R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 388:
They that wash on Saturday, Are dirty daws indeed.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Rock and wee pickle Tow xiv.:
But I see that but spinning I'll never be bra', But gae by the name of a dilp or a da.
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in North. Whig Lecture iv.:
Every day braw Makes a Sunday daw.

[Fig. extensions of daw, a jackdaw, found in O.Sc. from c.1500 (D.O.S.T.); in use in Mid.Eng. in sense of a simpleton (N.E.D.).]

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"Daw n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2024 <>



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