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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

STEW, n., v. Also steu, stue, styoo, styew; and intensive forms steuch, stjooh. Dims. stewach, steutlach. [stju(x)]

I. n. 1. (1) Dust, specif. dust in motion, a thick dust-laden atmosphere, a cloud or swirl of dust or the like (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 467; Sh. (steuch), ne.Sc., Ags. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial. Adj. stewie, stuey, styooie, dusty, dust-stained (ne.Sc. 1971). Comb. mill-stew, the dust which flies about in a mill (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 38:
Roads wis dauk, wi' blinnin stew.
Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes lxx.:
Yer rosy goon'll be clean blaudit wi' the stew o' 't.
Bnff. 1891 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 37:
She prayed that the evil one might ding him into stew.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (15 May):
Geng inby i' da paet neuk; doo'll be oot o' da stue o' dis reek.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 61:
Gie yer styooie face a sweel.
Sh. 1928 Shetland Times (7 Jan.):
Scoitin whaar da steuch wis comin' frae.
Abd. 1932 Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 105:
The flichts an' the cyards an' the reel are a' ta stew lang seen.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 100:
Till we see him laek a comet In a steuch o spunks an reek.
Abd. 1959 People's Jnl. (1 Aug.):
Wark on the lan' his been a maist biordinar stuey affair fae start tae finish.
Abd. 1993 Aberdeen Evening Express 2 Mar 7:
John Major's never lashed oot at naebody. He couldna knock the stew aff a bap, 'at bloke.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 15:
Then Ma taks a wee pincers an pous and pous oot her eyebroos and it's affa sair, bit Ma says, "Nae pain, nae gain!" an her ee-broos luik aa bauld efter yon, jist a wee thin line in blue styew peinted abuin her een, ...

(2) in fig. phrs. implying rapid, energetic movement, sudden disappearance (ne.Sc. 1971).Abd. 1937 Abd. Press & Jnl. (27 Aug.):
It teuk roon the neuk like styoo!
Bnff. 1955 Banffshire Jnl. (19 July):
At sic a lick ye could hardly see him for stue an' sma' steens.

(3) fig. a hubbub, a to-do, a “dust-up.” Phr. to raise the stew, to stir up trouble, create a “scene.” Not always distinguishable from colloq. Eng. stew with sim. meanings.Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 54:
T'o we're no dere ta see da fun, I kno dey'll be a steuch.
Sh. 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. 84:
Dey'll be a steuch at hom if I dunna turn up.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood iv.:
To start speirin' might only raise the stew.
Sh. 1963 New Shetlander No. 67. 29:
Noo here in Spain, oh whit a steuch!

2. A coating or sprinkling of dust or any powdery substance (Abd. 1971). Adj. stewie, as in stewie bap, a floury roll (Abd. 1975).Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 2:
The stew o' meal an' peat.
Abd. 1946:
Div ye tak a stewach o meal ower your potage?
ne.Sc. 1956 Mearns Leader (13 Jan.):
A wee steutlach o' steu stickin' tae a cove's tap-kwite.

3. Sea-spray, vapour (Sh. 1904 E.D.D., Sh. 1971).Sh. 1899 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd (1922) 135:
Da boat brüsin' an' souchin' i' da sea, fil da stue o'm wis comin' ower her quarters.

4. A rank, obnoxious smell, a strong pungent aroma, a stench (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) S. 147, steuch; Cld. 1880 Jam., stew, steuch; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (27 Nov.); Sh., wm.Sc., Kcb. 1971, steuch).Ayr. 1841 J. Paton Songs 1:
Nae need ye'll hae tae heat knife blades To raise a stewch and smell.
Kcb.4 1900:
“That's an unco steuch ye're raisin” (said to a blacksmith burning a horse's hoof).

II. v. 1. To emit smoke or vapour, to smoulder (Kcb. 1971).Ayr. 1928:
Said of a poor fire: “juist steuchin awa.”

2. To cast spray or vapour.Sh. 1899 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd (1922) 132:
Wi' da sea stjoohin i' your face.

3. To cause a foul smell, to stink (Cld. 1880 Jam., Ayr. 1928, steuch; Sh., Slg., wm., sm.Sc. 1971).Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 63:
Da stink o brimstin in a bizz Cam steuchin but.

[O.Sc. stew, a thick atmosphere, 1375, to stink, 1563, of uncertain orig. Connection with M.L.Ger., Mid. Du., stof, stove-, dust, is hard to establish phonologically; there may have been some influence from Eng. stew, a heated room, bagnio, to simmer food. The -ch of some of the variants is no doubt echoic, cf. Feuch, n.1, Feuch, n.3, Feuch, int.]

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"Stew n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/stew>

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