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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.

RUCH, adj., adv., n., v. Also rouch, rooch (Bnff. 1926 Banffshire Jnl. (14 Sept.) 5, Fif. 1952 E. Fife Observer (29 May)), reuch (Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangshaw 3; Slk. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 66); rauch (Abd. 1920 C. L. Hay The Cat's Awa 7); roch(e); roach; reoch (Sc. 1945 Scots Mag. (April) 12); wruch, wroch (Cld. 1880 Jam.); rugh (Sc. 1740 Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 386; Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 136, Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 14), ruh. Sc. forms and usages. [m.Sc. rʌx; ne.Sc., Fif. rox; s.Sc. rʌuxʍ; Ork. rʌux]

Sc. form of Eng. rough.m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 78:
You micht ken that frae the fact that they hae Croakin Festivals siveral times a year, whaur solo croakers and croakin choirs get marks frae judges wha can tell bonny, skeely croakin frae the roch, gawkit kind.
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas Fraser in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 9:
Wi' mony a craig an cleugh,
The rouch hills, the teugh hills
That froun dour and grim,
The hie hills, the stey hills,
They daur ye to sclim.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 167:
green gerse pure apairt
giean guidlike grun agin
the rauch road o heddert hill
an wintert wuid. Siller barkit birks
beikit aboot bi a crazy clanjamfrie
Ags. 1990 Raymond Vettese in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 141:
... the door tremmles wi the wun but never birsts wide, no the wey it did whan's rauch sel breenged in.
Abd. 1991 Douglas Kynoch in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 86:
Thon Erato had likely
Fuspert something till 'er. Och,
An affa deem for fusprins.
Ay, an aye that bittie roch.
Cai. 1992 James Miller A Fine White Stoor 122:
No just the men, the officers too. I swear that the officers were worse than the men. I had some roch times myself.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
Cam ye fae some idder warl,
Mysterious, oonchancy cat,
A speerit-craiter withoot faat,
To me, a feel, roch human carl?
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 15:
The rouch hills now
volcanic stumps steamless in the surging nor-easter.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 3:
Sae I come greetin ower your braken corp
An haud it gentlie gin this staunin-stane
Auncient an roch as wis your Governal,

Sc. usages:

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. and phrs.: (1) ruch an' ready, of a meal: plentiful but of plain fare roughly served (Cld. 1880 Jam.); (2) ruch and right, (i) entirely, taking all things into consideration (Ags. 1825 Jam.; Mry.1 1925; Ags. 1968); (ii) “indifferently well” (Abd. 1825 Jam.); (iii) rough and ready, “with somewhat boorish manners and plain speech” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bmff. 229; Sh. 1968); (3) rough and round, adj., of food: plain but substantial. Also used subst. = homely fare; fig. of persons: simple, unsophisticated but of solid worth. Cf. (2) (iii); (4) rough-back (-fluke), the long rough dab, Hippoglossoides platessoides (Abd. 1815 J. Arbuthnot Fishes 59; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 244; Bnff. 1968); (5) rough bear, an inferior variety of barley with four rows of grain on the head; (6) rough blade, the mature leaf of a plant as opposed to the seed leaf (Ork., Cai., Abd., Lnk., Wgt. 1968). Cf. Eng. rough leaf, id. See Blade; (7) rough bounds, with def. art.: a name applied to the mountainous region between the Sound of Mull in Argyllshire and Loch Duich in S.W. Ross, a translation of Gael. Garbh-chrìochan (see quots.); (8) rough coal, a free coal which gen. occurs in strata associated with strata of splint coal (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 56), “but usually applied to coal of inferior quality” (m.Sc. 1937 Econ. Geol. Central Coalfield (H.M.S.O.) I. 160; Lnk. 1968); (9) roch-dyke, a dry-stone wall. Cf. (19). Hence roch-dyker, one who builds dry-stone walls; (10) rough flapper, see Flapper, Suppl.; (11) ruch ginze, dried unground ginger, ginger-stick (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R. 58). See Ginge; (12) rough-handed, violent (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.), tough, pugnacious. Cf. also 7. (1); (13) roughhead, ruhhed, a turf or peat, esp. one cut with the surface grass adhering and dried for fuel (Uls. 1953 Traynor); (14) ruch hide, an animal's skin with the hair still adhering to it, an undressed hide; (15) ruch in the reed, lit. coarse in the grain, of a man: robust, strong (Arg.1 1930). See Reed, n.2; (16) ruch malt, malted barley before it is ground; (17) ruch Rab, the caterpillar of the tiger moth, the woolly bear caterpillar (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.9); (18) ruch rullion, see Rivlin, 4.; (19) ruch stane, (i) a natural boulder (Per., Slg., w.Lth., Ayr., Gall. 1968). Comb. ruch-stane-dyke, a wall of undressed stone, a dry-stone dyke (Bnff., Ags. 1968); (ii) a coarse fellow (w.Lth. 1968).(2) (i) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 37:
An' tak her a' together, rough an' right, She wad na been by far four feet of height.
(iii) Sc. 1935 Sc. N. & Q. (March) 47:
It's roch an' richt at yon toune.
(3) Cld. 1808 Jam.:
They do nae keep a genteel house, but they have ay plenty of rouch and round.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xlvi.:
The feast was, indeed, such as the country itself furnished; for plenty of all the requisites for a “rough and round” dinner were always at Duncan of Knock's command.
Sc. 1825 Scott Journal (18 Dec.):
I love the virtues of rough and round men.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. iv.:
We made a good rough-and-round livin' of it, let me tell you.
(4) Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 548:
Flounders of all kinds, roughback, plaise.
(5) Sc. 1699 Edb. Gazette (2–6 March):
Oats 12 l. Muirland Oats 9 l. Rough Bear 11 l. per Boll.
Sc. 1771 Encycl. Brit. I. 61:
The Highland barley, more commonly called rough bear.
e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 76:
The four sided barley, which we call the rough bear or big, is mostly confined to the Fourth District of this county.
Per. 1933:
There was a common saying in South Perthshire “Ye've a crap for a' corn, and ane for rouch bear” — applied to a greedy person.
(6) Abd. 1958 People's Jnl. (28 June):
Some unca craiter fa'in oot on the neeps, ahin they hid on the roach blade.
(7) Inv. 1808 J. Robertson Agric. Inv. xxxii.:
This range of mountainous ground between the great valley and the Atlantic, is the highest and wildest of all the forbidding surface in the county, and has got the name of the rough bounds. It extends from the head of Moidart, which joins the county of Argyle, to Glensheil in Ross-shire, a distance of 70 miles or more.
Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 552:
In the year 1769, Dr. Stuart of Luss, then a young man, made a tour through Skye, Mull, Raasay, and that part of the continent which is usually termed the rough bounds.
Sc. 1862 W. F. Skene Bk. Dean Lismore xv.:
The Garbh chriochan, or rough bounds, consisting of Arisaig, Moydart, Moror and Knoydart.
Sc. 1958 C. I. Maclean Highlands 23:
The Garbhchriochan — “the Rough Bounds” between Loch Duich and Ardnamurchan.
(8) Cld. 1794 J. Naismith Agric. Cld. 36:
This stratum is composed entirely of what is called rough coal in Scotland.
m.Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 559:
The third is the rough coal, generally fourteen yards below the splint, and varying from 4½ to 5½ feet in thickness.
(9) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
Your fader — the roch dyker.
(12) Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxvii.:
As Mucklebackit and his family were understood to be rough-handed folk, he, the declarant, had no desire to meddle or make with their affairs.
(13) Rxb. 1816 Craig & Laing Hawick Tradition (1898) 204:
They are discharged from casting dry land soads of any part of the Commonty or roughheads (except roughheads in the Mosses).
Sc. 1818 J. Rennie St. Patrick II. xvi.:
Hoy Baldie! gae' wa' an' clod on a creel fu' a' ruh-heds on the ingle.
Lnk. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VI. 372:
Peats, or rather turfs, called rough-heads.
(14) Rs. 1712 W. MacGill Old Rosshire (1911) II. 89:
To beat the drum in the toune morning and evening — yearly cellarie £20 Scots and a roche hyde for schoues.
Sc. 1731 Records Conv. Burghs (1885) 526:
All slaughtered ruch hydes brought to mercat ought to be sold in mercat.
(16) Gsw. 1739 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1911) 23:
To take the multure of the malt at the milln in ruch malt before it be grinded.
(19) (i) Kcb. 1901 R. D. Trotter Galt. Gossip 78:
Cover't wi muckle rugh stanes, whut they ca'“Boulders” noo-a-days.
em.Sc. 1906 J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay Basin 68–9:
Another haunt [of the wheatear] is found in the “rough-stane dykes” of the “dry-fields”.

2. Derivs.: (1) ruchie, rochie, -y, ruffie, ruffy, n., (i) a wild, venturesome boy (n.Sc. 1968); (ii) a rough, coarse woman (Abd.13 1910, Abd. 1968); (iii) a long wholemeal loaf of rough texture (Ags. 1950); (iv) a shortened variant of rough-back (-fluke), the long rough dab, Hippoglossoides platessoides (ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 244; Abd. c.1935 Fishery Board Gl.). See 1. (4); (v) adj., (a) of the hands: calloused, horny; (b) hairy, shaggy, rough, unkempt (Ork. 1920; Cai. 1968). Combs. ruffy-headed, having rough unkempt hair (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); curly-haired (Ork. 1968). Cf. also Ruff, v.2; ruchie Rab, thick rough-spun bedcover or rug (Slg., Clc. 1968). Cf. 1. (18); (c) of a cabbage: not properly hearted (Sc. 1911 S.D.D., ruffy); (2) rouchlie, ro(a)chly, (i) adv., roughly (Fif. 1878 S. Tytler Scotch Firs I. ii.; Ags. 1882 Brechin Advertiser (28 Nov.) 3; Abd. 1923 J. Imray Village Roupie 33); (ii) adj., rough, careless, slapdash; (3) roughsome, rouchsome, somewhat rough or uneven (Sc. 1825 Jam.); rude, crude, uncouth (Kcb. 1900; Dmb., Kcb. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb. roughsome-like, rough-looking; (4) rouchtisome, rough (Kcb. 1900); (5) rouchton, a big sturdy roughly-dressed fellow (Kcb. 1900). In 1824 quot. rouchtous is erron. for pl. rouchtons.(1) (iv) Abd. 1815 J. Arbuthnot Fishes 15:
Pleuronectes Limanda, Dab, vulgarly called Rough Back Fleuk, Rochie.
(v) (a) Gall. 1907 A. McCormick Tinkler Gypsies 141–3:
A curious characteristic is the “roughie paws”. . . . The palm of the hand and the inside of the fingers and soles of the feet are covered by a cuticle of the consistence of horn.
(b) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 32:
An wha set in his ruffie heid bit the Kirk offisher?
(2) (ii) Arg. 1917 A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 225:
She was aye a rouchlie yin, was Chirsty.
(3) Sc. 1713 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) I. 502:
Satirical jesting, taunting or roughsome ways in conversation.
Lnk. 1796 R. Lochore Foppish Taylor 13:
The servant lass, a roughsome hizzie O' manners was sae very scanty.
Dmf. 1826 H. Duncan Sc. Exiles I. xi.:
The road's gey roughsome.
Slk. 1836 Fraser's Mag. (Oct.) 433:
That's a roughsome way o' ganging to work wi' a deeing man!
Lnk. 1844 Lays St Mungo (Lemon) 88:
Sic a roughsome like body I never did see.
Lnk. 1881 D. Thomson Musings 59:
We'll sprauchle yont life's roughsome way.
(5) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 26:
A pair o' gye strong rouchtous [sic].

3. Abundant, bounteous, plentifully supplied, well-furnished, esp. with good plain fare, as in rough board, -house, -living, -table, etc. (Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1968).Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 145:
He has a Hole under his Nose that will never let him be rough.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
A gude rouch house, an house where there is abundance of provisions.
Sc. 1832 A. Henderson Proverbs 29:
Your belly winna let your back be rough.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 33:
Gin ony thing's left wi' the Laird at the en', He maun just mak' the dredgie the rugher.
Knr. 1878 J. L. Robertson Poems 94:
Wha was sae mensefu' or sae douce, Had roucher board or brawer hoose?
Ayr. 1880 J. Tannock Poems 8:
An' may ye aye be rough o' cash.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Ingleside Musings 20:
He's unco rouch wi' the guid red gear.
Slg. 1896 W. Harvey Kennethcrook 128:
“Weel to dae” and “unco rugh” are phrases which, in our common parlance, mean money.
Sc. 1937 St. Andrews Citizen (30 Jan.) 3:
Even in the poorest farm-house is to be found what we in Scotland call “a rough table” [i.e. porridge, kail and potatoes, bannocks and butter], “an occasional fowl, pork and puddings at pig-killing time, a bit of ‘braxy' and of course a haggis”.
Gall. 1952 Sc. Home & Country (Sept.) 270:
There's siller yonder, and he keeps a guid rouch hoose.

Deriv. and comb.: (1) rough dram, an abundance of liquor, enough strong drink to cause drunkenness (n.Sc. 1968); (2) ruch-handit, generous, open-handed (Kcb. 1968); (3) rouchness, abundance, plenty, esp. of homely fare (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; m.Sc. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial.(1) Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 34:
He may tak' a roch dram at a time.
Abd. 1900 Scots Mag. (March 1934) 436:
The Essons were given to cudgel play when they had had a “gey roch dram.”
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 25:
Files I micht' a' ta'en a gey roch dram.
(3) Sc. 1824 Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 273:
There was sick roughness o' everything.
Slg. 1825 W. Hone Every-Day Book II. 10:
The desire to enter the new year rife o' roughness.
Sc. 1838 Whistle-Binkie 58:
He said he was a lairdie, O' riggs and roughness plenty.
Per. 1857 D. Garvie Life Ploughboy 79:
Come, here's a public-house; let's change a pound and haud roughness.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 70:
Yiz can have a brave roughness in the house.
(3) Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 82:
My mother was quite serenely indifferent to our miserly reasonings, and was clearly enjoying the novelty of being somebody of substance in the eyes of our landlady, somebody with enough 'roughness ' in her purse to be able to afford the delightful extra of 'attendance'.
Arg. 1993:
Ye've aalwis a ruchness if ye've that [potatoes] an turnip.

4. Of the growth of grass or crops: strong, luxuriant, dense (Sh., Bnff., Bwk., Lnk., Kcb. 1968); luxuriant but of poor quality, rank (Uls. 1953 Traynor); gone to seed (Cai. 1968).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 307:
I saw gran swankies o' nowt on't, feeding on rough claver fiels.
Sc. 1831 Fife Herald (9 June):
The oats and barleys look healthy and promising, and are already rough enough to resist the drought.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 229:
Pit the caar oot o' the roch girs an' nae o' the hauch.

5. Of a bone: having meat on it (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 265; Per., Slg., Ayr. 1968).m.Lth. 1794 G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 42:
Mony a dainty rough fat bane.
Sc. 1826 Scott Woodstock xx.:
A hungry tyke ne'er minds a blaud with a rough bane.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 22:
A good supply of hard boiled eggs and rough banes in a pock.

6. Of sheep: unshorn, unclipped (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bwk., sm. and s.Sc. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial.Bwk. 1875 Encycl. Brit. I. 396:
Few fat sheep are now sent to market rough after the 1st of April.
Gall. 1933 Gallov. Annual 81:
The Galloway shepherds' toast, “Tar, Rugh Sheep, and Whusky!”
Dmf. 1956 Dmf. & Gall. Standard (11 Aug.) 12:
B F Hogg (rough), hole in near ear.

7. Lewd, foul-mouthed, indecent, immoral (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr.. Kcb. 1968). Comb. and deriv.: (1) rouch-handit, promiscuous (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Cf. also 1. (13); (2) rouchness, lewd or unchaste behaviour (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.).Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxiii.:
Faur'll ye get a rocher, coorser breet?
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 68:
O' dyvor Tam, the drucken loon, The rouchest stick in a' the toon.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o'Hamespun 41:
Fan he ca'ed her bi yon roch, coorse wird that I sanna come aff wi' here.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 192:
Kirky never wid alloo a lot o' roch news to gyang on as lang's he wis aside.
Abd. 1950 Huntly Express (29 Sept.):
The lads singing corn-kisters, or tellin' roch baurs, or maybe playing the melodeon.

8. Raw, uncooked.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 351:
A rive o' gait, or fowl, Ha'f rough, ha'f roastit on a coal.

9. Hoarse (Per. 1968). A rouch hass, a hoarse throat (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

II. adv. 1. Combs.: (1) rouch-living, living in a dissolute, debauched or immoral way, of a man (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Per. 1968). Cf. adj., 7.; (2) rough-spun, coarsely-made or -featured (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.); of manners: rough, crude, unpolished (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; em.Sc.(a) 1968); of a company: brawling, rowdy. Also in n.Eng. dial.(2) Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 10:
Then Scota heard, and said: “Your rough-spun ware Sounds but right douff an' fowsome to my ear.”
Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man II. vii.:
A gay rough spun cout he was.
Dmf. 1830 W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life III. 271:
Weel, gif Janet be leevin' when we get hame, I think it'll be a rough-spun house about our teiglement the nicht.
Fif. 1847 R. Peattie MS.:
Quoth a rough wooer to a rough woman, “Come into my arms, my rouch-spun darlin'; my very heart's spreckled for ye.”

2. In a comfortable or well-supplied state (Ags., Per., Kcb. 1968).Ags. 1858 People's Journal (23 Jan.) 3:
Leaving 2s 7½d for the rest of the week. The gentleman would not live very rough on that.

III. n. 1. (1) Land in an unimproved, virgin condition (Sh., n.Sc., Ayr. 1968). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng.Abd. 1936 D. Bruce Cheengefu' Wordle 28:
Faither wid impruve the lan' like masel' — ‘at's taen the feck o't in fae the roch?
Bnff. 1968 Northern Scot. (27 Jan.) 4:
The farm of Mid Skeith . . . comprising: Arable . . 156.57 acres, Rough . . .73 acres.

(2) The rough ground at the edge of a golfcourse. Now St. Eng.Sc. 1901 Scotsman (9 Sept.) 4:
Thanks to Vardon having pulled into the rough, the Scotsman secured the sixteenth [hole].

2. The major part of anything (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., wm.Sc., Gall. 1968). Also in superl. rochest, id.Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie 74:
Noo that Robert Simpson has been left the rough o' the siller.
Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 102:
Man, it took me near a hail week ta get aff the rochest o't.
Arg.2 1931:
We aalways lake tae get the ruch o' the wark done afore denner-time.

3. A frost-nail in a horse-shoe (Rnf. 1968).

IV. v. To use nails with projecting heads in shoeing a horse to prevent slipping in frosty weather, to frost-nail a horse (Uls. 1929; Kcb. 1968). Ppl.adj. roughed, raucht, shod in this way (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Appar. colloq. or dial. Eng.m.Lth. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger xvi.:
“I'd raither see a steedy black frost mysel'”, observed Steen Scoular. “To gie you plenty o' jobs roughin' horses, Steen”.
Uls. 1901 J. W. Byers in Northern Whig:
When in frosty weather the shoes are fastened on by means of nails which have projecting heads they are said to be “roughed”.

Ruch adj., adv., n., v.

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