Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ROW, v.1, n. Also rowe; rou(w). Dim. n. forms rowack, rowie. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. roll. See P.L.D. § 78. 2. The forms roul (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 79), roule, rowl (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 120; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd. 1929 Abd. Univ. Review (July) 226; Sh. 1960 New Shetlander No. 54. 13) are mixed Sc.-Eng. forms, forms, prob. chiefly survivals of 18th-c. Eng. variants. [rʌu]

I. v. 1. tr. As in ‡Eng., to convey in a barrow or other wheeled vehicle, to wheel (Gen.Sc.); specif. to wheel cut peats to a suitable place for drying them. Ppl.adj. in comb. rowan match, a wheelbarrow race (ne.Sc. 1896 Gregor MSS.). Phr. pit that in yer barra an' row it, = Eng. “put that in your pipe and smoke it” (Abd. 1968). Abd. 1733  Session Papers, Fraser v. Buchan (27 Feb.) 6:
Casting, rowing, and leading of Peats.
Ork. 1769  P. Fea Diary (Feb.):
My men . . . rowing the Tang.
Abd. 1868  G. Gall MS. Diary (24 Sept.):
Scrapping dubbs and rowing it to the midden.
Ags. 1899  Barrie W. in Thrums ii.:
He'll be to row the minister's luggage to the post-cart.
Abd. 1912  J. Stephen Donside Lilts 8:
I rowed the peats in Denny's moss.
Abd. 1931  D. Campbell Uncle Andie 10:
Pit that in yer barra an' rowe it.

2. As in Eng., to trundle or impel forward, specif. to roll a hoop or gird. Gen.Sc. Phr. to row one's ain gird, to depend upon oneself, to mind one's own business (Abd.13 1910). Edb. 1821  Blackwood's Mag. (Aug.) 35:
Rowing girrs forms another healthy exercise to the boys of Edinburgh.
Mry. 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 75:
The boys had gone to the back streets to “rowe” their girds.
Fif. 1912  Rymour Club Misc. II. 193:
To chow at some auld hardy heel, Rowed in a kebbuck like a wheel.

3. To play a bowl or curling stone (Bnff., Ags., Ayr. 1968). Rare or dial. in Eng. Also fig. as in 17. Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 192:
He taught auld Tam to hale the dules, And eidant to row right the bowls.
Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems 15:
Perhaps alang the ice, wi' grane, The gamester rows his curlin'-stane.
Rnf. 1853  J. Fraser Chimes 62:
I'll hae tae be circumspect now, and row my bowls richt.
Dmf. 1904  J. Gillespie Hum. Sc. Life 96:
Scotch Skip to his Vice-Skip — Weel soled, ma mannie! weel soled! Now row her in.
Abd. 1925  A. Murison Rosehearty Rhymes 124:
It's fine to be rowin' the bools on the green.

4. To form cotton or newly-carded wool into a roll before it is spun (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Vbl.n. row(i)n(g), rowan, a roll of this nature (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 414; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Fig. in phr. to cast a rowan, to bear an illegitimate child (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poet. Gl.). Sc. 1727  A. Law Educ. Edb. (1965) 226:
The twisting of threed bleching milning Hanking or Reeling Back rowing and upmaking of the same.
Sc. 1748  Session Papers, Blair v. Blair (1 Jan.) 4:
The Defender did make ready a Rowen of Wool, by warming it at the Fire.
Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIX. 207:
In the year 1789, a water-mill was first erected near Aberdeen, with machinery for teasing, scrubbling, carding, and rowing of wool.
Ayr. 1834  Galt Liter. Life I. 52:
A woman spinning wool on what is called in the west of Scotland “the muckle wheel”, turning the periphery round most majestically with one hand, and drawing the thread out from the rowan with the other.
Sc. 1869  D. Bremner Industries 161:
Hand-piecing, too, necessarily stretched the loosely combined cardings, and careless children sometimes carried this “rackin' the rowin's”, as it was called, to such an extent as often to make the yarn quite unfit for tweeds.
Lnk. 1928  W. C. Fraser Yelpin' Stane 17:
The carding-mill, where the woollen rowans were prepared for the spinning-wheel.
Dmf. 1963  Scots Mag. (April) 55:
She was sent with “rowin's” to a house beside Euchan Bridge six miles away.

