DSL - SND1 TROW, n.1 Also trowe , trouw. Dims. trowie, ¶trowling. Sc. (incl. Sh.) forms and usages of Eng. troll, a hobgoblin. [tru]
1. A mischievous sprite or fairy, a supernatural being common in Scandinavian mythology from which it passed into Sh. and Ork. folk-lore (I.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1973). Also attrib. They were called hill-, land-, or sea-trows acc. to their supposed haunts or abode. The water-trow is the [NYUGGLE] or [SHOUPILTIN], q.v.
*Sh. 1701 J. Brand Descr. Zet. 115:
Sea- Trowe s, great rolling Creatures, tumbling in the Waters, which if they come among their nets, they break them, and sometimes takes them away with them.
*Sh. 1814 in Lockhart Scott xxviii.:
The trows do not differ from the fairies of the Lowlands, or Sighean of the Highlanders.
*Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Description 525-6:
This deity, or water-trow. . . . The warlocks of Shetland communed with various demons, known by the name of Sea-trows and Land-trows.
*Sh. 1846 Fraser's Mag. (Oct.) 487:
The Shetland trows are unerring in their archery.
*Ork. 1883 R. M. Fergusson Rambling Sk. 159:
Trowies canna tak' thoo' Hushie ba, lammie.
*Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 39:
Places that from time immemorial have been associated in the public mind with trows or hillfowk.
*Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Iktober 28):
It's no da kirk, `at da Trouws dreeds; bit da sköl.
*Ork. 1924 P. Ork. A.S. II. 38:
After a while he cried out that he was ``on the back o' the trow''. Then the ``ould trow woman'' dropped him.
*Sh. 1949 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 267:
The fern, which is the floral symbol of Shetland, the trows' homeland. In the autumn, at Hallowmass, folk had seen the ferry-kairds being parted, and the peerie folk, or trows, coming forth on their nightly travels.
Combs. and derivs. (of trow(s), trowie): (1) trowie-buckie, a snail-shell; (2) trow bund, bewitched by trolls. See
[BUN], ppl.adj.1; (3) trowi(e), -y, adj., (i) pertaining to the trolls, having the appearance of a troll, believing in trolls, superstitious (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973), supernatural; (ii) sickly, ailing, unhealthy, as supposedly under the influence of trolls (Ork. 1825 Jam.; I.Sc. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1973), also in a weakened sense: puny, feeble, useless, worthless (Marw., Ork. 1973). Comb. trowie-like, ill-looking, having a sickly appearance (Id).; (4) trowie cairds, trows' kaerds, fern fronds (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. I.81, Sh. 1973). See [CAIRD], n.2; (5) trowie flaachts, summer lightning, wildfire (Sh. 1973). See [FLAUCHT], n.1, 3.; (6) trowie girse, the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1973); (7) trow(-ie) glove, -gliv, (i) a sea-sponge; (ii) = (6) (Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc. 1973); (8) trowie knowe, a knoll inhabited by trolls, a fairy hill (I.Sc. 1973); (9) trowie spindle, the plant horse-tail, Equisetum arvense (Sh. 1947 Sh. Folk Bk. I. 81); ¶(10) trowist, an expert on the ways and spells of trolls, an exorcist of the power of trolls; ¶(11) trowling, an infant troll, a troll baby; (12) trows' hadd, a retreat or habitation of trolls. See [HAUD], n., 6. and quot. under (4); (13) trows' hool, -hul, = (8) (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1973). See [HOOL]; (14) trow's smookie, a design on Shetland hosiery (Sh. 1933 Manchester Guardian Wkly. (30 June) 519). See smookie s.v. [SMOOK], v., 2. (1).
(1) *Sh. 1898 ``Junda'' Klingrahool 9:
Fan du a klok or a wiglin wirm Or a trowie buckie's marlet skurm?
(2) *Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 57:
Mathoo', Mark, Luke an' John, Luck this Trow-b'und sinner on.
*Sh. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 142:
When a cow or sheep happens to turn sick or die, it is firmly believed that the real animal has been taken away and something of a trowie breed substituted in its place.
*Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 151, 156:
John, while crossing the Hill of Wormidale, had been taken into a trowie abode. . . . The heart was supposed to be wasting away under some trowie influence.
*Sh. 1900 Manson's Almanac 122:
She would then pretend to have found the very holes which the trowy arrows had pierced.
*Sh. 1933 Manchester Guardian Wkly. (30 June) 519:
The fern design [in knitting] is of ``trowie'' origin, as the ``little folk'' of the hills always hid their house doors from mortal eyes by covering them with luxuriant growths of ``ferries-kairds'', or ferns.
*Sh. 1968 Scottish Poetry No. 3. 53:
Da mirk hills makk dir trowie oor.
*Ork. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 325:
Trowie. A term applied in Ork. to any animal that is puny and of a diminutive size, in relation to others of the same species; as, a trowie bull, cow, or stirk. The idea seems to be that the stunted appearance of the animal must be ascribed to the influence of the Trows.
*Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 110:
Thu'll mak a trowie wife.
*Ork. 1908-10 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 322, III. I. 30:
Jock o' the Geo waas a trowie coorly ting. . . . A trowie rickity deean ting.
*Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 123:
A'm stootly trowie an' sairly fashed wi' da watter-traa.
*Ork. 1964 Scots Mag. (June) 245:
Anybody who is ill in Orkney, to this day, is said to be ``trowie.''
(4) *Sh. 1937 J. Nicolson Yarns 3:
Nooks and crannies in the dales that were curtained by the delicate fronds of the `trows' kairds,' were known as the `trows' hadds.'
(5) *Sh. 1949 P. Jamieson Letters 140:
The folk called the blinks the trowie flaachts, likening them to the trows ``kindling their lanterns'' ere setting forth on their wanderings from house to house.
(6) *Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 79:
The ``trowie gliv,'' otherwise ``trowie girse,'' was regarded as a deadly poison for geese.
*Sh. 1793 J. Mill Diary (S.H.S.) 161:
Sponges are found upon the shore in great plenty, shaped like a man's hand, and called by the people Trowis Gloves.
*Ork. 1927 H. C. Jean's Garden 14:
Trowie gloves fae the faelly dyke abune the hill.
(8) *Sh. 1956 Sh. Community Mag. No. 2. 17:
Tünns no drawn be kirsten bow A'm heard aboot da trowie knowe.
(10) *Sh. 1895 J. Burgess Folklore 99:
He at once sent for an old woman who was celebrated as a `trowist `.
(11) *Sh. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 142:
Females newly confined must be watched lest they be carried off to perform the office of wet-nurse to some trowling.
(13) *Sh. 1956 Shetland News (4 Dec.):
She pointed to the knowe and said it was the ``trow's hool.''
2. As a term of disparagement or pity for an unlucky, feeble or stupid person or animal (Sh. 1973).
*Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 16:
Paetie wus aye a flawan' bulderan' trow.
*Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 11:
``Seemen,'' pür trow, wi his legs in a bing.
*Sh. 1898 Shetland News (12 Feb.):
Yon's pairt o' Gibbie's bottle, puir trow.
3. (1) The Devil, freq. in imprecations, as trow tak me, ye etc. (I.Sc. 1825 Jam., 1866 Edm. Gl.; Sh. 1973).
*Ork. 1832 D. Vedder Sketches 17:
Trow tak' me if ever she doesn't again.
*Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 34:
A' bothy ran for the banks as gin the Trow been chasin' them.
*Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 165:
Some irate dame may be heard exclaiming to her unmanageable children ``Trow tak thee!''
[Norw., O.N. troll, id. It is noteworthy that in I.Sc. the Scotticised form trow has been adopted. The earliest form recorded, troll, in 1503, may be a scribal representation of trow.]