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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.

LEW, adj., n., v.1 Also leu-, loo, lu(e), lou-; lioo (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); lju (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); luew (Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.)). [lu:; I. and s.Sc. lju:]

I. adj. Lukewarm, tepid, slightly heated (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam.; w.Sc. 1902 N.E.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Freq. in comb. lew-warm, id. (Ruddiman, Jam.; e.Sc. 1902 N.E.D.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Deriv. leuness, slight warmth (Sh. 1960). Now only dial. in Eng.Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xiv.:
Dip the clout i' the loo warm water, an' pit it on the sair place; that's a tepid fomentation.
Sc. 1873 N. & Q. (Ser. 4) XII. 336:
Loo water, mixed with a little milk, is a favourite lotion for a wound or sore.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 130:
Aweel I wat, hid meed him swaet, For hid wus brave an' lue.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 70:
Ita da stank wi watter loo, Wir rostin tings o soles ta cül.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 109:
Ta fetch a coarn o' speerits oot o' da ben press … hit cood aye pit a scaar o' leuness trow him.
Ags. 1953 Kirriemuir Free Press (3 Sept.):
Frae stowp an' boilin' kettle she A lu'-warm bath sune made.
Bnff. 1956 Banffshire Jnl. (30 Oct.):
But awa' the mitherly buddy gaed an' com' back in a meenit wi' a basin o' loo-warm water.

II. n. A warmth, a slight rise in temperature, esp. used of the interior of stacks (Sh., Abd., Fif., Rnf., sm.Sc. 1960).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 315:
Stacks of corn are said to take a “lew”, when they are built, not being dry, when they heat.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (16 Oct.):
The use of the tripods is to prevent the rick from settling down, as does every stack having something more than just a “wee bit loo” in it.

III. v. To make tepid, heat slightly (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.); intr. to become warm (Sh. 1960). Ppl.adj. used as lewands, buttermilk and meal boiled together (Cld. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1873 N. & Q. (Ser. 4) XII. 336:
A beast … so heated as that the sweat is visibly breaking forth, is said to be loo, or looed.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (11 Sept.):
I' da time 'at hit's luin', ye'll spaek ben.
Uls. 1902 E.D.D.:
My ears are louin.

[O.Sc. lewwarm, 1513, Mid.Eng. lewe, = 1., O.E. (ge-)hlēow, sheltered, warm, hlīewan, to warm.]

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"Lew adj., n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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