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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SLAW, adj., adv. Also slaa(a); erron. slae (Ags. 1927 M. Angus Sun and Candlelight 15). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. slow (Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 224; Ayr. 1790 Burns Sherramuir ii.; n.Sc. 1808 Jam., Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 19; Ork., ‡wm.Sc. 1970). Hence slawlie, slawly, slawness (Lnk. 1825 Jam.), now only liter. [slɑ:]

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. (1) slow-belly, a parasite found in the wool of sheep, prob. the louse, Pediculus pediculus; (2) slow-thumbs, -thooms, a slow-moving person, a very slow worker, a laggard (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1970)(1) Kcb. 1899 Crockett Anna Mark xiv.:
Some yarn is alive enough when it comes here — both with ‘high jumpers' and ‘slow bellies'.

2. Easy-going, lax, slack, having insufficient spirit or attack.Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Slaa cats maks pert mice.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Of a dog: ‘too slaa wi' the kye.'
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 15:
Perched on a tree, an unseen bird maks skraik,
skraik as if bairn's rachteted gun. The one strong note.
But no! A stooping, stout auld buddie taks her
painfou wey, mumblin, stumblin and slaw.

II. adv. Slowly, without haste, in a leisurely manner. Poet.Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 180:
What's a' yon reek, sae lurid like, Slaw rising owre the binn.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 27:
Till said to Tweed, Though ye rin wi' speed, and I rin slaw, Where ye drown ae man, I drown twa.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods ix.:
Mair neebours, comin' saft an' slaw.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 14:
Rest comes slaw to you an' me.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 32:
alang the stoorie desert pad,
and his scadda raxin slawlie and siccarlie,
cawed attoore the groo pad
ower a binsh o broon lavastane,
intil the thorn buss.
Lnk. 1998 Duncan Glen Selected New Poems 13:
A man doonby says, slawly
"It's faur oot the wey, but gey
haundy".
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 18:
Fin we are slawly meevin -
Ma first time doon yon road -
On fower cord-bearers' showders,
They'll ken me fur a wechty load.

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"Slaw adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Dec 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/slaw>

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