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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CA' THROUGH, —THRO(O) , —THROU', —THROW, v.phr. and n.phr.

1. v.phr.

(1) To display great energy in getting work done, to work away (Bnff.2, Abd., Ags. and Fif. correspondents, Lnk.3 1938).Sc. 1931 J. M. Bulloch in Times (30 Dec.):
May I suggest that we might honour the centenary of their author's [Scott's] death by introducing the fine phrase “Ca' through” . . . because it forms a counsel of perfection for the New Year?
Ayr. 1792 Burns Hey, ca' thro' (Cent. ed.) ll. 1–2:
Hey, ca' thro', ca' thro', For we hae mickle ado!

(2) To pull through (an illness). Known to Bnff.2, Ags.1, Fif.1 1938.Ags. 1893 Arbroath Herald (8 June) 2/4:
We got him hame a' richt, an' he'll mebbe ca' throo't.

2. n.phr.

(1) Drive, “push” (used of work). Known to Bnff.2, Abd. and Ags. correspondents, Fif.10 1938.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 23:
He's a servan' it hiz a ca-through we's wark.

(2) Disturbance (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.1, Fif.10 1938).Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary (1818) xxiv.:
There was siccan a ca'-thro', as the like was never seen.
Ags. 1934 R. C. Buist in Scots Mag. (Nov.) 142:
Wi' this an' that, they'd a gey ca' thro'.

(3) Of clothes: a slight or preliminary wash (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Ags.1, Lnl.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.9 1938).Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A gaed the colour't things a ca'-throw.

(4) A search (Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.10 1938).Bnff.2 1937:
I'll gie the press a ca' throu', bit I dinna think yir glesses are there.
Abd.2 1938:
“Man, Jimmie, ye sud tak' a wife; she wud be chaper than a hoosekeeper.” “Weel, gin a hed the hairst by, a'll yoke the shalt an' hae a ca'-throw.”

Ca' Through v. phr., n. phr.

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"Ca' Through v. phr., n. phr.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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