Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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RUCH, adj., adv., n., v. Also rouch, rooch (Bnff. 1926 Banffshire Jnl. (14 Sept.) 5, Fif. 1952 E. Fife Observer (29 May)), reuch (Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangshaw 3; Slk. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 66); rauch (Abd. 1920 C. L. Hay The Cat's Awa 7); roch(e); roach; reoch (Sc. 1945 Scots Mag. (April) 12); rugh (Sc. 1740 Household Bk. Lady G. Baillie (S.H.S.) 386; Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 136, Uls. 1844 R. Huddleston Poems 14), ruh. Sc. forms and usages. [m.Sc. rʌx; ne.Sc., Fif. rox; s.Sc. rʌuxʍ; Ork. rʌux]

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. and phrs.: (1) ruch an' ready, of a meal: plentiful but of plain fare roughly served (Cld. 1880 Jam.); (2) ruch and right, (i) entirely, taking all things into consideration (Ags. 1825 Jam.; Mry.1 1925; Ags. 1968); (ii) “indifferently well” (Abd. 1825 Jam.); (iii) rough and ready, “with somewhat boorish manners and plain speech” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bmff. 229; Sh. 1968); (3) rough and round, adj., of food: plain but substantial. Also used subst. = homely fare; fig. of persons: simple, unsophisticated but of solid worth. Cf. (2) (iii); (4) rough-back (-fluke), the long rough dab, Hippoglossoides platessoides (Abd. 1815 J. Arbuthnot Fishes 59; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 244; Bnff. 1968); (5) rough bear, an inferior variety of barley with four rows of grain on the head; (6) rough blade, the mature leaf of a plant as opposed to the seed leaf (Ork., Cai., Abd., Lnk., Wgt. 1968). Cf. Eng. rough leaf, id. See Blade; (7) rough bounds, with def. art.: a name applied to the mountainous region between the Sound of Mull in Argyllshire and Loch Duich in S.W. Ross, a translation of Gael. Garbh-chrìochan (see quots.); (8) rough coal, a free coal which gen. occurs in strata associated with strata of splint coal (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 56), “but usually applied to coal of inferior quality” (m.Sc. 1937 Econ. Geol. Central Coalfield (H.M.S.O.) I. 160; Lnk. 1968); (9) roch-dyke, a dry-stone wall. Cf. (19). Hence roch-dyker, one who builds dry-stone walls; (10) rough flapper, see Flapper, Suppl.; (11) ruch ginze, dried unground ginger, ginger-stick (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R. 58). See Ginge; (12) rough-handed, violent (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.), tough, pugnacious. Cf. also 7. (1); (13) roughhead, ruhhed, a turf or peat, esp. one cut with the surface grass adhering and dried for fuel (Uls. 1953 Traynor); (14) ruch hide, an animal's skin with the hair still adhering to it, an undressed hide; (15) ruch in the reed, lit. coarse in the grain, of a man: robust, strong (Arg.1 1930). See Reed, n.2; (16) ruch malt, malted barley before it is ground; (17) ruch Rab, the caterpillar of the tiger moth, the woolly bear caterpillar (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.9); (18) ruch rullion, see Rivlin, 4.; (19) ruch stane, (i) a natural boulder (Per., Slg., w.Lth., Ayr., Gall. 1968). Comb. ruch-stane-dyke, a wall of undressed stone, a dry-stone dyke (Bnff., Ags. 1968); (ii) a coarse fellow (w.Lth. 1968). (2) (i) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 37:
An' tak her a' together, rough an' right, She wad na been by far four feet of height.
(iii) Sc. 1935  Sc. N. & Q. (March) 47:
It's roch an' richt at yon toune.
(3) Cld. 1808  Jam.:
They do nae keep a genteel house, but they have ay plenty of rouch and round.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xlvi.:
The feast was, indeed, such as the country itself furnished; for plenty of all the requisites for a “rough and round” dinner were always at Duncan of Knock's command.
Sc. 1825  Scott Journal (18 Dec.):
I love the virtues of rough and round men.
Sc. 1827  C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce II. iv.:
We made a good rough-and-round livin' of it, let me tell you.
(4) Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XVI. 548:
Flounders of all kinds, roughback, plaise.
(5) Sc. 1699  Edb. Gazette (2–6 March):
Oats 12 l. Muirland Oats 9 l. Rough Bear 11 l. per Boll.
Sc. 1771  Encycl. Brit. I. 61:
The Highland barley, more commonly called rough bear.
e.Lth. 1794  G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 76:
The four sided barley, which we call the rough bear or big, is mostly confined to the Fourth District of this county.
Per. 1933  :
There was a common saying in South Perthshire “Ye've a crap for a' corn, and ane for rouch bear” — applied to a greedy person.
(6) Abd. 1958  People's Jnl. (28 June):
Some unca craiter fa'in oot on the neeps, ahin they hid on the roach blade.
(7) Inv. 1808  J. Robertson Agric. Inv. xxxii.:
This range of mountainous ground between the great valley and the Atlantic, is the highest and wildest of all the forbidding surface in the county, and has got the name of the rough bounds. It extends from the head of Moidart, which joins the county of Argyle, to Glensheil in Ross-shire, a distance of 70 miles or more.
Sc. a.1814  J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) II. 552:
In the year 1769, Dr. Stuart of Luss, then a young man, made a tour through Skye, Mull, Raasay, and that part of the continent which is usually termed the rough bounds.
Sc. 1862  W. F. Skene Bk. Dean Lismore xv.:
The Garbh chriochan or rough bounds, consisting of Arisaig, Moydart, Moror and Knoydart.
Sc. 1958  C. I. Maclean Highlands 23:
The Garbhchriochan — “the Rough Bounds” between Loch Duich and Ardnamurchan.
(8) Cld. 1794  J. Naismith Agric. Cld. 36:
This stratum is composed entirely of what is called rough coal in Scotland.
m.Lth. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 I. 559:
The third is the rough coal, generally fourteen yards below the splint, and varying from 4½ to 5½ feet in thickness.
(9) Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb viii.:
Your fader — the roch dyker.
(12) Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxxvii.:
As Mucklebackit and his family were understood to be rough-handed folk, he, the declarant, had no desire to meddle or make with their affairs.
(13) Rxb. 1816  Craig & Laing Hawick Tradition (1898) 204:
They are discharged from casting dry land soads of any part of the Commonty or roughheads (except roughheads in the Mosses).
Sc. 1818  J. Rennie St. Patrick II. xvi.:
Hoy Baldie! gae' wa' an' clod on a creel fu' a' ruh-heds on the ingle.
Lnk. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 VI. 372:
Peats, or rather turfs, called rough-heads.
(14) Rs. 1712  W. MacGill Old Rosshire (1911) II. 89:
To beat the drum in the toune morning and evening — yearly cellarie ¥20 Scots and a roche hyde for schoues.
Sc. 1731  Records Conv. Burghs (1885) 526:
All slaughtered ruch hydes brought to mercat ought to be sold in mercat.
(16) Gsw. 1739  Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1911) 23:
To take the multure of the malt at the milln in ruch malt before it be grinded.
(19) (i) Kcb. 1901  R. D. Trotter Galt. Gossip 78:
Cover't wi muckle rugh stanes, whut they ca'“Boulders” noo-a-days.
em.Sc. 1906  J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay Basin 68–9:
Another haunt [of the wheatear] is found in the “rough-stane dykes” of the “dry-fields”.

