Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

OWER, prep., adv., adj., v., n. Also owr(e), oer, oor, ou(e)r, oure; oo'r. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. over. [′ʌu(ə)r, ɔur; also, esp. in combs.: or, ur]

I. prep. 1. As in Eng., in various contexts.Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 83:
A various Rain-bow colourt Plaid Owre his left Spaul he threw.
Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 12:
The haf his beard hung owr his chin.
Ayr. 1784 Burns My Nanie, O ii.:
But I'll get my plaid an' out I'll steal, An' owre the hill to Nanie, O.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xlv.:
There's been warrants out to tak him as soon as he comes ower the water frae Allonby.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
The se'en starns hed gaen oure the lum.
Fif. 1864 St. Andrews Gazette (19 Nov.):
I'll no say that afore I sleep owre't.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (9 April):
Risen' an' cumblin' da lid o' a pail ower da bowl.
Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 3:
A thin blue mist hings owre the howe.
Rnf. 1926 G. Blake Young Malcolm 21:
Jock climbed into bed beside him, with . . . “over the bed with you!”
m.Sc. 1986 William Montgomerie in Joy Hendry Chapman 46 10:
There's the heidmaister
frae his big schule ower the road
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Dae ye ken whit a guid hing is?
Weel, ye fling open yer windae,
Plant yer elbows ower the ledge
An hae a guid gowp oot.
Ayr. 1999:
A'll awa ower the road

2. Beyond the control or capabilities of, too much for (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1964).Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton 53:
The wark's fairley ower ma.
Abd. 1924 Trans. Bch. Club XIII. 29:
If the horse is ower you he's nae ower me at onyrate.

3. In reference to a door, window, bed, platform or similar elevation: (down) from, out of, out at (Sc. 1752 D. Hume Scotticisms 6, 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 16). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1700 W. Fraser Annandale Family Bk. (1894) II. 209:
Throuing tuelf glasses over the windou.
Sc. 1727 Caled. Mercury (14 Aug.):
Last Saturday The Proclamation for dissolving the Parliament, &c. was read over the Cross.
Sc. 1755 Session Papers, Primrose v. Primrose (24 Nov.) 20:
I cannot get over the Bed to do it, but put you it in the Fire.
Ayr. 1757 Session Papers, State of Process Fullarton v. Arbuckle (11 Feb.) 28:
God let me never go over the Door if I got a Farthing.
Dmf. 1832 Carlyle Early Life (Froude 1896) II. 255:
He came over the bedside, and offered up a prayer to Heaven.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption xxii.:
Don't steer owre the door the day yoursel'.
Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 59:
Mary gi'es a cough, an' looks owre the window.
Edb. 1960 Daily Express (12 Sept.):
The popular Auld Reekie custom of “hingan owre the windae.”

4. As a result of, owing to, through. Rare.Ags. 1892 A. Reid Howetoon 139:
Lat his harrans rin to seed owre pure laziness.

5. Phrs.: (1) ower a', all over, everywhere (Ags. 1964). See A'; (2) ower and abune, over and above, as well; (3) over body, headlong, bodily, over on itself; (4) ower-bog(g)ie, (i) of a marriage: irregular, clandestine, runaway, from the song “I will awa' wi my love, I'll o'er Bogie wi' her” (see Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1724) 65), appar. from the river Bogie in Aberdeenshire; (ii) over and over, in confusion, pell-mell, phs. really a corruption of (3); (5) ower-grund, on the surface of the earth, above ground; (6) ower ocht, exceedingly (Gall. 1903 E.D.D.). See Ocht; (7) ower oneself, above oneself, transported with pleasure or self-importance (Abd., Ags. 1964); (8) ower one's thoom, in phrs. to get a heezy ower one's thum, to get a tumble through being drunk; to look ower one's thoom, to look up to take breath in the middle of a drink; (9) o'er power, as hard as possible, with might and main; (10) ower shoon ower boots, complete involvement in a business, the whole hog; (11) ower somebodie's heid, at the expense of someone, in spite of someone, without consulting the wishes, rights or interests of someone (Ork., ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr., Kcb. 1964); (12) over the back, ower the back, completely (Bnff., Ags., Fif., Edb., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf. 2000s). See Back, n.1, 5.; (13) ower the door, see Door, n.1, 3. (2); (14) ower-the-Fell man, one who comes from the other side of the Fells in the Cheviots and so from over the Border, an Englishman; (15) ower the heid(s) o', see Heid, I. 14. (4); (16) ower the maitter, — mark, — score, beyond the limit, excessive, outrageous. See Maitter n. 2, Mark n. and Score n.1 4 Phr.; (17) ower the stick, in a state of intoxication, tipsy (Kcb.4 1900, Kcb. 1964); (18) ower the tale, — tow, = (16). See Tale, Tow; (19) ower the water, see Water; (20) ow(e)rum [-(h)im, -(th)em], adv., turning over and over, or inwards alternately, encroaching from either side successively; also used as adj. and n. (in a state of) muddle, confusion (Rxb. 1964).(1) Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 97:
Ye tickle his pride, an' it's no ill to dae, For that's human naitur' ower a'.
(2) Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 221:
It's champion tae think on't, and it'll square off Moff's tail ower-and-abin.
(3) Gall. 1700 Session Bk. Minnigaff (1939) 33:
Upon Wadensday night last bypast her son John . . . did beat my good daughter and threw her over body most unchristianly to her great hurt.
(4) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 369:
People are said to be married in an owre boggie manner, or to have an owre boggie wedding when they do not go through the regular forms prescribed by the national kirk. . . . There was an ancient song, I believe, of the name of the Owre Boggie, burned at Edinburgh in the turbulent years.
Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 33, 120:
Let street on street owre-bogie breenge an brustle, Glasgow for me, — I glory in a bustle . . . Owre bogie, on the floor they row'd.
(5) Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken (1887) 49:
Gin the earth swallied a' body 'at spak unadveesedly . . . there's no mony wad be left stan'in' ower grund.
Uls. 1964:
The night before a funeral the deceased is “ower ground and under buird”.
(6) Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 27:
“Isn't that whaur they catch the rid herrins?” sez I. “Whaur?” sez he. “I'm tell't,” sez I, “that they a' cum frae the Rid Sea.” He lauched ower ocht.
(8) Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 10:
To see ilk' fleggin' witless coof Get owre his thum' a heezy.
Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie and Madge 69:
I could drink it up, and never look owre my thoom.
(9) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 33:
An' ran o'er pow'r, an' ere I bridle drew, O'erran a' bounds that e'er afore I know.
(10) Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxvi.:
I hae taen sae muckle concern wi' your affairs already, that it maun een be ower shoon ower boots wi' me now.
(11) Slg. 1792 G. Galloway Poems 51:
Wha cheats our honest lairds, Or tak' our houses o'er our heads.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
Aweel he wan the popinjay, for few cared to win it ower his Grace's head.
Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 90:
A black crime indeed To tak a neibour's mailin owre his heid.
Gall. 1891 R. Kerr Maggie o' the Moss 30:
They'd threaten'd to tak' the auld hoose owre oor heid.
(12) Gsw. 1962 Bill McGhee Cut and Run 56:
...for, although Maggie had a good reputation for keeping her mouth shut, there was no sense in taking unnecessary risks. You never knew what would happen when a seldom-sober heard too much, and that was Maggie over the back.
Per.4 1964:
He's his faither ower the back, i.e. resembles his father in every way. That's him ower the back, i.e. typical of him.
wm.Sc. 1975 William McIlvanney Docherty (1985) 236:
'Goad aye. Ye're just yer feyther ower the back. Ye couldny lift wan an' lay the ither.'
Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 4:
back The phrase all over the back is used when referring to something that is typical of a particular person: 'Wouldny gie ye the len ae a quid fur yer bus? Aye, that's him aw ower the back.' Also used by a person detecting a physical resemblance between two relatives; 'You're your auld boy aw ower the back.'
m.Lth. 1991:
...that's you ower the back - as suin as ye get the chance you an yer man are away tae the pub...
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 12:
Aye, wan ae thae days...That's you ower the back, sonny boy! Niver see tae things noo, though, eh? Naw, always a wee while...or mebbe the morra...or nixt week even eh?...In other words, nivir!
Gsw. 1995 Chris Dolan Poor Angels 101:
Och in the name of the wee society man! Why can't she just say, Becoming a Lady? That's Farah all over the back. No decorum.
(14) Rxb. 1827 R. Chambers Picture Scot. I. 21:
And that the Teviotdale people look upon them as the reverse of aliens, is evident from their circumlocutory phrase for an Englishman — “an ower-the-Fell man,” implying that they do not consider him as coming from a different country, but only the other side of a neighbouring range of hills.
(20) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 369:
When a bandwun o' shearers meet with a flat of growing grain, not portioned out to them by riggs, the shearing of this is termed an owrim and owrim shear.
Dmf.2 1917:
The hoose is in a fair owerum strushie.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 16:
Hei's baith bowdy-leggeet an hen-taed; it's a wunder ei dizna trip eis-sul, puir sowl, waakin' owrum and owrum.

II. adv. 1. As in Eng. Deriv. ¶o'erlins, over. See -Lins.Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 188:
Ane wi' his nibbie cleeks a lass, An' makes her o'erlins tum'le.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 45:
The 'Big Fella' (fortaivert nou)
hauds her in's airms jist lang eneuch,
syne gies her owre tae the Ambulance-men,
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 54:
Whiles we'd stop on the wye owre
and look up at the acres o starns
in the bricht silent alaneness o that 'oor

2. Of time: well on, late, far advanced (Sh., ne.Sc. 1964).Abd. c.1770 Garland of Bon-Accord (1886) 30:
It's gailie ower, 'tween aucht and nine.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 205:
It was gey late owre i' the evenin'.
Abd. 1962:
It was weel ower in the day afore they cam.

3. Off to sleep (Uls. 1908 Traynor (1953)). Gen.Sc.Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 98:
For whan I've toom'd the muckle cap, An' fain wud fa' owr in a nap.
Fif. 1866 St. Andrews Gazette (20 Jan.):
A carter . . . after turning his horse homeward lay down in his cart, and was soon over asleep.
Sc. 1876 S. R. Whitehead Daft Davie (1894) 133:
I'm such an awful sound sleeper . . . that when once I'm ower, I ken nothing about what I'm lying on.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters xxvi.:
“He's won owre,” she murmured thankfully.
Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (16 Jan.):
A baby going to sleep is spoken of as “just over.”
Ags. 1945 Scots Mag. (April) 39:
Och, juist a hameowre wee sang I made for Angus. It pits him owre to sleep.

4. With adjs. and advs.: too, overmuch, excessively (Sc. 1818 Sawers). Gen.Sc.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 273:
O'er narrow counting Culzies no Kindness.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 68:
While glakit fools, o'er rife o' cash, Pamper their weyms wi' fousom trash.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 140–1:
Still it's owre true that ye hae said.
Ags. 1826 A. Balfour Highland Mary II. 155:
Your hairt's oo'r sair moved the night.
Sc. 1859 C. S. Graham Mystifications 55:
Sir Walter addressed her in these words; “Awa! awa! the deil's ower great wi' you.”
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle iv.:
You might be coming round to me at last with your ower-ready pistol.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Jooly 19):
Da boaniest pictur can look clurty, if ye staand ower close.
Dmf. 1920 J. L. Waugh Heroes 5:
The day is aye ouer short for me.
Fif. 1931 Glasgow Herald (8 Aug.):
He had stapt an owre het tattie intil his mooth.
s.Sc. 1934 Border Mag. (Dec.) 181:
Ye're faer ower braw a ledy For a humble man lik' me.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ii.:
'E wadder's ower coorse i' the meantime.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alexander Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 70:
Gey late, owre late,
the rebel makar
has won his hametoun's
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 32:
"No, no lad. You're ower young. It's as much as you'll can dae to keep that family of yours as 'tis. Bide a year or twa till your brithers can help you and then ask me again."
m.Sc. 1991 Tom Scott in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 41:
Owre forfochen, daurs me to be uprisan,
m.Sc. 1991 William Montgomerie in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 18:
The spring rain rots ma hert
an I am cauld cauld
An autumn bud is faur ower late
m.Sc. 1997 Tom Watson Dark Whistle 54:
Ahint his een
Glowers great stramash, oor sair
Forfochten warld.

5. Very, quite, rather (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.). Phrs. ower muckle, plenty; ower weel, in very good health (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (21 April); Sh., Ork., Cai., Uls. 1964); in tolerably good health (Sh., Ork., Bnff. 2000s). [′ʌuərwɪl]Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 34:
What wi' his simmer's winnin', an' da mares 'at dey sauld, dey wir ower weel aff.
Sh. 1916 T. Manson Peat Comm. 159:
“Weel, Mrs. Maikomson, an hoo ir you” said the P.M. “I'm ower weel” she said.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 63:
He'll be a peerie while yet afore he's flowan watter, so I hae ower muckle time.

6. Used with preps., to indicate position or direction, as ower abune, -abeen, over there above (ne.Sc. 1964); ower anenst, over against, facing, opposite to (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh. 1964); ower ayont, away beyond. See Ayont; owerfornen(s)t, over against, in front of, facing (Sh., Uls. 1964).s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell St. Matthew xxi. 2:
Gang intill the clauchan ower-fornent yow, an' strauchtwaye ye sall fin' ane ass tiet, an' ane cowt wi' her.
Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 3:
The squeel stood ower ayont the burn.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 156:
Come this way Willie, we keep ower abune the Cannee.
Abd. 1922 P. MacGillivray Bog Myrtle 47:
The blue o' heaven shines clearer here Nor owre abüne yon Paris.

Also forming the second element in such combs., as Hameower, Inower, Outower, q.v., north-ower, in a northerly direction, northwards (Sh. 1964). Cf. Norw. -yver, sim. used.Sh. 1956 New Shetlander No. 43. 22:
The man lunnks north-ower to the house.

III. adj. 1. Upper, higher. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Freq. in place-names in form Over- of the upper or higher of two farms of the same name as Overhill, Overtoun. Cf. Nether. Also in Eng. dial. Superl. overest (Sc. 1880 Jam.), owermaist (see Owermaist adj.). [more commonly ′ovər, ‡′ɪver, than ′ʌuer]Edb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale (1815) 171:
An herd's house called Blair-Bog; and then Romanno Grange, over and nether.
Sc. 1724 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 33:
It has a fountain on the very summit without any current from it on the oure side.
Cld. 1743 Caled. Mercury (10 Jan.):
The Over-Ward of the Shire of Clydesdale.
Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 586:
The garden ground of this monastery seems to have been immediately around the building, as is still indicated by the name, viz. the orchard and over-yards.

2. Going across or over, transverse (Bnff., Wgt. 1964).Slg. 1964:
Ropes about an inch in diameter called ower ropes were used for round [corn-] stacks; these went perpendicularly over the stacks.

IV. v. 1. To master, control, subdue; to overawe, cow (Lth. 1825 Jam.). (1) gen. in, construed as a sing., ow(e)rance [ < -ins], ourance, overance, -ins, control, command, oversight, supervision, mastery, superiority (Lth., s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1964). Also in n.Eng. and Ir. dial. For the forms, assimilated to nouns in -ance, cf. Outance, Wittance.Sc. 1812 The Scotchman No. 6. 53:
How comes't that we reckon we hae a richt to the owrance o' onie ither thing that belangs to him.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
“If it's flesh and blude,” thinks I, “or it get the owrance o' auld Wat Laidlaw, od it sal get strength o' arm for aince.”
Sc. 1819 J. Rennie St. Patrick II. xiii.:
That butler body . . . hasna as muckle owrance o' himsel' as win up on the feet o' him.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 56:
Mirth got owerance o' ilk bird.
Gall. 1896 A. J. Armstrong Kirkiebrae 234:
There's nae doot ye hae need o' some sensible body to keep an owerance o' your duds.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 16:
Juidin hes landed eis-sul in a guid job; hei hes the owrance o the hyill wareroom.

(2) With refl.: to be able to do what is necessary for oneself without help, to cope with a situation, to bestir oneself.Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 493:
He always said — “he could not help it,” which was true, for he could not “owre himsell”, as is said when man wants self-control.
Dmf. 1825 Jam.:
I wiss I may be able to owr mysell in the business.
Sc. 1840 G. Webster Ingliston xxx.:
A puir widow woman that canna ower hersel.
Lnk. 1920:
He wadna ower himsel for onybody, i.e. disturb, put himself about.

2. To get over, recover from (Ork. 1964).Slg. 1825 Jam.:
He never over'd the loss of that bairn.

3. To remain over, to exceed, to form a surplus. Only in vbl.n. owrin, overin, an odd or extra job (Lnk. 1825 Jam.); gen. in pl., odds and ends, remnants (Lnk. 1880 Jam.), “doings”, trivial activities (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein), “wage-money over and above one's usual earnings” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); ppl.adj. overin, made from left-overs, of a cake (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928). an overin brøni).

V. n. Anything which is overmuch, want of moderation, an excess, extreme. Only proverbial.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis s.v. Our:
A owres spills . . . i.e. omne nimium vertitur in vitium.
Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 12:
A o'ers are ill, except o'er the water and o'er the hill.

[O.Sc. our, over, too, from 1375, refl. to get over, 1456, an excess, a.1584, O.E. ofer. The adj. use is orig. from O.E. uferra, upper, compar. of ufan, above, which merged with over in Mid.Eng.]

Ower prep., adv., adj., v., n.

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

"Ower prep., adv., adj., v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: