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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SOUTH, n., v.2 Also sooth(e), sowth. [sʌuθ, suθ]

I. n. Sotto voce singing or whistling, a low murmur (of music), quiet humming.Ayr. 1723 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (15 Jan.) 146:
She heard James Slowan sing the sooth of a song.
Ayr. 1788 J. Lapraik Poems 51:
It [cold] stops the growth, And makes the Ewes, with their young Lambs, Sing a poor south!
Kcb. 1909 Crockett Rose of the Wilderness xxi.:
Blinking off again to sleep to the drowsy “sooth” of that melody.

II. v. tr. To hum, sing or whistle softly (s.Sc. 1880; Abd., Kcd., Ags. 1971).Ayr. 1785 Burns's Wks. (Douglas) IV. 96:
To south the tune, as our Scotch phrase is, over and over, is the readiest way to catch the inspiration.
wm.Sc. 1843 Whistle-Binkie (1890) II. 168:
Aye whoo ye, whoo, whoo ye, sowth'd Whistlin' Tam.
Abd. 1885 J. Scorgie Flittin' Noo 60:
I sowth'd a versie o' a sang.
Sc. 1889 Stevenson M. Ballantrae ix.:
These verses were sung (or rather “soothed”) to me by a master-singer.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 12:
[He] tak's the fiddle frae the wa' An' soothes an auld-warld tune.

[An altered form of Sowff, q.v.]

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"South n., v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2024 <>



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