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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

POUCH, n., v. Also pootch, poutch, ¶puch. Dim. poochie, pouchie. Sc. forms and usages. [putʃ]

I. n. 1. A pocket in a garment (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 19). Gen.Sc. Hence pouchfu, pouchle (Ags.), a pocketful. Also attrib. in combs. pouch-flap, -lid, a pocket-flap, poutch-pistol, a pocket pistol, pouch-room, pocket-space.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 23:
Cleek a' ye can be Hook or Crook, Ryp ilky Poutch frae Nook to Nook.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. iii. iv.:
He buys some Books . . . And carries ay a Poutchfu' to the Hill.
Ayr. 1789 Burns Second Ep. to Davie vi.:
Just the pouchie put the nieve in.
Ags. 1794 W. Anderson Piper of Peebles 15:
The short poutch-pistol that had shot Him dead, out-by a bit they got.
Per. 1805 Session Papers, Scott v. Carmichael (1 Oct.) Proof 42:
He had them [letters] in his pouch.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie ii.:
A carle that daunered about the doors wi' his hands in his pouches, and took them out at meal-time.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 263:
Waistcoats with pouch-flaps side on the thee.
ne.Sc. 1888 D. Grant Keckleton 8:
She [a watch]'s keepit time for me for the best pairt o' sixty years . . . I think ye'll find her weel worth pouch-room for some years yet.
Sh. 1896 J. Burgess Lowra Biglan 56:
Kirstie had him upo da but-room fluir and wis huntin troo his pooches.
Abd. 1913 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 43:
There is nae paddin sae usefu as the kind that sets oot the pooch-lids.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A was vext A hedna socht a piece i ma pootch for ti mootle i the road.
Ork. 1929 Peace's Almanac 138:
I keep da bit o' breek here i' me pooch tae dicht my specs.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 69:
Cley Cuttie said: I'm wi ye there ...
fir want o reek he'd cut his thrapple,
but brunt ma heid wi's lack o care
an in his pooch he brak ma stapple.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 78:
wi a bulge in's
chouks like a haimster's baggit wi seed
but fu in his case o yon sweets,
twa or three at a time, clickin like
boolies in a pooch as they joogelt.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 9:
Davie's pooch sterted tae wummle, as the Steeler lowpit up an doon wi excitement.

2. The pocket as containing one's money or cash, one's purse or finances. Gen.Sc. Combs. pouch-penny, pocket-money;pouch-strings, purse-strings.Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 3:
Wi' a toom pouch an' plenishin' but mean.
Rnf. 1827 W. Taylor Poems 76:
Yer pouch did pay for a'.
Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 132:
Frae her pouch a crown she houkit.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie i.:
Glaiket lasses, wha will tug at my pouch-strings, and wheedle me.
Abd.13 1910:
Near deed never helpit the Kirkyard nor yet the bellman's pooch.
Gsw. 1913 J. J. Bell Courtin' Christina i.:
It's terrible to see the number o' young folk that winna walk if they've a bawbee in their pooch.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 21:
For gin we'd siller in oor pooch, we wisna feart tae spen'.
ne.Sc. 1966:
Your hinmaist gounie has nae pouches — i.e. you can't take your money with you when you die. Tae brak wi a full pouch — to go bankrupt after secretly retaining enough resources to start up in business again.
Fif. 1967 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 417:
Up till then, I had earned my Saturday "pooch-penny" by delivering boots and shoes from the local soutar.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 177:
'Nae fare, nae ferry,' insisted the ferryman. 'Come man, fine ye ken my word on my money's good. The King's mother hersel' waits for me at the Castle.' 'More fool you to come wi'oot your pooch. Were you the Queen hersel' I wouldna carry you,' ...
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 36:
A gambler o fame, McGrew wis his name,
- thir then wis this lady caa'd Lou,
wha cradle't his frame but, bein a dame,
saw rypin his pooches her due.

Special combs., phrs. and deriv.: (1) Benachie pooches, the front pockets in the trousers of a farm servant (Abd.30 1966); (2) dorty pouches, the sulks (Per. 1966). See Dorty; (3) granny pooch, a detachable pocket worn by women in the form of a little bag tied round the waist with tape; (4) half-past my pouch, an evasive answer to the question “What's the time?” (Fif. 1910); (5) leather pouch, jocularly, the stomach; (6) pouchless, adj., pocketless, fig., having no money, poverty stricken; (7) to be a' erse an pooches, of a stout man or boy: to have a big seat, to be broad in the beam (Abd. 1966). See Erse; (8) to hae (a person) in one's pooch, to have (someone) under one's surveillance or control; (9) to keep one's pooch, see Keep, I. B. 5. (13); (10) to lauch like a pooch (on pey-day), of persons: to laugh heartily, to wear a broad grin resembling the gape of a pocket stuffed with money.(3) Ork. 1959:
The granny pooch with which I was very familiar was tied round the waist “wi trappeen” (tape). As I remember, it was worn under the apron and sometimes under a thin cotton or print skirt.
(5) Ags. 1966:
Pit that in your leather pouch, = eat it.
(6) Mry. 1804 R. Couper Poetry II. 105:
Pouchless youth, pensive and blae, Press'd up life's weary, hopeless brae.
(8) Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 16:
I hidna Jimmie aye in ma pooch, bit gin he wis the rascal, I'se —.
(10) Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 103:
On Thursday, forenicht, he comes in, efter he'd gotten Donald stabled, lauchin' like a pooch.
Ags. 1948 J. C. Rodger Mary Ann 4:
So here she wiz, lauchin' like a pooch on pey-dey.

3. A pocket-like hollow made with a flap of loose skin when preparing a piece of meat for stuffing.Sc. 1826 M. Dods Manual ii. 31:
In roasting the hind quarter the flap of the loin may be stuffed, using the superfluous fat for the forcemeat. This is an old Scottish practice, which Meg Dods called, “makin' a pouch.”

4. A deep hole in the bed of a river, a Plumb, Pot (Fif., wm.Sc. 1966). Cf. II. 3.

5. The shag or cormorant, Phalacrocorax, from the distendible pouch below its bill (Sh. 1966).

II. v. 1. To put (something) into one's pocket, take possession of, either legitimately or dishonestly; fig. to steal, “pocket”, make off with. Gen.Sc. Deriv. poucher, a pilferer, petty thief (‡Abd. 1966). Phr. to pouch up, fig., to accept without protest, put up with.Sc. 1720 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 149:
Shou'd London poutch up a' the Gear?
Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) II. 101:
The Prince catches a small coad, which he puch'd and immediately went hom, stood by till it was dresst for supper.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 190:
They pouch the gowd, nor fash the town For weights an' scales to weigh them.
Lnk. 1816 G. Muir Minstrelsy 5:
To pouch the wage they dinna seem unlaith.
Sc. 1820 Scott Ivanhoe xxxiii.:
I will pouch up no such affront before my parishioners.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 384:
I would as soon become a real thief at once as a petty poucher; . . . those who pouch at funerals are the most hateful race of pouchers.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 19:
As mickle's I cou'd pouch or eat.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxiv.:
I pouched it on the sly.
Rxb. 1896 J. C. Dibdin Cleekim Inn xi.:
Gold, ay, ay; it may be, but pooch yer trash an' gang yer ways.
Edb. 1915 T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 80:
The chiels that rush the diggin's, May no bag a' the cunzie, Yet pooch a chunk or twa.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 9:
An' pooch their easy fee.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 11:
Davie pickit it up an pooched it. Inside his pooch, it daunced up an doon in a fine fizz, like a hen on a hett girdle, near caain a hole in the claith.

2. To eat (something) greedily and with relish, to gulp down (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 132, pootch; Bnff., Ags. 1966); ppl.adj. pootchin, greedy, voracious, gluttonous; corpulent (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.).Gregor:
He's a greedy pootchin' boosht.

3. Ppl.adj. pooched, of land: badly-drained, full of subsidences and pockets of water. Cf. I. 4.Clc. 1952 Scotsman (9 Oct.):
If carse land drainage were affected, the land became “pooched,” wet and full of rushes.

[O.Sc. pouch, pocket, 1544.]

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"Pouch n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jun 2023 <>



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