5. To gather (cut corn) into a neat bundle for making a sheaf. Phrs. to row a luchter, — a nievefu, to twist a handful of standing corn in cutting it with a sickle to make it easier to lay in the band (see quots.). See also Lachter, n.2, 2. Ppl.adj. rowed, of corn: gathered into sheaves. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 323:
Some reapers are better than others at rowing luchters.
Sc. 1825  Jam.:
To row a nievefu', to turn round every cut of corn, so that all the stalks may be intermingled, in order that a great part of a sheaf may be retained in the hand before it be laid in the band. A reaper does well if he can fill the band at three handfuls.

6. Only in vbl.n. rolling, a method of smearing sheep by rolling in a special salve as opposed to rubbing the salve into partings made in the fleece. See also Slipe, v.3, 2. (2). Fif. 1844  Scot. Farmer (Sept.) 73:
Those who are in the habit of what is called slyping, in the south of Scotland, are not competent persons for applying the oil and tallow salve, unless they are also acquainted with the method called rolling.

7. To wind, twist, twine (Sh., n. and m.Sc. 1968). Sc. 1826  A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. 120:
There's not a lord in the empire but what ye might rowe round your little finger.
Edb. 1851  A. Maclagan Sketches 95:
Her withered limbs, like twa auld eels, Are roun' and roun' ilk ither row't.

8. To clench (the fist) (Dmf. 1968). Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (May) 583:
See how the auld men shake their heads, and the youngsters rowe their neives.

9. To wrap up or in, to envelop in (Uls 1953 Traynor); to wrap round, also fig.; to bandage. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shep. iii. ii.:
A Fundling that was laid Right clean row'd up.
Sc. 1762  Session Papers, Magistrates Old Abd. v. Middleton (9 Aug.) 6:
She saw James Nicol have his hand rowed up.
Sc. 18th c.  Merry Muses (1911) 51:
Wap and rowe the feetie o't.
Slk. 1810  Hogg Poems (1874) 276:
Wi' hinny words I row'd my tongue.
Sc. 1824  S. Ferrier Inheritance i. iv.:
Nae sa muckle as a wise-like windin' sheet to row ye in.
Abd. 1851  W. Anderson Rhymes 92:
She wad baith rub and squeeze Strained shouthers, ankles, wrists, an' knees, Then row wi' duds ta'en frae the aumrie.
Wgt. 1880  G. Fraser Lowland Lore 88:
The paper which the purchased groceries were “rowed” in.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 23:
There's no ane can row a sair wi' ae-half her canny care.
Sh. 1906  T. P. Ollason Spindrift 67:
Rowe it in a scaur o' paper.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 18:
The bairn'll taik nae ill; ee hev um weel rowd up.
Abd. 1932  R. L. Cassie Scots Sangs 13:
Roon oor herts a threid it's rowin'.
Sh. 1937  J. Nicolson Yarns 96:
An' fir ta buy a bull's skin, To rouw peerie bairnie in.

10. With up: to pack (a trunk etc.). s.Sc. a.1817  Bk. Sc. Song (Whitelaw) 79:
Lucy rowed up her wee kist wi' her a' in't.

11. Mainly with up: to wind a clock, watch, or similar mechanism (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., m. and s.Sc. 1968), to wind up a fishing-reel. Used with passive force in 1918 quot. Abd. 1725  Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica (1784) v. 42:
He shall roule the clock day and night.
Lth. 1885  J. Strathesk More Bits 27:
A clock is for keeping time if it's rowed up.
Gsw. 1904  H. Foulis Erchie xxi.:
Their bonny wee watches that never gang because they're never rowed up.
Ags. 1918  J. Inglis The Laird 8, 13:
Oor Jock's the ane intae the hoose Wha's watch rows up an' gaes . . . I tak' to my flask when I come till a burn, I drink the flask dry, syne I row up my pirn.
Rnf. 1927  J. H. Bone Loud-Speaker 20:
Rowe your thing up again, Wullie, and gie's a tune.
Arg. 1936  L. McInnes S. Kintyre 22:
The knock's stoppit: away an' row it up.
Ayr. 1961  :
The nock's staunin an needs rowed up.

