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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FAUCH, n., adj., v. Also fyach, fyauch, f(y)augh, †fawgh. [fǫ:x Sc., but fɑ:x sm.Sc., fjɑ:x n.Sc.]

I. n. 1. In the old infield and outfield system of farming, a part of the outfield ground which was tilled and left fallow alternately for four or five years at a time. Now only hist. In modern usage, unploughed ley ground (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., fach; Abd.6 1913), “land ploughed at Martinmas in preparation for a green crop next year” (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.). Hence phr. to brak faugh, to harrow such land (Ib.).Sc. 1737 Ramsay Proverbs (1750):
Farmers' Faugh gar Lairds laugh.
Ork. 1766 P. Fea MS. Diary (21 April):
Began to brake fawgh morning and evening with 4 Harrows in Cloan, the men melling thereon.
Sc. 1769 G. W. T. Omond Arniston Memoirs (1887) 195:
Rotation of crops, 1769–1778. Faughs and Turnips.
Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 171:
The faughs, or inferior arable land, received no manure at all, but were ploughed every four or five years, after lying as long in natural grass.
Edb. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 111:
But starts to see a field o' faugh On the left side.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 31:
On simmer faugh, in scorchin heat, Oft have I drudged in stove o' sweat.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He's plew'd the faugh.

2. The breaking up of fauch or other land by light ploughing, harrowing or both.Abd. c.1760 in Trans. Highl. & Agric. Soc. XIV. 81:
When the bear-seed is over, the oxen plough enters to the faugh and the horseman to the casting and leading muck-fail.
Ork. 1779 P. Fea MS. Diary (6 May):
Muckeing upon Inglea . . . and done with the fawgh thereof.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xi.:
A bit faugh across the rig i' the en' o' the year an' syne a gweed deep fur.
Abd.9 1943:
I gied the roch corner at the eyn o' the loan a gweed fyauch wi' a grubber tae begin wi'.

3. Fig.: “the tearing of one's character to pieces; from the rough work that the plough makes in ground that has been lying under grass” (Ags. 1808 Jam.).

II. adj. Fallow, not sowed, of ground growing only natural grass (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 218:
The Lothian Farmer he likes best To be of good faugh Riggs possest.
Abd. 1721 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 24:
Four fauch buts lyeing on the north side of the Burn of Pittfichie.

III. v. 1. To manage ground by fallowing; to plough or harrow fallow ground (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., fach; Sh.11, Cai.3, Abd.16 1949). Cf. coup-fyach, s.v. Coup, v.1 Now esp. used of the preparation of the ground for spring sowing (m.Lth.1, Bwk.2 1951).Sc. 1710 Fountainhall Decisions II. 597:
The method of labouring outfield there, was by often liming, dunging, faulding, and faughing, they took four or five crops, and let it rest as long.
Abd. 1735 J. Arbuthnot Buchan Farmers (1811) 50:
What we commonly call fauching, which is the ploughing down of a field, with design to rot the sward, and expose the bottom of the furrow to the impression of the weather.
Ork. 1766 P. Fea MS. Diary (10 March):
Done . . . with the Ott land . . . and fauched a part thereof.
Edb. 1772 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 7:
Ye saw yoursell how weel his mailin thrave, Ay better faugh'd an' snodit than the lave.
Gall. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 80:
I brawlie can faugh yere weel-plowed lea.
Abd. 1872 J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 148:
An auld fashioned plue that the man had been fauchan wi'.

2. By extension: (a) to scratch, claw, rub (Bnff., Abd. 1951); to scrub hard; (b) to work with speed (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44, with up); to toil, esp. with little result (Abd.15 1950); (c) to scrounge. Only in vbl.n. fyachen, something got by scrounging, as food (Bnff. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.), petty gain (Abd. 1921 W. Walker MS. W.-L.); †(d) to beat (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 44).(a) Abd. 1923 H. Beaton Benachie 172:
I'll pit a wisp aneath her heid an' gie her a gweed fachin o' a rub.
Abd.1 1929:
Fyauch up the kitchie tables, mak' them as fite's the snaw.
Abd.27 1951:
The soo was fyauchin itsel on the gate-post.
(b) Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 74:
We hae jist been fyachin' awa' in the auld fashion.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 207:
A body mann fach as they're forn.
(d) Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.:
He faugh'd him well, he beat him soundly.

[O.Sc. faulch, n. (1325), fauch, v. (1529), adj., id. (1570), O.E. f(e)alh, ploughed land, fallow land. The oblique cases have given Eng. fallow.]

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"Fauch n., adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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