2. Derivs.: (1) ruchie, rochie, -y, ruffie, ruffy, n., (i) a wild, venturesome boy (n.Sc. 1968); (ii) a rough, coarse woman (Abd.13 1910, Abd. 1968); (iii) a long wholemeal loaf of rough texture (Ags. 1950); (iv) a shortened variant of rough-back (-fluke), the long rough dab, Hippoglossoides platessoides (ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 244; Abd. c.1935 Fishery Board Gl.). See 1. (4); (v) adj., (a) of the hands: calloused, horny; (b) hairy, shaggy, rough, unkempt (Ork. 1920; Cai. 1968). Combs. ruffy-headed, having rough unkempt hair (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); curly-haired (Ork. 1968). Cf. also Ruff, v.2; ruchie Rab, thick rough-spun bedcover or rug (Slg., Clc. 1968). Cf. 1. (18); (c) of a cabbage: not properly hearted (Sc. 1911 S.D.D., ruffy); (2) rouchlie, ro(a)chly, (i) adv., roughly (Fif. 1878 S. Tytler Scotch Firs I. ii.; Ags. 1882 Brechin Advertiser (28 Nov.) 3; Abd. 1923 J. Imray Village Roupie 33); (ii) adj., rough, careless, slapdash; (3) roughsome, rouchsome, somewhat rough or uneven (Sc. 1825 Jam.); rude, crude, uncouth (Kcb. 1900; Dmb., Kcb. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial. Comb. roughsome-like, rough-looking; (4) rouchtisome, rough (Kcb. 1900); (5) rouchton, a big sturdy roughly-dressed fellow (Kcb. 1900). In 1824 quot. rouchtous is erron. for pl. rouchtons. (1) (iv) Abd. 1815  J. Arbuthnot Fishes 15:
Pleuronectes Limanda, Dab, vulgarly called Rough Back Fleuk, Rochie.
(v) (a) Gall. 1907  A. McCormick Tinkler Gypsies 141–3:
A curious characteristic is the “roughie paws”. . . . The palm of the hand and the inside of the fingers and soles of the feet are covered by a cuticle of the consistence of horn.
(b) Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 32:
An wha set in his ruffie heid bit the Kirk offisher?
(2) (ii) Arg. 1917  A. W. Blue Quay Head Tryst 225:
She was aye a rouchlie yin, was Chirsty.
(3) Sc. 1713  R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) I. 502:
Satirical jesting, taunting or roughsome ways in conversation.
Lnk. 1796  R. Lochore Foppish Taylor 13:
The servant lass, a roughsome hizzie O' manners was sae very scanty.
Dmf. 1826  H. Duncan Sc. Exiles I. xi.:
The road's gey roughsome.
Slk. 1836  Fraser's Mag. (Oct.) 433:
That's a roughsome way o' ganging to work wi' a deeing man!
Lnk. 1844  Lays St Mungo (Lemon) 88:
Sic a roughsome like body I never did see.
Lnk. 1881  D. Thomson Musings 59:
We'll sprauchle yont life's roughsome way.
(5) Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 26:
A pair o' gye strong rouchtous [sic].