12. With on, of blessings: to descend upon, fall abundantly over a person. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 130:
A' Blessings, Ramsay, on thee row.
Abd. 1778  Weekly Mag. (18 Feb.) 184:
May rowth o' blessings on him row.

13. Mainly in pass. with intae: to be involved or embroiled in (m. and s.Sc. 1968). Fif. 1883  W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 28:
I was as near bein' rowed into a municipal contest as there was ony use for.
s.Sc. 1933  Border Mag. (Dec.) 180:
You're rowed intae't tae, Backburnbus.
Rxb. 1958  Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 26:
We could be row'd inteh a fecht.

14. intr. To move with a rolling or staggering gait, to waddle, to lurch or stumble along, jog on (Sh., Ags., Per., Kcb. 1968). Phr. to row about, to be in an advanced state of pregnancy (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 174:
Let's laugh and sing while we are gleg . . . But still detest the masked dreg As lang's we row.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 62:
He was a body gaed rockin and rowin, For he had a stracht leg and ane wi'a bow in't.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 105:
Lang may you row, trow, guzzle, swatter.
Gsw. 1877  A. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 177:
Rowin' hame bockin the waur o't.
Dmf. 1899  Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 373:
He row'd aboot for mony a day On crutches wi an empty wame.

15. To move about, fidget, toss and turn restlessly (Sh., n. and m.Sc. 1968). Rnf. 1792  A. Wilson Watty and Meg (1808) 8:
A' night lang he rowt and gaunted.
Fif. 1873  J. W. Wood Ceres Races 78:
She doofs and birses Fluter doon, Wha rows an' whumles i' the poke.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 18:
Hei canna sit still a meenint; ei duist rowes aboot.
m.Sc. 1928  O. Douglas Ann and Her Mother 76:
To rowe aboot in this bed a' nicht.

16. To rock with mirth. Abd. 1832  W. Scott Poems 70:
The flick'rin hissies leugh an' row'd like daft.

17. Of bowls: to roll towards the jack (Bnff., Ags., Kcb. 1968). Freq. in fig. or proverbial usage referring to human affairs and fortunes, “how things go”. Cf. 3. and Bool, n.1, 2. Sc. 1710  R. Wodrow Corresp. (1842) I. 133:
Taking a tripp into the Assembly to see how all the bowls roll.
Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shep. ii. iii.:
I'll try my art to gar the bowls row right.
Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel xxvii.:
My lieges keep a' their happiness to themselves; but let bowls row wrang wi' them, and I am sure to hear of it.
Ags. 1848  W. Durie Lost Fisherman 5:
I thocht this mornin' something wad row ill.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
See wi' oor ain een fat wye the bools'll row?
Hdg. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 77:
The stanes at Laigh-lea hae gotten a new birler, an' hoo they'll row for Robin an' Effie I canna say.

18. Of sheep: to roll over on the back (em., wm.Sc. 1968). Vbl.n. rowing. Ayr. 1925  Scottish Farmer (3 Jan.):
A very common trouble at this time is getting the sheep lying on their backs. This is locally known as “couping,” “awalting,” or “rowing”.
Peb. 1964  Stat. Acc.3 57:
A ewe is apt to be lost if she tumbles on her back and is not rescued in time. Such an animal . . . may be said to be rowed.

