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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BOW, v.3 See also Boo, v.2 [bʌu Sc., but s.Sc. + bɔu, see P.L.D. §§ 101, 106]

1. To assume a bent or crooked shape (Sh., Ork., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Gsw., Ayr. 2000s). Also fig. Given in N.E.D. as obs. except dial. Gen.Sc.Bnff. 1719 Annals Bnff. (ed. Cramond 1891) I. 191:
Dean of Guild is ordered to make one of strong tymber that will not bend nor bow.
ne.Sc. 1719 Alistair and Henrietta Tayler Jacobites of Aberdeenshire and Banffshire in the Forty-Five (1928) 210:
Before he opened the door, the Bolt of the Lock was bowed.
Per. c.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (ed. Rogers 1905) 174:
His legs they are bow'd.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xviii.:
Duncan was not so bowed in the intellect as ye imagine.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween iv.:
An' pow't, for want o' better shift, A runt was like a sow-tail, Sae bow't that night.

ppl.adj. bow'd, bowed, bowt, bowyt, crooked, bent.Sc. 1887 Jam.6, s.v. bowyt:
A bowt saxpence.
Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sk. from Nature 140:
Yon auld bowed pair o' rusty tangs.
central Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Bow'd. Having bandy legs.

2. “To turn down (the eyelid), hence, to close (the eye)” (Abd.9, Slg.3, Arg.1, Ayr.8 1935).Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 238–239:
And aften hae I risen without ever having bowed an ee.
wm.Sc. 1835 Laird of Logan I. 136:
I'm sure he hasna bowed an e'e this twa nights wi't.

3. Combs.: (1) bowbackit, bow't backet, bent in the back; cf. Boo, v.2, 4 (1); (2) bowd-leggit, having bandy legs; (3) bow-hocht, -hough'd, bow-hyoched, “bent in the legs” (Mry.1 1925), “bandy-legged” (Bnff.7 1925; Ags.1, Fif.10 1935); (4) bow-ribbit, bent or curved in the ribs or spars.(1) Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 416:
Ye'll ne'er grow bowbackit bearing your friends.
Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems and Lyrics 112; Bnff.2 1935:
I think ye're cracket fairly, To say that ye would marry Bob, A puir bow't backet carlie.
(2) Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) viii.:
He's a snod bit stockie — a little beld, an' bowd-leggit, an' wants a thoom.
(3) Bch.(D) 1930 P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 105:
Ye'll be mair concern't i' the noo' 'at the deems 'ull think ye bow-hocht.
Abd. 1832–1846 P. Buchan in Whistle-Binkie (2nd Series 1842) 16:
She was bow-hough'd and humph-back'd, twined like a stair.
Abd. 1981 Jack Webster A Grain of Truth (1988) 48:
...or some lurid tale of 'yon bow-hyoched buggerick with the hubber an' the piner stirkies'. He could never remember the names but the description soon refreshed the listener's memory.
Ayr. 1792 Burns Willie Wastle (Cent. ed.) iii.:
She's bow-hough'd, she's hem-shin'd, Ae limpin leg a hand-breed shorter.
(4) Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xxxii.; Abd.2 1935:
It's [an auld umbrella] auld an' casten an' bow-ribbit, it's true.

[O.Sc. bow, bowe, bouw, bou, (1) to bend or curve, etc.; (2) to cause to bend or curve; Mid.Eng. bow (e), bou (e), etc., early bouȝe (n), buȝe (n), O.E. būgan (D.O.S.T.). The mod. bow forms are prob. due to ablaut variant bog- of būgan, to bend, or to the influence of Bow, n.4]

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"Bow v.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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