Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SCOWDER, v., n. Also -re, scouder; scowther, skouther, skowther, scouther, scoudher (Uls.); skooder, scooder, scuuder (Sh.); scuther (Ork.); scudder. [′skʌudər, -ðər, Sh. ′skudər, Ork. ′skʌðər]

I. v. 1. tr. To burn, scorch, singe, to over-roast or -toast (bread or the like) (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 154; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. skowtherin, a roasting, singeing; to inflame the skin by abrasion, chafing or heat (Dmf. 1920; Ork. 1969). Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. p.1746  Jacobite Minstr. (1829) 290:
He's in a' Satan's frything pans, Scouth'ring the blude frae aff his han's.
Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 3:
Ye ken right well, fan Hector try'd Thir barks to burn an' scowder.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 139:
Ky hae tint their milk wi' evil eie, And corn been scowder'd on the glowing kill.
Ags. 1776  C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 6:
Gude scouder'd bannocks hae nae gou!
Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize I. ii.:
Seeing it [bannock] somewhat scowthert and blackent on the one cheek.
Slk. 1824  Hogg Confessions (1874) 519:
The grass withers as gin it war scoudered wi' a het ern.
Fif. 1867  J. Morton C. Gray 32:
I'll hae to toast the wee bit cheese, And spread the scouther'd meal.
Gall. 1881  J. K. Scott Gall. Gleanings 29:
He scouder'd his fingers wi' liftin' the pan.
Sh. 1892  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 249:
It wis dat wy scuddered wi' dryin' burstin'.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 79:
Them that gang to the ill place'll get an awfu' skowtherin'.
Sh. 1960  New Shetlander No. 54. 19:
Scoodered loff an mermalade.

Comb. scowder-doup, a jocular name for a blacksmith. Dmf. 1808  Scots Mag. (Aug.) 608:
Whan i' the bleeze the sheep-head hirsles . . Till scowderdoup sings aff the woo'.

2. Of frost or rain: to cause foliage, etc., to wither, to blight (Per., Fif., Ayr., Gall., Slk. 1969). Sc. 1799  J. Struthers Poet Wks. (1850) II. 202:
Cauld winter wi' his scowdering eye.
Sc. 1875  Stevenson Works (1907) XIII. 305:
The snell an' scowtherin' norther blaw Frae blae Brunteelan'.
Knr. 1891  H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 46:
On stookit strae wi' scowther'd taps.
Lnl. a.1895  Poets Lnl. (Bisset 1896) 185:
Nae tether stown by cantrip airt, Nor scowther'd bauks o' corn.

3. Fig. To reprove, correct or chastise severely, to blister with rebuke. Ppl.adj. scoutherin; deriv. scoudrum, chastisement (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Bnff., Abd. 1969); the loss or chagrin occasioned by failure. Sc. 1874  W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 71:
He brocht his scoutherin' sermon to a close.
Gsw. 1889  A. G. Murdoch Readings iii. 28:
Under sic a scoutherin' lash o' knowledge.
Abd. 1925 7 :
When a man tries some line of action, usually a bad one, and it fails, they say he got a scoudrum, like Eng. “he burnt his fingers”.

4. intr. To become scorched or singed, to burn, roast (Sh., Abd., Per., Lnk., Gall. 1969). Abd. 1832  A. Beattie Poems 138:
Nor wad it [a bridle] skaum, — nor wad it scowder, Though i' the mids o' flaming youder.
Bwk. 1856  G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 54:
To scouther forever in hell's blue flame!
Fif. 1882  S. Tytler Sc. Marriages I. iii.:
The good oaten bread which must ‘scouther' unheeded.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 28:
Keep stirrin' and dinna let them scouder.

5. To rain or snow slightly, drizzle (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 150; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork. 1969). Vbl.n. scowtherin, a sprinkling of newly-fallen snow (Watson); deriv. scowtherum, a slight shower (Gregor).

II. n. 1. A scorch, singe, burn or the mark made by it (Sc. 1882 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc.; the act of scorching, singeing, or burning; a hasty toasting or heating (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also fig. Also in n.Eng. dial. Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) Il. 187:
Till in a birn beneath the croock They're singit wi' a scowder.
s.Sc. 1793  T. Scott Poems 358:
Love had gi'en his heart a scouder.
Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf vii.:
I'se gie you a scouther, if there be a tar-barrel in the five parishes.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (May) 573:
They [oatcakes] 're no just sae gude the day; for ye ken, ma'am, it's har'st, and they got a hasty scouther.
Arg. 1882  Arg. Herald (3 June):
Come awa ben, woman, an tak a bit scowther o' the grieshach.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 110:
They joost gied it a bit scowder ootside an kin' o' het it half-through.

2. An oatcake, roughly baked by being toasted on a pair of tongs over a red fire (Uls. 1830 W. Carleton Traits (1844) II. 131, 1931 Northern Whig (15 Dec.) 10). Also fig. of any “half-baked” person, a novice, etc. Uls. 1830  W. Carleton Traits (1877) 259:
“Franky”, they would say, “is no finished priest in the larnin'; he's but a scowdher”.

3. A jellyfish, because of its stinging effects when touched (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Arg. 1969). Bte. 1820  J. Blain Hist. Bute (1880) 25:
The sea sun, or medusa's head, called with us the tailed scouther.

4. Fig. A contemptuous epithet for a rogue, scamp, sc. one likely to be singed in hell. Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 24:
You'll maybe be better aff i' the ither place, — ye auld scowder.

5. A slight or flying shower of rain (Lth., Cld. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ork., Bnff., Slg., Lnk., Ayr. 1969); a sprinkling of snow (Gregor). Hence scowth(e)rie, -y, beginning or threatening to rain or snow (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Lnk. 1969). m.Lth. 1794  G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 27:
Mair scouthry like it still does look.
Abd. 1868  W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 140:
The wintry scowthers past and gane.
Bnff. 1889  Banffshire Jnl. (31 Dec.):
'Twis jist a scouther seen ootblawn.
Ayr. 1928 4 :
We had a bit scouther o' a sho'er but no muckle to speak o'.

[O.Sc. skolder, to scorch, singe, 1508, appar. an early variant of scalder, intensive form of scald. Cf. Mid.Dan. skolde, Mid.Sw. skolda. For the -th- forms see D, letter, 4.]

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"Scowder v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Nov 2019 <>



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