Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DOO, DOW, n. Sc. forms of Eng. dove (see P.L.D. §§ 70.1, 101). Also du (Jak.), †dew. [du: Sc., s.Sc. + dʌu]

1. Applied, as in Eng. dial., to any species of pigeon, but more esp. to the rock pigeon, Columba livia. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 141:
Loud coos the doo when the hawk's no whistling.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 96:
. . . still the glass she eyes, As self-delighted as a dew, An' makin' mou's the while.
Dundee 1991 W. N. Herbert in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 178:
an hoodie craws, an doos, an speugies,
an heckil-breistit thrushis,...
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 31:
She primmed up her mou' and said saft as a doo, “Hech, sirs, what a burden is man!”
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 91:
She sang in the house like a doo, like a linnet over the sunny field, like a whaup on the windy meadow.
Fif. 1894 (2nd ed.) D. S. Meldrum Story of Margrédel vii.:
Already her brother was leading the way to the stable. “Come and see my doos,” he cried.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 19:
Drookit miners at lowsin, whan hame fae the mine,
Suin stripp't aff thir pee-wee's, ti a scrub in the bine.
Syne gaed doun ti thir doo-cots, ti let oot the doos, ...
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 112:
The wild dows i' ilka green wood As sweetly are cooing their love.
wm.Sc. 1999 Herald 16 Oct 25:
For a Clydebank waif whose contact with the natural world among the sandstone canyons in the 1950s was restricted to scabby doos, scruffy cats, three-legged dugs, ...
Ayr. 1790 Burns Battle of Sherramuir (Cent. ed.) iii.:
They fled like frighted dows, man!
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 5:
Auld farnyear stories come athwart their minds, Of bum-bee bykes, pet pyats, doos and keaws.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (6 April) 4/1:
No one in the countryside knew more about “doos” than himself.
Slk. 1807 Hogg Mountain Bard 3:
The dow flew east, the dow flew west, The dow flew far ayont the fell.

2. (1) A dear one, a darling; applied as a term of affection to a sweetheart or child.  Gen.Sc. Also used of a child's doll (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 39). Sc. 1707 Queen Anne in Jacobite Minstrelsy (1829) 38:
You're right, Queen Anne, Queen Anne, You're right, Queen Anne, my dow.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality vi.:
Ye may marry ony leddy in the countryside ye like, . . . is not that worth waiting for, my dow?
Ork. 1908 J. T. S. Leask in Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 321:
Thu're the ae lass i' the wirld wha I like, thu're me peerie doo.
Abd. 1863 G. Macdonald D. Elginbrod i. i.:
Her father always called her “Maggy, my doo.”
Ags. 1916 V. Jacob Songs of Angus 33:
An' O! my broken he'rt was sair, I cried, “My ain! my doo!”
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 36:
He's mammie's pet, an' daddie's doo, An' a' the toun adore 'im.
Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 32:
But ne'er a ane o' them had gane Sae sune's her ain wee doo.
Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 53:
Hey laddie my dow, how's your mither honest Mary?
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Musings 36:
An' smooth the shinin' gowden pow O' daddie's bonnie doo.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 123:
O' cheese and bread John served now, Began to hirsle near his dow.

(2) pl. A woman or girl's breasts.Fif. 1988:
You're awful - always painting ladies showing their doos.
Edb. 1992:
Breasts were cried doos when I wis at school.

3. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) causey doo (see quot.); cf. causey-saint, id., s.v. Causey, n.; (2) cushie-doo, see Cushat; (3) doo-docken, dove-dock, the coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.; Cai.9 1949); also applied to the burdock, Arctium lappa (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.); (4) doo-flichter, -lander, -lichter, a tweed cap with a large peak (Fif.17 1950, -lichter; Gsw. 1925 (per Abd.27); doo-lichter Fif., Ayr.; doo-lander Ayr., Dmf. 2000s); (5) doo man, a pigeon fancier; (6) dow-meat, the rheum that gathers in one's eyes during sleep. Cf. Deuk, n., 4. (3); (7) doo's cle(c)kin, -sitting, a family of two, gen. a boy and girl (see second quot.); known to Bnff.2, Abd. and Ags. correspondents, Slg.3, Kcb. correspondents 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1948 (per Abd.27); (8) doo-wan, a willow-catkin; (9) not to care a doo's e'e, not to care a jot (Kcb.9, Kcb.10 1940); (10) a shot among the dows, a shot at random (Abd.9 1940; e.Lth. 1825 Jam.2); (11) to flee the (blue) doo, to send out a messenger surreptitiously to a public house for whisky (Bnff.12 1935; Abd.4 1929); cf. the story of the dove in the Ark, Blue, n., II. 3, and to rin the cutter s.v. Cutter, n.2; †(12) to shoot among the dows, to exaggerate, “draw the long bow” (Ags. 1825 Jam.2).(1) em.Sc. 1947 A. Fleming Common Day i. iv.:
Why Joanna Melville should be labelled a “causey doo,” — amiable as a dove in the street and the reverse at home — was not divulged, but the epithet stuck.
(3) Cai. 1812 J. Henderson Agric. Cai. 84:
The arable land was much infested with various weeds, as the thistle, the mugwort, dove-dock.
(4) Dundee 1987 Norman Lynn Row Laddie Sixty Years On 47:
If the funds stretched to it, perhaps a swanky 'doo-lichter'.
Gsw. 1985 Anna Blair Tea at Miss Cranston's 49:
My mother had a big felt hat wi' a bird and feather to it...very brother used to call it her doo-lander.
Gsw. 1985 Anna Blair Tea at Miss Cranston's 53:
My father was [a] workin' chap and I mind that on Saturdays and holidays he wore a big flat skippit bunnet...'doo-landers' they caalled them caps.
(5) m.Sc. 1991 Robert Alan Jamieson A Day at the Office 55:
Or maybe he should go and see the doo man. The old guy hadn't turned up this morning at the buroo. Maybe he was ill or something.
wm.Sc. 1988 Scotsman (Weekend) 11 Jun:
I got to know doo men and groo men (pigeon fanciers and greyhound owners) and sometimes I would be asked to lecture the racing-pigeon boys on hawks and falcons.
(6) Rxb. 1961:
Of someone who had overslept: - "Look at 'im rubbin the dow meat out o's een."
(7) Ags. 1885 Brechin Advertiser (3 March) 3/3:
His family consisted o' a doo's clekin — a laddie an' a lassie.
Fif. 1895 G. Bruce Land Birds 538:
When domesticated they [rock doves] have four broods in the year, always two at a time — male and female. Hence a boy and girl [i.e. twins] are called “a doo's cleckin'.”
Cai.9 1939:
Wir family is jist the doo's sittan.
(8) Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 56:
Where heath and snow-white doowans nod.
(9) Edb. 1926 A. Muir Blue Bonnet 222:
There you were unhappy all the time, and didn't “care a doo's e'e” anyhow.
wm.Sc. 1903 “S. Macplowter” Mrs McCraw 126:
It's you A'm wantin', an' no tae keep the place. A dinna care a doo's e'e fur't.
(11) Bnff.2 1935:
He vrocht in oor squad o' ma sons an wiz aye the een t' flee the blue doo.

4. In pl.: the testicles (Ags., Fif. 1960), prob. short for doo's eggs, as being in pairs.

[O.Sc. has dow, dou, etc., in senses 1 and 2, from a.1400.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Doo n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: