Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
FOUL, adj., n.1, v. Also fool(e); ful (Sh.); †fule (Sc. 1711 First Part of the Tincklar's Testament 15); ¶fou' (Gall. 1796 J. Lauderdale Poems 39). [Sc. fu:l, ‡s.Sc. fʌul]
I. adj. 1. Dirty, soiled, unwashed. Now arch. or dial. in Eng. The word does not have the connotation of disgust or repulsion as in St.Eng.
Fif. 1712 Two Students (ed. Dickinson 1952) 74:
For dying foul gloves to Alexr. . 0 2 0 Abd. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife xv.:
Syne pit yer clean chack apron on; Fling that fool faik awa. Ork. 1911 Old-Lore Misc. IV. iv. 186:
Da sark dudna happen tae be ower white, an' da boys cried efter him: “Weel dune, fool sark!” Mry. 1927 E. B. Levack Lossiemouth 40:
Aye wis she ill-guidet, an' keepet that fool!
Combs.: †(1) foul beard, “a blacksmith's mop for his trough” (Dmf. 1825 Jam.); a hazel rod about 30 ins. long with a straw rope fixed on its end, with which the smith waters down the blaze of his fire (Kcb.4 c.1900); (2) foul beast, — fish, a fishermen's tabu-word for the salmon (Bnff. c.1810 W. Cramond Old Cullen (1882) 44); ‡(3) foul-farren, dirty, untidy; nasty, lit. and fig.; (4) foul t(h)ief, the Devil (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.10 1953), now mostly in imprecations. Cf. Luke viii. 12; (5) foul-unlucky, having a propensity to dirt, always getting into a mess in spite of oneself (Abd.27 1953).
(3) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 393:
You have not been longsome, and foul farren both. Spoken to them that have done a Thing in great haste. Ayr. 1927 A. Carruthers A Man Beset 69:
He winna admit it, let alane marry me. He's a foul-farren smaik. (4) Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xiv.:
[To] seek the foul thief onie place, For him to spae your fortune. Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxiii.:
“Satan will never gi'e me amends o' them.” “Did ye ever see the foul thief?” Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xviii.:
Did ye think the bit stot was the Foul Thief himsel' that ye gied that skelloch? Sh. 1932 J. Saxby Trad. Lore 180:
You referred to him [the devil] as . . . the fule tief. (5) Abd. 1928 15 :
Eh, but ye're a fool unlucky beast; see sic a mess ye've made your slip, ye taid.
II. n. or quasi-n. The foul Fiend, the Devil; evil. Cf. I. Combs. (4). Only as an expletive in imprecations or in emphatic neg. expressions, e.g. foul (a) ane, a bit, haet, a styme, etc., not a —, devil a —, foul belicket, foul stick ye, tak ye, etc. Cf. similar expressions s.v. Deil, II. 1. and 2., Fient. Phr. foul (be)fa' . . ., may evil befall . . . (Lth. 1813 G. Bruce Poems II. 83; Sc. 1825 Jam.). See Fa, v., I. 1.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 44:
Our Deacon wadna ca' a chair, The foul ane durst him na-say. Lnk. c.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 228:
Fule haet ye'll do for naething here. Abd. 1797 Aberdeen Mag. 349:
But ha! your best coat on, an' white cravat, An' foul stick pride! a buckish beaver hat. Rnf. 1813 G. MacIndoe Wandering Muse 69:
A fell frecca, forsooth 'bout foul-be-liket! Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 10:
Till foul a bit Carnie's great don, for a' his heicht, Maun knuckle yet. Per. 1898 C. Spence Poems 34:
Feuch, foul may care! she prig nay mair.
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"Foul adj., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Mar 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/foul_adj_n1_v>
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