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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

COWL, n. Sc. usages. For Sc. forms see Cool, n. [kul]

1. A close-fitting cap, gen. of woollen material; a night-cap.Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. xv.:
On his head, when in the sort of undress that served for every-day home use, he wore a worsted nightcap, or Kilmarnock cowl.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 58:
Cap and cowls, and bannets blue.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) viii.:
I threw my cowl into a corner.
Lnk. 1883 W. Thomson Leddy May 113:
His croon wis nocht but a cotton cowl.

2. One who wears such a cap: applied to an Ayrshire covenanter. Cf. Kilmarnock, n., 2.Sc. 1830 Scott Bonny Dundee in Doom of Devorgoil, Act II. Sc. ii.:
These cowls of Kilmarnock had spits and had spears, And lang hafted gullies to kill Cavaliers.

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"Cowl n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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