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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHOWD, v., n., adv. Also schowd (Gregor), shoud(e). Dim. showdie. [ʃʌud]

I. v. 1. int. To swing to and fro, sway from side to side, rock, see-saw (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Inv., ne.Sc. 1970); to have a rocking waddling gait (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149; ne.Sc. 1970). Also vbl.n.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 63:
Showding frae side to side, an' lewdring on.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 127:
He shoudit wi' scaffoldin' planks owre their meer.
Mry. 1872 W. H. Tester Poems 56:
The body's showdin', when I trot full speed.
Ags. 1899 W. F. McHardy Bonnie Montrose 53:
Shoudin' on the topmost rince o' daddy's arm chair.
Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 10:
Fae yont the shoudin' sea.
Abd. 1930 E. S. Rae Waff o' Win, 54:
Syne Geordie wi' the “best young man” Cam, bashfu, shoudin in.
Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 36:
You waited a tram by the Windmill steps, it came showding and banging up from the Station.
ne.Sc. 1957 Mearns Leader (1 Feb.):
The day will come fin yer ain bairns will be shoudin' in yer airms.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 64:
And haar theeks the sea ...
I hae the sea's instability and showdin;
my centre is a swither, an unsiccar shakky foond.
Abd. 1981 Jack Webster A Grain of Truth (1988) 82:
So the smell of grease-paint still hung around Guild Street in those days of the forties and fishes came strongly from the harbour as open-topped trams went shouding down to the beach from the Castlegate on hot summer days.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 21:
It sweyed an showded on the wire, grippit bi migration fever, till o a suddenty it lowsed its clooks an soared up tae the lift inno a gurly September storm-cloud, on the first daud o its journey aff tae the saft wins o the Sooth.

Combs.: (1) showdin-boat, showdin boatie a swing-boat at a fair (Abd. 1970); (2) s(c)howdin-tow, a child's swinging rope (Mry. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149).(1) Abd. 1943 W. S. Forsyth Guff o' Waur 9:
Hairy Harry's showdin' boats, Shootin' range and a'.
Abd. 1992 Press and Journal 21 Mar :
Mind you, that wasn't as exciting as our hotel. It was situated at the heart of the village's most exciting event of the year, their carnival. Now that is not a few showdin boaties, a motor organ, hoopla and a shooting gallery with the finals at ten and closedown at eleven

2. tr. To cause to sway or rock, to swing, to dandle (a child) in the arms (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149; Abd. 1970).Sc. 1828 The Keach i the Creel in Child Ballads No. 281 C. xv.:
They howded her, and they showded her, Till the auld wife gat a fa.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 114:
Shak'n, showdit, thrashed, an' thumpit.
Abd. 1930 E. S. Rae Waff o' Win' 29:
A sweet wind “shoudes” the Manse trees with a joyous murmur.

II. n. 1. A rocking, swaying motion, e.g. of a ship “much tossed by the waves” (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149; ne.Sc. 1970); a waddling gait (Gregor; ne.Sc. 1970); the dandling of a child (Ib.); a swing. Derivs. shouder, id.; shoudie, id., also used excl. as a word to lull a child, and as a v. = I. 2.n.Sc. 1823 W. G. stewart Pop. Superstitions 242:
Flocking to the swing, a favourite amusement on this occasion [Christmas], the youngest of the family get the first “shouder.”
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 73:
Wha by the neck hae gotten a showd, For't in a rape.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 201:
Shoudie, phoudie, pair o' new sheen — Up the Gallowgate, doun the Green.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 255:
Languor showdies greetin' Grief in Poortith's creakin' chair.
Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 115:
It [the gallows]'s only a heicher showd, my freen.
Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (18 Sept.) 8:
He gi'es them shouds an' salmon loups, they're a' as blythe as kittlins.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 64:
Shoudie, shoudie, on mammy's knee.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
A ken be the shoud o' 'im.

2. A child's swing, swinging-rope (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rs., ne.Sc. 1970). Comb. showdy-towdy, id., a see-saw (Abd. 1904 E.D.D.), also showdie-powdie (Abd. 1970). See 1851 quot. above.

3. A ride in a cart or barrow, a short pleasure jaunt (Rs., Inv. 1970).Inv. 1904 E.D.D.:
A child calls a showd to be wheeled a short distance in a barrow, or asks a farmer to take him a ‘showd' in his cart.

4. In dim. form: a soft, insecure or unsteady place in a bog.Abd. 1891 G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 227:
In many places (termed swyles or showdies) the great depths of the morass were covered by an elastic scum, on which it was possible to walk.

III. adv. With a rocking, swaying motion, with a waddling gait (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 149).Kcd. 1934 L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 221:
They came into Auchinblae, clatter and showd.

[Immediate orig. uncertain but phs. cogn. with M.L.Ger. schudden, to shake, wag. The phonology is unclear but there may have been influence from showg, Shog. Gael. siùd, to swing, rock, appears to be from Sc. O.Sc. has schewd, to swing, 1599.]

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"Showd v., n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2023 <>



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