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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAUSEWAY, n. 1. In combs.: †(1) causeway-custom, in burghs, a term applied to certain town imposts; (2) causeway-grass, “the meadow grass, Poa annua” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); †(3) causeway mail = (1).(1) Ayr. 1775 Morison Decisions Court of Session III. 1972:
The table (of duties exacted by the town of Ayr) was distinguished into two heads, of bridge-custom and causeway-custom; the former being the duty exacted upon goods carried northwards, the latter upon goods carried southwards.
(2) Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany Eastern Borders 215:
About Dunse it is called causeway-grass for a very obvious reason — its frequency in unfrequented streets.
(3) Fif. 1781 Morison Decisions Court of Session III. 1997:
The magistrates of St Andrews had imposed, under the denomination of a causeway mail . . . a penny on each cart load of dung sold to strangers from any inhabitant of the town.

2. Phr. to put to the causeway, to put to the street, to bring to ruin and destitution. Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xx.: 
Before my misfortunes I had twa or three bonny bits of mailings forby the shop. But Plainstanes has put me to the causeway now.

[O.Sc. has calsay custom, 1691, and causey maill, 1689 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Causeway n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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