Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOWLIE, Boowlie, Booly, Boully, Bowly, Bowloch, adj. and n. [′bʌuli,, ′buli]

1. adj. Crooked, bent. Fif. 1878  “S. Tytler” Scotch Firs I. vii.;
1 :
He's getting pu'ed about the haffits and booly in the back.
wm.Sc. 1837  Scot. Monthly Mag. 120:
By creeping through the bowlie legs o' a dour-looking auld Highlandman.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Parish xiii.;
8 :
That duck was the first of the kind we had ever seen, and many thought it was of the goose species, only with short bowly legs.
w.Dmf. 1908  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1914) i.:
And what a man he was aboot dugs — no' wee yelpin' critters wi' lang hair and boowlie legs, but great big massive chiels.

Combs.: (1) boully-backet, “hump-backed; also applied to one whose shoulders are very round” (Bnff.2, Fif.10, Lnl.1 1935); (2) bowly-leggit, -legged, bow-legged. (1) Sc. 1837  H. Cockburn Some Letters (1932) 39:
When you're a Snowdrop you may be as boully-backet as you like.
(2) Rnf. 1935  G. Blake The Shipbuilders v.:
I'll sort ye, ye bowly legged wee bastard!
Lnk. 1926  W. Queen We're a' Coortin 69:
It'll be Lord help you, for I ken wha ye are, ye wee, bowly-leggit scunner ye, if I come efter ye.

2. n. A bow-legged person (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 87, bowloch; n.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., bowlie, obsol.). Kcb. c.1900 4 :
Bowloch. A person with legs wide at the knee, boo'ed like the sides o' a pair o' hems.
Per. 1898  E.D.D. s.v. bowly:
He's a wee bowlie.

[Cf. Mid.Du. boghel (Du. beugel, a ring), M.L.Ger. bogel, from same root as O.E. būgan, to bend, boga, a bow.]

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"Bowlie adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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