Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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KYAUVE, v., n. Also kyave, kiauve; kev, kaew. [ne. Sc. kjɑ:v, Sh. ke:v. See P.L.D. § 141.1.]

I. v. Forms: pa.t. wk. kyaved; st. †kew, keuve; pa.p. kyauven (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98). Usages:

1. To toil, wrestle laboriously, to struggle, to expend much energy, gen. with little effect (Ib.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), kev; Sh., ne.Sc. 1960). Also with wi'. Ppl.adj. kyauvin, hard-working, struggling hard in the grip of poverty or physical disability (Gregor). Vbl.n. kyauvan, the act of struggling or of working hard (Ib.).   Ib.:
He kyauvet wee the coo for mair nor an oor afore he got 'ir awa fae the toon.
Mry. 1921  M. M. Dawson Tinkers Twa 43:
An' the hafflin fusselt “Braes o' Mar” As he kyaved wi his ploughin' team.

2. To move or toss about restlessly, esp. in bed, to tumble about, to wrestle in fun, to lie sprawling (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Abd. 1960). Ppl.adj. kyauvin', restless, active, gen. of children (Gregor), vbl.n. kyauvan. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 98:
The man wiz fou, and fell clyte our, an' keuve amo' the dubs, till ye widna kent 'im.
Abd. 1938 2 :
Maggie, yer bairns are doon at the roadside kaewin' amo' the dubs.

3. To knead (Mry. 1808 Jam.; Cai.9 1939). Vbl.n. kyauvan, the act of kneading (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98). Mry. 1806  R. Jamieson Ballads II. 183:
Then ye do buy a leaf o' wax, And kiauve it weel, and mould it fair.

4. To gnaw, to keep chewing (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98; Cai.9 1939). Vbl.n. kyauvan (Gregor).

II. n. A struggle, lit. and fig., exertion, a turmoil (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 98; ne.Sc. 1960); the act of kneading.   Gregor:
Gee the livven a gueede kyauve.
Bnff. 1872  W. Philip It 'ill a' come Richt xii.:
See til Jean Tamson yon'or . . . aye in a kyave o' dirt an' never throu.
Mry. c.1920  :
To do a thing with a kyauve is to do it with reluctance.

[A variant of Cave, v.1, Keave, q.v., Norw. kava, to wrestle about, exert oneself, struggle, kav, wrestling, turmoil, bustle, O.N. kafa, to plunge, dive. The word may to some extent have been confused in usage with Tyauve.]

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"Kyauve v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2018 <>



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