Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOW, v.3 See also Boo, v.2 [bʌu Sc., but s.Sc. + bɔu, see P.L.D. §§ 101, 106]

1. To assume a bent or crooked shape. Also fig. Given in N.E.D. as obs. except dial. Gen.Sc. Bnff. 1719  Annals Bnff. (ed. Cramond 1891) I. 191:
Dean of Guild is ordered to make one of strong tymber that will not bend nor bow.
Per. c.1800  Lady Nairne Songs (ed. Rogers 1905) 174:
His legs they are bow'd.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xviii.:
Duncan was not so bowed in the intellect as ye imagine.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Halloween iv.:
An' pow't, for want o' better shift, A runt was like a sow-tail, Sae bow't that night.

ppl.adj. bow'd, bowed, bowt, bowyt, crooked, bent. Sc. 1887  Jam.6, s.v. bowyt:
A bowt saxpence.
Edb. 1851  A. Maclagan Sk. from Nature 140:
Yon auld bowed pair o' rusty tangs.
centr.Rxb. 1923  Watson W.-B.:
Bow'd. Having bandy legs.

2. “To turn down (the eyelid), hence, to close (the eye)” (Abd.9, Slg.3, Arg.1, Ayr.8 1935). Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 238–239:
And aften hae I risen without ever having bowed an ee.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan I. 136:
I'm sure he hasna bowed an e'e this twa nights wi't.

3. Combs.: (1) bowbackit, bow't backet, bent in the back; cf. Boo, v.2, 4 (1); (2) bowd-leggit, having bandy legs; (3) bow-hocht, -hough'd, “bent in the legs” (Mry.1 1925), “bandy-legged” (Bnff.7 1925; Ags.1, Fif.10 1935); (4) bow-ribbit, bent or curved in the ribs or spars. (1) Sc. 1896  A. Cheviot Proverbs 416:
Ye'll ne'er grow bowbackit bearing your friends.
Bnff. 1856  J. Collie Poems and Lyrics 112;
2 :
I think ye're cracket fairly, To say that ye would marry Bob, A puir bow't backet carlie.
(2) Ags.(D) 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) viii.:
He's a snod bit stockie — a little beld, an' bowd-leggit, an' wants a thoom.
(3) Bch.(D) 1930  P. Giles in Abd. Univ. Rev. (March) 105:
Ye'll be mair concern't i' the noo' 'at the deems 'ull think ye bow-hocht.
Abd. 1832–1846  P. Buchan in Whistle-Binkie (2nd Series 1842) 16:
She was bow-hough'd and humph-back'd, twined like a stair.
Ayr. 1792  Burns Willie Wastle (Cent. ed.) iii.:
She's bow-hough'd, she's hem-shin'd, Ae limpin leg a hand-breed shorter.
(4) Abd. 1879  G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie xxxii.;
2 :
It's [an auld umbrella] auld an' casten an' bow-ribbit, it's true.

[O.Sc. bow, bowe, bouw, bou, (1) to bend or curve, etc.; (2) to cause to bend or curve; Mid.Eng. bow (e), bou (e), etc., early bouȝe (n), buȝe (n), O.E. būgan (D.O.S.T.). The mod. bow forms are prob. due to ablaut variant bog- of būgan, to bend, or to the influence of Bow, n.4]

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"Bow v.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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