19. Combs., phrs. and derivs.: (1) as ready to row as rin, said of an extremely fat person (Ork., Abd. 1968); (2) putt and row, see Putt, n.1, 3. (1); (3) readier to row nor rin, = (1) (Abd.7 1925); (4) rolled, of an animal's feet, esp. an ox: deformed in such a way as to cause a rolling or shambling gait; (5) rower, -ar, -ir, rouer, rowler, (i) a rolling pin used in baking (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. XI. 324; ne.Sc., Kcb. 1968), freq. of a ribbed or grooved type used in baking oatcakes (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.55; wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.). Obs. In Eng.; (ii) a porter who wheels cargo from a vessel in a barrow, a barrowman; (iii) a rounded wooden stick used to level the grain in a dry measure (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1968). Cf. Straik; (iv) a roll of newly-carded wool ready for spinning (Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.; I.Sc., Cai. 1968). Cf. 4.; (v) a swaddling band for a child. Rare and obs. in Eng.; (vi) a large marble (Mry.1 1925, rowler); (6) row-heid, (i) the end of the mill-trough where the water falls on to the wheel (Abd.2 1932; Ork.1 1962), ? for trowheid (Troch, n.1, 4.); (ii) a handle for turning a cylinder (Ayr. 1951); (7) rollie pin, roll-a-pin, an action in a ball game when the player moves his hands with a circular motion as though inside a large muff while the ball bounces off the ground or off a wall before he attempts to catch it (Sc. 1952 Folklore LXIII. 230; Slg., Kcb. 1968); (8) row-shoudert, round-shouldered (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968). Also rowed in the shouders (ld.); (9) rollin spans, a term in the game of marbles (Abd.13 1910); (10) rowin steen, a loose stone which rolls when trodden upon; (11) rowin tree, a wooden roller for the soil; (12) row-rantie, a children's game of rolling down a slope. Cf. Row-chow; (13) row-tree, the wooden drum on which the net-rope of a salmon-net is wound as the net is drawn ashore (Bwk. 1960). See Tree; (14) to roll over on, to transfer, remit, consign, turn over (a matter) to; (15) to row raither than rin, said of a drunk person unable to keep his feet. Cf. (1); (16) to row someone's tail, to pull someone's leg; (17) to row to someone's hand, to fall in with someone's interests, to pander to, suit. (1) Bnff. 1933  M. Symon Deveron Days 5:
A' his bodygaird was a fozelin' tyke As ready to row's to run.
Abd. 1955  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xvii.:
A short stoot blyunky kin' o' a crater, as ready tae row's rin.
(4) Sc. 1772  D. Hume Trial for Crimes (1800) I. 340:
A black ox, rolled in the hind feet.
(5) (i) Dmb. 1846  W. Cross Disruption xv.:
She thought it necessary to bring all the baking apparatus from Whinnyside, since it was not probable that there would be either a “kneading rower” or a “firing girdle” in Edinburgh.
Abd. 1873  J. Ogg Willie Waly 60:
Bread toasters an' girdles . . . an' cordet bread rollers.
(ii) Edb. 1709  D. Robertson Bailies of Leith (1915) 84:
The porters, rouers & other workmen in the toun of Leith.
(iii) Dmf. 1748  J. Burnett Crim. Law (1811) App. ix.:
A roller (a rod or baton used in measuring grain with a peck or firlot).
(iv) Sh. 1898  Shetland News (19 Feb.):
Shü ran doon da hidmist rower o' a knuck.
Ork. 1913  Old-Lore Misc. VI. i. 24:
When the wool had been combed and turned a few times on the cards. it was curled over in a roll on the toothed side of one card, and after a final pat with the wooden back of the other card, the rowar was completed and carefully deposited on the seat of a stool.
Sh. 1923  Shetlander No. 3. 2:
Shu took twartree roond turns o da rowir aboot da heidgear o da wheel.
Ork. 1949  “Lex” But-end Ballans 15:
I sat an' cairded for a while, De rowers raze i' foamon pile.
(v) Abd. 1905  W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 221:
It's a ‘roller' an' a ‘barrie' that ye're needin shapeit.
(10) Kcd. 1889  Stonehaven Jnl. (14 Mar.):
We hae an abundance o' knibblachs an' rowin' steens.
(11) Sc. 1743  Edb. Testaments MSS. (Reg. Ho.) cvii.:
A brake with a rowing tree.
(12) Ayr. 1879  R. Adamson Lays 49:
Weel, weel I mind the sunny braes We played “row-rantie” on.
(14) Sc. 1730  T. Boston Memoirs (1852) 417:
I advised her to roll the case over on the Lord.
(15) Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Doric 11:
Noo Tam wid raither rowe than rin, an' scarce could haud a fit.
(16) wm.Sc. 1868  Laird of Logan 425:
Some wag had been rowing the Hosier's tail, by sending him on a thieveless errand.
(17) Sc. 1746  S.C. Misc. (1841) 398:
I hear it whispered that it is in order to row to Sir Archbalds hand.

