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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.

GOO, n.1, v.1. Also gou, gow, †gue, †guu. [Sc. gu:, but s.Sc. gʌu]

I. n. 1. A strong, persistent taste, freq. one of a disagreeable nature (Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 690, gue, gou); Gen. (exc. I.)Sc.; an offensive smell (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 234; Sh. 1900 E.D.D.; Abd. 1921 W. Walker W.-L.; Cai., Ags., Fif., m.Lth., Kcb. 1954). Occas. = a relish, appetiser. Also in Nhb. dial.Sc. 1748 Caled. Mercury (Jan.) 4:
Aquavitæ at 18 and at 20d. free of the Guu, and fit for Punch.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' x.:
Gude scouder'd bannocks has nae gou' To husbandmen.
Sc. 1834 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1856) IV. 92:
But noo our pallets, if they dinna require coaxin, deserve a goo.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 276:
O minny Eve, minny Eve, I wish you had lain still in your goodman's bosom that morning when ye slippit away to steal apples! For, O you hae left us a deadly goo o' the meal!
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 343:
I can eat skate wi' ony strength o' a goo . . . but reed-rotten birds — the smell o' them wad gie a hoodie-craw the jaundice.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 181:
An' wi' a hash o' leemon peel, And ice an' siccan filth, they ettle The stawsome kind o' goo to settle.
Kcb. 1898 A. J. Armstrong Levellers 87:
I shouthered the keggie, an' took the road an' here I'm noo to sook the sweets o' the warlin's greed, an' tak' the guid o' the gou'.
Abd. 1914 A. McS. The Bishop 6:
I hid hardly ta'en ae cuppie o' 't, fin I couldna stan' the gou o' 't, an' I reetcht an' spued by or'nar'.
Dmf. 1915 J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 193:
No one can approach her in the lightness and pan-flavour of her toothsome pancakes, the “gou” of her butter, and the aroma of her home-blended tea.
Lnk. 1951 Sunday Times (27 May):
Old people in the district still talk of the “goo” of a Clyde apple.

Hence gouey, tasty, having a distinct flavour (Fif., Dmf. 1954).Dmf. 1917 J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 85:
Often did I bless her name when I was unrolling fresh ‘gouey' butter from between green cabbage-leaves.

2. Fig. Liking, relish, taste; gusto. Sometimes followed by o' = for.e.Lth. 1713 Country-Man's Rudiments Pref.:
I have no Gow for Affricks choicest Fowl The Arran Black-Cock I love with my soul.
Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 287:
Or else ye wi' intention jeer My vain an' spen'thrift gows a'.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 221:
I dinna ken what spring the fairy played, but this I ken weel, that Wullie had nae great goo o' his performance.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 281:
Auld Cockenny was ane of his favourites, and he aften quoted him to my grandfaither wi' a great goo.
Sc. 1893 Stevenson Catriona xvi.:
The truth is I have nae goo for Neil.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xii.:
I had nae great goo o' discussin public questions wi' her at ony time.
Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man xii.:
The young men of the Craufords would have nothing to say to him, having, as I suspect, no goo for a Minister meddling in the bickerings of men.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 49:
It's droll to think hoo few Can e'er resist A kin' o' goo At bein' missed.

II. v. 1. To relish, savour. Rare.Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Poems 17:
He sits, . . . And slorps het tea, and goos the tasty bits.

2. To acquire a strong or distinctive flavour or aroma. Ppl.adj. gooed.Ags. 1954:
Sun-dried skate gave off an ammoniacal smell and was then said to be “gooed”.

[Fr. goût, taste, flavour.]

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"Goo n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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