Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
DOUCE, adj. Also douse, douss, dooce, dowse, and deriv. ¶dousy (Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 92). [du(:)s]
1. Sedate, sober, quiet, respectable, often with a connotation of circumspection or cautiousness. Gen.Sc. Also used adv. Found in n.Eng. dial.
Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 21:
Then farewell Maggy douce and fell, Of Brewers a' thou boor the Bell. Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality iv.:
A douce woman she was, civil to the customers, and had a gude name wi' whig and tory. Sc. 1887 R. L. Stevenson Underwoods 9:
Our Marg'et, aye sae keen to crack, Douce-stappin in the stoury track. Sh. 1934 W. Moffatt Shetland 20:
Who would imagine that a woman so soberly clad would entertain a wayward thought, or be other than a thrifty, cleanly, sober, dowse, church-going body? n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
“There war na douce ongains betweesh them”; their conduct was not consistent with modesty. Bch. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 47:
O happy is the douce-gaun wight, Whose saul ne'er mints a swervin. Ags. 1845 P. Livingston Poems 68:
I cast my e'en across the kirk, Whar folk should aye sit douse. Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 115:
Baudrons . . . was really a douce, sensible, and as kindly a cat as ye'd find in a day's walk. Ayr. 1786 Burns Brigs of Ayr (Cent. ed.) ll. 168–9:
Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce, Meet owre a pint or in the council-house. Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost ii.:
I had all the douce demeanour and sagacity which it behoved a magistrate to possess.
Hence (1) doucely, dousely, soberly, sedately, quietly, decorously, “cannily”; (2) douceness, sedateness, sobriety (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.).
(1) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 296:
He dousely drew in Mair Gear frae ilka gentle Goss Than bought a new ane. Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
When we had a Scots Parliament, . . . they sate dousely down and made laws for a hail country. Inv. 1764 A. Ross Freemasonry in Inv. (1877) 62:
The minute informs us, that “the Lodge was orderly and douceley shut.” Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 30:
Or when tae kirk I doucely hie, An' settle doon wi' thankfu' sigh Tae ha'e a nap upo' the sly. Rnf. 1792 A. Wilson Poems (1844) 204:
Ye very reverend haly dads, Wha fill the black gown dously. Ayr. 1786 Burns Dream xi.:
So, ye may dousely fill a Throne, For a' their clish-ma-claver. (2) Ayr. 1822 Galt Steam-Boat ix.:
A sky-blue silk dress, with great red roses and tulips, . . . was surely not in . . . becoming concordance with the natural douceness of my character. Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 25:
A douceness, not to say a blateness, seemed to have spread the mantle of its silence owre us a'.
2. Pleasant, kindly, gentle, lovable (Mry.1 1925; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10, Arg.1, Lnk.11 1940). Also in n.Eng. dial.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 68:
The rude norlin' blast . . . Was douce as the westlin' breeze. Ags. 1920 A. Gray Songs 73:
Sae, I'll e'en lat the tocher gae, For Jean's baith douce and neat. Lth. 1925 C. P. Slater Marget Pow 47:
There stood a weary dusty-foot, with a pale douce-like face, and he begged for a bit of bread. Gall. 1843 J. Nicholson Hist. and Trad. Tales 128:
The douse folk that ha'e aften afforded me bield frae the doure blast. Slk. 1835 Hogg Wars of Montrose III. 95:
If the bonny douce lad needs the double o't it shall be forthcoming. Dwn. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 21:
Awow! she was a darlin' chucky, . . . Sae bonnie, winsome, douse an' canty.
Hence dousely, tenderly, lovingly.
Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 91:
Yet Rabby aye was dousely dautet.
3. Neat, tidy, comfortable (Slg.3 1940; Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.; Uls.2 1929); used of persons and things; also used of persons to mean “stoutish” (m.Dmf.3 c.1920).
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 308:
My wee bit house is clean and douce. Gall. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 115:
He was a douce auld buddy, and likit things faet and so . . . he set off to the village for some bits of things to mense the house.
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Douce adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Apr 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/douce>
Try an Advanced Search