Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

HUE, n. Also hew and hu (Sh.).

Sc. usages:

1. Look, appearance, aspect (Sh., Ags. 1957). Now obs. in Eng. Abd. 1801  W. Beattie Parings 34:
Tho' we were dress'd, this creeshy woo' Wou'd soon rub out the mangle hue.

2. A very small quantity, a little portion, often of food or drink, a whit, a very few (Rnf., Rxb., w.Sc. 1825 Jam.; wm.Sc. 1957). Dim. forms wee hue, huie. Phr. ne'er a hue, not a whit, not a degree. Also used adv. Sc. 1813  The Scotchman 118:
Twathree bits o thriftie lassocks, that had been brocht up at the cow's tail, and had gat some hue o his pose.
Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick I. vi.:
The hettest bensil o' the sin in the lang days o' simmer can har'ly thow a hue o' the snaw.
Slk. 1820  Hogg Tales (1874) 187:
She was gaun to try the hill road, that she might be hame wi' some hue o' day.
wm.Sc. 1835  Laird of Logan 281:
The stour kicked up by the dancers was like to mak' the maist of us on-lookers a wee hue hearse.
Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 41:
But ne'er a hue they're [teeth] better.
Rnf. 1873  J. Nicholson Wee Tibbie 60:
Here's a wee hue o' raisins.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 124:
I put a hue of seerup in a bottle.
Ayr. 1920  Scottish Farmer (11 Sept.):
A wee pickle saut an' a hew o' pepper.

3. The complexion, (the appearance of) the skin, in phrs. (1) atween (de) hu and (de) hair, by a very narrow margin, with great difficulty, “touch and go” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)), also as an excl. expressing incredulity (Id.); (2) by hu or hair, at all costs, by hook or by crook; (3) hue and hair, “main force; every effort or inducement” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (4) neither hue nor hair, adv., in no way, not a whit (Sh., Cai. 1957); (5) to come to hyd or hew, to return to the original bloom, to be freed from surface dirt. (1) Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
I gat him to dø it atween hu and hair.
(2)   Id.:
Tak' de coo t'rough by hu or hair.
(4) Sc. 1822  Blackwood's Mag. (Sept.) 311:
Though the House of Commons is neither hue nor hair changed frae what it was, things hae come round.
(5) Lth. 1825  Jam.:
It's sae dirty, it 'ill never come to hyd or hew.

[O.Sc. hew(e), in sense 1. from c.1420, hide and hew are found in association from the same date. E.Mid.Eng. hēow, complexion, appearance, colour.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Hue n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Mar 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down