Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DUB, n., adv., v. Also †dubb. Cf. Dib.

I. n.

1. A pool, esp. one of muddy or stagnant water; a pond; “a water-hole in a moss” (Mry.1 1925); a sea-pool (Fif. 1940 (per Slg.3); Fif. 1951 P. Smith Herrin' 17) “only visible at low water” (Bwk.3 1951). Also fig. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act II. Sc. i. in Poems (1728):
A snug Thack-house, before the Door a Green; Hens on the Midding, Ducks in Dubs are seen.
Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. iii.:
They live . . . by the shore-side . . . with six as fine bairns as you would wish to see plash in a salt-water dub.
Fif. 1897  “G. Setoun” George Malcolm xiv.:
Run awa an' sail it in the Big Dub . . . along to yon rock. The dub's on the other side o' it.
Edb. 1878  J. Smith Peggy Pinkerton 20:
The dark valley o' the past, wi' its horrid uncleanness in toun and country, its stagnant dub, its poisonous marshes, and its heavin' midden-steads.
Lnk. 1893  T. Stewart Miners 215:
Wi' rosy nebs, o'er icy dubs The young anes skate an' skim.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To G. Hamilton x.:
O ye wha leave the springs o' Calvin, For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin!
Ayr. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 V. 428:
There was a continuous line of little lochs, or as they are called dubbs.
Kcb. 1897  T. Murray Frae the Heather 123:
To lift us from the dub of sin.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 201:
Wading middle deep in what is now dyked up into a cauld pool (or dub) for Merton Mill.

Combs.: (1) dub-mill, a mill driven by water from a pond; (2) duck-dub, see Deuk; (3) goose dubb, see Guse. (1) Ork. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 397:
There are two other mills in the parish, which go under the name of Dubmills. These are of no use in the summer season.

2. Humorously: the ocean (Ags.17, Fif.10 1940). Ags. 1875  J. Watson Verse Samples 15:
Our camstairy neebours across the saut dub, Are aye yarkin' up like the barm in a tub.
Fif. c.1894  D. Rorie Mining Folk (1912) 414:
I'd soom the dub for't first, i.e. I would sooner cross the sea than do it.
Dmf. 1899  J. Shaw in Country Schoolmaster (ed. Wallace) 369:
Beyond the dub baith gleg and dunce, Cast off richt soon baith care an' cark.

3. A pool in a river (Bwk. 1892 Miss Russell in Bwk. Naturalists' Club 162).

4. A small pool, esp. of rain water; a puddle (Bnff.12 1930; wm.Sc.1 1950; Arg.1 1929; e.Dmf.2 1917). Hence dubby, adj., “abounding with small pools” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2), puddly (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10, Lnk.11 1940); “wet, rainy” (Abd. 1825 Jam.2). Sc. 1886  R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped xxvi.:
Here he must tramp in the dubs and sleep in the heather like a beggar man.
Abd. 1909  C. Murray Hamewith 43:
Saft soughin' win's dry the dubby howe.
Ags. 1949  C. Gibson in Scots Mag. (Sept.) 409:
Along the wynds dubs lay long and deep.
Knr. 1832  L. Barclay Poems 50:
Corunna's field, upon the shore, In dubs he stood o' British gore.
Edb. 1720  A. Pennecuik Helicon 54:
Trails me all the Day thro' Dub, and thro' Mire.
Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 4:
Whan ilka herd for cauld his fingers rubbs, An' cakes o' ice are seen upo' the dubbs.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 42:
Down frae the scra-built shed the swallows pop, Wi' lazy flaughter, on the gutter dub.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 283:
Ilk step they redouble their haste, As through dirt an' dubs they spatter.

Combs.: (1) dub-hole, a puddle (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein); also in w.Yks. dial.; (2) dub-skelper, -skouper, lit., applied to one who travels rapidly regardless of the state of the roads (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 187); hence “used contemptuously for a rambling fellow” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Bnff.2 1940); also attrib.; †(c) “applied, in a ludicrous way, to a young clerk in a banking office, whose principal work is to run about giving information when bills are due” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2); (3) dub-water, dirty water, such as is found in dubs (Fif.10 1940). (2) Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. xxviii.:
Ghaist, indeed! I'll warrant it's some idle dub-skelper frae the Waal.
Bch. 1832  W. Scott Poems 56:
Hillo! again, to a' dubskelper chiels, Wha carry muck in curricles or creels.
e.Dmf. 1731  in Gentleman's Mag. 123:
If any . . . Land Louper, Dub Skouper, or Gang the gate Swinger, shall bread any Urdam, Durdam. . . .
(3) Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems II. 103:
And like Dub-water skink the Wine.
Per. 1753  A. Nicol Rural Muse 20:
In caps good ale and brandy gade, Just like dub water.
Fif. 1900  “S. Tytler” Jean Keir xiv.:
Nae doot it has been a sair peety to hae the drink going like dub water.
Hdg. 1902  J. Lumsden Toorle 21:
He eats an' drinks Scotch dulse an' dub-watter, as gin they were seybies an' kirn-milk!

5. Now gen. in pl.: mud. Only in n.Sc. Hence dubbie, adj., muddy, miry (Abd. 1825 Jam.2; Bnff.2, Abd.9 1940). Bnff. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 175:
Lassies Wade thro' the dubs wi' kiltit coaties.
Abd. 1707  Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 290:
They were assaulted on the high streets with a rable of people who threw stones and dub or mire upon them.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xiv.:
Mains cam' in, skirpit wi' dubs to the vera neck o's kwite.
Abd. 1920  C. Murray Country Places 5:
Gin it's frosty an' clear we can lippen the mear, Gin it's dubby the safter the fa'.
Abd. 1923  R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert x.:
The win' wud seen dry the hey an' the peels i' the dubby roads.
Bch. 1735  J. Arbuthnot Buchan Farmers (1811) 14:
Next to [lime as manure] ashes, urine, dubs, mixed with the excrements of different animals.
Bch. 1832  W. Scott Poems 171:
A stranger ance fae Aberdeen, Wi' drabb'lt hose an' dubbie sheen.

Phr.: washen in Dubbie's wall an' dried on Dinnie's [see Din, adj.] dyke, applied to clothes not properly washed (Abd.15 c.1800).

6. A very deep bog or mire (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 71:
Brora, ye ken, coms frae da Greek wird ‘shun', meanin a dub or bug.

II. v. To cover with mud; to bedaub (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 223; Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9 1940). Ppl.adj. dubbit. Abd. 1917  C. Murray Sough o' War 27:
Ye're dubbit to the een, ye slype, ye hinna focht the day.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Doric 29:
They hied them hame owre bog an' steen, Wi' clorty clase an' dubbit sheen.
Bch. 1832  W. Scott Poems 20:
When baith hae been tir'd an' dub'd to the chin, We haltit to dry our wet duds i' the sun.

[O.Sc. has dub, a small and stagnant pool, from 1456, a puddle, a.1500; L.Ger., W.Fris. dobbe, a water-hole, a puddle.]

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"Dub n., adv., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Jun 2019 <>



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