II. n. †1. As in Eng., a list of names, in 1794 quot. referring to the poor's roll s.v. Puir, II. 1. (11) (ii). Sc. 1794  J. Grahame Poems 97:
And, while puir bodies on the row, I' th' kitchen stan their cuds to chow.
Edb. 1821  W. Liddle Poems 31:
If ye'd been o' the batch'lor row.

2. A roll of tobacco (Sh., Per., Kcb. 1968), esp. in comb. Bogie row, see Bogie. Dmf. 1817  W. Caesar Poems 94:
An' than your spleuchan — ay I see't, . . . I wish ye had twa thousand feet O' Glasgow row.
Sh. 1901  T. P. Ollason Mareel 21:
An' wi' a fill o' bogie rowe Firget my troubles dere.
Abd. 1918  W. B. Morren The Hert Aye 7:
An' I'se pit in some bogie rowe, an' twa'r-three pair o' socks.

3. A roll of carded wool (Sh. 1968). Cf. I. 19. (5) (iv). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 230:
She diz nothing bit spin rows.

4. The high-water mark on a beach (Rs. 1968); a roll of seaweed along this line (Mry.1 1925, Mry. 1968). Rs. 1949  Gsw. Herald (7 Feb.):
It [bad food] is therefore thrown down “the row” (beach).

5. A roller used for levelling grain on the top of a measure, a Straik. Sc. 1743  Edb. Testaments MSS. (Reg. Ho.) cvii.:
A peese firlot a forpett cap and a roll.
Lth. 1801  J. Thomson Poems 8:
A forpit-dish, a tatie-peck, A firlot, an' a row.
Kcd. 1893  C. A. Mollyson Fordoun 294:
The “row” [firlot-row] was used for sweeping off surplus grain from the firlot or bushel when filled.

6. A plump person, a fat, untidy, lazy woman (Dmf.3 1920; Kcb. 1968). Gall. 1904  E.D.D.:
A fat row o' a body.

7. A small round loaf of bread, a bread roll, esp. one eaten at breakfast, a morning roll (Sh., ne., wm. and sm.Sc. 1968); in ne.Sc., esp. in dims. rowie, rowack (Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C. 34, Mry.1 1925), a roll of a short flaky consistency with butter as a chief ingredient (ne.Sc., Ags. 1968). Ayr. 1811  W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 688:
A penny or half penny loaf, which is sometimes denominated a row.
Sc. 1823  Scott St. Ronan's W. ii.:
As for the letters, they may bide in her shop-window, wi' the snaps and bawbee rows.
Sc. 1826  R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 127:
I've an aunty down at Leith, Wi' four and twenty timmer teeth; Ten to chack, and ten to chow, And four to eat a bawbee-row.
Ayr. 1845  A. McKay Lilts (1868) 129:
A gaucie row or sonsie scone.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 42:
The floor aff the rows on the table.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 7:
A gowpeenfih berries or a penny gray rowe.
Abd. 1952  Abd. Press and Jnl. (19 Feb.):
If you reduce the butter contents in the ‘rowies', what is there left?
Ags. 1962  Scots Mag. (Oct.) 4:
Porridge . . . was far from being the universal breakfast, this honour undoubtedly going to “a rou an' a cuppa tea” — the rolls being eaten hot from the bakehouse.

8. The slope of the ground, used in connection with games involving the rolling of a ball, bowl, or marble. Phrs. to be up to the row, to ken the row, to know all about something, to know the ropes, to know the lie of the land (Dmb. 1965). Dmb. 1949  Kirkintilloch Herald (7 Sept.):
The methods by which the homesters, “up to the row”, circumvented the topographical handicaps.

9. A term used in reckoning the score in Ork. football (see quot.). Ork. 1940 1 :
If the boundary was a dyke and the ball hit it, that was called a “row”; if the ball went over the dyke, that was a “hail”, and counted as five “rows”.
Ork. 1967  J. Robertson Uppies 127:
The lofted kick was called a hail and counted as five goals or “rows”.

10. Phr. row o' the ship, the rolling gait of a sailor (Abd. 1911).

[The vocalised form row is found in O.Sc. from 1475, roll of paper, to enroll, 1477, a list, 1500, a roll of bread, 1675, to roll, 1513, to trundle, 1553.]

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"Row v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Dec 2017 <>



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