Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAMSHEUGH, CAMSHACH, CAMSHUCH, Cam(p)sho, Camscho, Camshoh, adj. Also camseach and camschol. [′kɑmʃux, -ʃʌx, -ʃəx, ′kɑm(p)ʃo]

1. Crooked, distorted, deformed; stern. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems II. 70:
Sae with Consent away they trudge, And laid the Cheese before a Judge: A Monkey with a campsho Face, Clerk to a Justice of the Peace.
Abd. 1710  T. Ruddiman (ed.) Aeneid (transl. Gavin Douglas) Gloss.:
Camscho or camschol beik . . . applied to a stern, grim, or distorted countenance.
Rnf. 1807  R. Tannahill Poems and Songs 29:
Auld, swirlon, slaethorn, camsheugh, crooked Wight, Gae wa', an' ne'er again come in my sight.
Wgt. 1804  R. Couper Poems II. 80:
And dapplin' on his camseach chin His thristly honours grew.

2. fig. Surly, ill-tempered, perverse (Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. Ork. Par. (1922) 150, camsho; Ags. 1808 Jam.); unlucky. Bnff. 1846  Bnffsh. Jnl. (6 Jan.):
Tho' waes me for corrupt auld Nature She's sic a camshoh wayward creature.
Bnff. 1938 2 :
Naebody liket Sanners; he wiz an ill-tonguet, faut-fin'in' camshach mannie.
Abd.(D) 1788  J. Skinner Christmass Bawing xxi. in Caled. Mag. 502:
The Taylor Hutchin he was there, A curst illtrickit spark, Saw Pate had caught a camshuch care, At this unsonsy wark.
Abd. 1938 2 :
The laird's been thrawit, I doot, the day for he's in an awfu' camshach, cankert meed.
Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poems 71:
Roun' wi' the Btue, an' roar an' sing, For camsheugh aul' F—s is dead.

[O.Sc. camschoch, camscho, camschohe, crooked, deformed; perverse. D.O.S.T. says “of obscure formation,” but for first element cf. Gael. cam, crooked, and for second O.E. sceolh, wry, oblique, and Sneuch, Shach, to distort. The p in campsho is intrusive and prob. owes its origin to the influence of camp, to strive, contend (see Kemp, v.1, n.1), and Campy, adj. (4).]

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



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