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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MARROW, n.1 Also marra (Kcb. 1910 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 408; Abd. 1914 J. Leatham Daavit 58); marrae; marrie (Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 177); murro (Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 321). Sc. forms and usage. [′mɑrə]

Sc. forms of Eng. marrow (of the bone etc.).Slk. 1985 Walter Elliot Clash-ma-clavers 19:
When wunds was nidder tae the marrae
An grouse ate haws, like ony sparrae.
Abd. 1991 David Ogston in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 117:
... simmer heat that birsled skin
An powkit doon intae the marra o ye.

Sc. usage:

An abbreviation of the title of Edward Fisher's book The Marrow of Modern Divinity, published in 1645 and republished with notes by Rev. James Hog in 1718. The doctrines contained in this work were condemned by the General Assembly in 1720 and a prolonged controversy ensued. Those who supported the Marrow point of view became known as the Marrow-folk, -men. Hence Marrow-Kirk, Kirk of the Marrow, used by Crockett, though actually no independent body arose from the Marrow. The same controversy in a somewhat different form led to the Secession of 1732. Hist.Sc. 1720 Acts Gen. Assembly II. 13:
That, when the Assembly cites the Marrow, from p.150, to p.153, to shew the erroneous Opinion of its Author, viz. That Holiness is not necessary to Salvation, They have hereby condemned, in cumulo, a Bundle of sweet and pleasant Gospel-Truths.
Sc. 1726 Letter from Parishioners of Cardross (Broadsheet):
A Letter from a Parishioner of Cardross concerning the Settlement of a Minister in the said Parish to prevent his being thought tinctur'd with the Principles of the Marrow, which are said to prevail in these Presbyteries . . . some of the Brethren, who are known Marrow-Men.
Sc. 1727 Six Saints (Fleming 1901) 66:
These worthy Ministers and Christians nick-named “Marrow-folk”.
Sc. 1839 J. McKerrow Hist. Secession Ch. I. 22:
Others among them, that they might be as far removed as possible from the obnoxious sentiments of the Marrow-men, became more decidedly, as well as more avowedly, arminian in their style of preaching.
Sc. 1861 R. Chambers Dom. Ann. III. 441:
The “Twelve Marrow Men” may be said to have formed the nucleus of the dissent which was a few years after matured under the name of the Secession.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xlii.:
There are nae ministers o' the Kirk o' the Marrow the noo; we're a body without a heid. I thocht that the Kirk was at an end, but the Lord has revealed to me that the Marrow Kirk canna end while the world lasts.

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"Marrow n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Feb 2024 <>



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