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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TWASOME, n., adj., adv. Also twasum(e); twaesome; †tweaesum. [I., n., em.Sc.(a), wm., sm.Sc. ′twɑsʌm; em.Sc.(b), Lnk., s.Sc. ′twesʌm]

I. n. 1. A pair, a couple, a group of two distinct members or components (Sc. 1808 Jam.; s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 174, tweaesum; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 272; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen.Sc.; a game between two players. Phr. by twasome, in pairs, two by two.Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 21:
The twa-some they hae slayne the ane.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf viii.:
The rest disperse by twasome and threesome.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) vii.:
I'll hae the branks of love thrown over the heads o' the twasome.
Crm. 1869 H. Miller Tales 128:
The brave, hardy chield, wha had beaten twasome at the cudgel.
Kcb. 1893 Crocket Stickit Minister 120:
When the twasome had been haein' denner thegither.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 13:
The twasome could gang blin'fauld.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (4 Dec.):
Haein' a hand at the cairts, a twasome at the dambrod.
Sc. 1956 Quest No. 23.7:
It [golf] is a social game, played alone, played in twosomes, played in foursomes, and there is always the nineteenth hole.

2. A Scottish country dance, danced in couples, specif. a strathspey. See II. 2.Abd. a.1788 Sc. Mus. Museum II. 170:
At threesomes they dance wondrous light, But twasomes ding a' out o' sight.
Sc. 1819 Edb. Ev. Courant (31 July) 3:
The Strathspey, or Twasome, which was danced in good style by two Highlanders.
m.Sc. 1927 J. Buchan Witch Wood xi.:
Some daft lads and a wheen hellicat lassies dance their twasomes in the Wud.

II. adj. from attrib. use of the noun: 1. consisting of two, double, in duplicate; having two of something, holding two measures.Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) IV. 259:
While Arthur's Seat shall my Parnassus be, And frae its twaesome tap my nag can flee.
m.Lth. 1812 P. Forbes Poems 34:
A charger then, if ye wa'd ken, Is just a twasome bicker.
Lnk. a.1832 W. Watt Poems (1860) 178:
To sanction the unhallow'd law Pass'd by this twasome quorum.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 178:
Twasome dainty strapping callants, Twasome lassock twins we hae.
Hdg. 1889 J. Lumsden Lays Linton 59:
The “coggie” designed for Mucklebackit was a “twa-some”, specially built for the occasion by a famous local cooper.
Slg. 1896 W. Harvey Kennethcrook 22:
It had two kirks, two ministers, two beadles, two precentors, two dominies, two bellmen. . . . “They speak o' a twasome toun, but there are some twa-faced folk that bide in't.”

2. Played or performed by two persons, esp. of a dance. A twasome dance, a strathspey (Per., Fif. 1825 Jam.; Sc. 1895 Caledonia I. 352), -reel, id. (ne.Sc., Fif., wm.Sc. 1973); a twasome fecht, a duel.Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 37:
Ye hae danc't a twasome reel.
Ayr. 1830 Galt Lawrie Todd vi. i.:
Whisking round and round the room to a two-some reel.
Abd. 1875 G. MacDonald Malcolm ii. iii.:
The man 'at killt 'im in a twasum fecht.
Sc. 1892 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 65:
Syne blythely danced a twasome spring.
Mry. 1969 Northern Scot (15 Feb.) 4:
Steppin' it oot in twasome reel.

3. Double in character, full of duplicity, deceitful.Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xii. 2.:
Wi' fraisin gabs, an' wi' twasome hearts.

III. adv. Doubly, on two accounts.Abd. 1733 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1765) 39:
Now Maggy's twasome in a swoon.

[O.Sc. twasum, a pair, a.1375, from Twa + -Some, suff., 2.]

Twasome n., adj., adv.

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"Twasome n., adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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