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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HOW, n.1, v.1 Also howe, hou (Sc. 1725 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 301); hew (Kcd. 1722 Elphinstone Bk. (Fraser 1897) II. 277; Abd. 1845 Scottish Farmer (Aug.) 251); hyow(e), hyou, heow (Cai., ne.Sc.); hyew; hough (Sc. 1727 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 1). Sc. forms of Eng. hoe. [Sc. hʌu; but Cai., ne.Sc. + çjʌu]

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng., an agricultural or gardening tool (Sc. 1724 W. Mackintosh Fallowing 27; wm.Sc. 1833 Alma Mater 109; Ags. 1914 I. Bell Country Clash 67; Bnff. 1918 M. Symon Wir Roup 1). Gen.Sc. Combs. broom-, whin-how, a type of hoe used to uproot broom or whins (Ags. 1729 Carmyllie Session Rec. MS. (29 June), broom-; Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 11, whin-; Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. 141; Arg.1 1937). Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 2:
... Attie, wi his breeks roon his queats, an Belle reid-chikked an hubberin. Davie Littlejohn near stabbit the twa o them wi a hyew, amang the strae in his laft a month syne.

2. The task of hoeing. Phr. to come tae the hyow, of root crops: to be ready for hoeing (Cai., ne.Sc. 1957).Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 100:
Shaavin' haill fiedles owre again. Ye've gotten the hyow begun.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 33:
Syne birze an' scraap an' birze again, Fan neeps come tae the hyow.

3. An implement shaped like a hoe used by coopers or masons.Sc. 1696 Darien Papers (B.C.) 35:
50 Coupers little Howes at 9d. p.s.
Ags. 1846 G. Macfarlane Rhymes 61:
The house-wright's hak an' mason's hew Are seldom heard.

II. v. As in Eng., to remove weeds or thin out plants with a hoe (Sc. 1725 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 301; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1811 J. Sim Poems 29; Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 42; Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 142; Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (28 Jan.) 3; Rs. 1944 C. M. Maclean Farewell to Tharrus 11); to uproot broom or whins (Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 329; Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 295). ¶Pa.t. hew (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.).

Hence hower, hewer (Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 16), one who hoes (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

[O.Sc. how, a hoe, 1375, O.Fr. houe, of Teut. orig.]

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



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