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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).

DYVOUR, n. and v. Also dyvor, †divo(u)r, †dyver. [′dɑɪvər]

1. n. †(1) A bankrupt. Also used attrib.Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shepherd Act V. Sc. iii. in Poems (1728):
You crowd your Bounties, Sir, what can we say, But that we're Dyvours that can ne'er repay?
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xx.:
“I have gude cause to remember her,” said Peter, “for she turned a dyvour on my hands, the auld besom!”
Sc. 1909 Colville 72:
The unhappy “dyvour” sat near the Mercat Cross on a stone bench and clad in a yellow robe. The word long survived its disuse in the legal sense as a weapon in a scolding-match.
Bnff. 1769 Ann. Bnff. (S.C.) I. 317:
John Crichtoun appointed to wear the Dyvour Habit.
Fif. 1887 “S. Tytler” Logie Town I. iv.:
You cannot expect a wedding, or a funeral, or an election, or even a roup of a dyvour's goods, ilka day.
Hdg. 1896 J. Lumsden Battle of Dunbar, etc. 17:
What! fail'd! bankrupt! a dyvour!
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 64–65, Note:
By the old Scottish Bankrupt Act, the defaulter was compelled to wear what is called “dyvours hose,” viz. stockings of different colours — the law, however, was seldom enforced.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Add. Beelzebub ll. 39–40:
But smash them! crush them a' to spails, An' rot the dyvors i' the jails!
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost vi.:
He was rookit of every plack he had in the world, and was obligated to take the benefit of the divor's bill.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck I. iv.:
It's like ane that's just gaun to turn divour, taking on a' the debt he can.

‡(2) A rogue, a rascal, a good-for-nothing fellow (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Arg.1 1941).s.Arg. c.1850 Flory Loynachan in Colville (1909) 115:
And haing the boosach dyvour too, Who spoong'd from me thine heart!
Rnf. 1816 A. Wilson Poems 8:
Toiling like a slave to sloken You, ye dyvor, and your 'hores.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 68:
O, dyvor Tam, the drucken loon, The rouchest stick in a' the toon.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 29:
I can picture myself noo, — a sturdy wee dyvour wi' a bit rumpy-bum coat on.
Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables i.:
By its red lowe I could see the dyvours at their hellish wark.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 142:
We'r no sae puir as ye wud think, Rab, but the dyvor needna ken that.

2. v. To make bankrupt.Per. 1766 A. Nicol Poems 74:
They cannot have sufficient beasts to plow. This dyvers both your honour's land, and them.

[O.Sc. has dyvour, etc., from 16th cent., and dyour, dyowr, from early 15th cent., in sense (1) of the n. Of obscure origin.]

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"Dyvour n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Sep 2022 <>



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