3. Abundant, bounteous, plentifully supplied, well-furnished, esp. with good plain fare, as in rough board, -house, -living, -table, etc. (Ags., Ayr., Gall. 1968). Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 145:
He has a Hole under his Nose that will never let him be rough.
Sc. 1808  Jam.:
A gude rouch house, an house where there is abundance of provisions.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 29:
Your belly winna let your back be rough.
Lnk. 1853  W. Watson Poems 33:
Gin ony thing's left wi' the Laird at the en', He maun just mak' the dredgie the rugher.
Knr. 1878  J. L. Robertson Poems 94:
Wha was sae mensefu' or sae douce, Had roucher board or brawer hoose?
Ayr. 1880  J. Tannock Poems 8:
An' may ye aye be rough o' cash.
Kcb. 1890  A. J. Armstrong Ingleside Musings 20:
He's unco rouch wi' the guid red gear.
Slg. 1896  W. Harvey Kennethcrook 128:
“Weel to dae” and “unco rugh” are phrases which, in our common parlance, mean money.
Sc. 1937  St. Andrews Citizen (30 Jan.) 3:
Even in the poorest farm-house is to be found what we in Scotland call “a rough table” [i.e. porridge, kail and potatoes, bannocks and butter], “an occasional fowl, pork and puddings at pig-killing time, a bit of ‘braxy' and of course a haggis”.
Gall. 1952  Sc. Home & Country (Sept.) 270:
There's siller yonder, and he keeps a guid rouch hoose.

Deriv. and comb.: (1) rough dram, an abundance of liquor, enough strong drink to cause drunkenness (n.Sc. 1968); (2) ruch-handit, generous, open-handed (Kcb. 1968); (3) rouchness, abundance, plenty, esp. of homely fare (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; m.Sc. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial. (1) Cai. 1891  D. Stephen Gleanings 34:
He may tak' a roch dram at a time.
Abd. 1900  Scots Mag. (March 1934) 436:
The Essons were given to cudgel play when they had had a “gey roch dram.”
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 25:
Files I micht' a' ta'en a gey roch dram.
(2) Sc. 1824  Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 273:
There was sick roughness o' everything.
Slg. 1825  W. Hone Every-Day Book II. 10:
The desire to enter the new year rife o' roughness.
Sc. 1838  Whistle-Binkie 58:
He said he was a lairdie, O' riggs and roughness plenty.
Per. 1857  D. Garvie Life Ploughboy 79:
Come, here's a public-house; let's change a pound and haud roughness.
Uls. 1929  M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 70:
Yiz can have a brave roughness in the house.

4. Of the growth of grass or crops: strong, luxuriant, dense (Sh., Bnff., Bwk., Lnk., Kcb. 1968); luxuriant but of poor quality, rank (Uls. 1953 Traynor); gone to seed (Cai. 1968). Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 307:
I saw gran swankies o' nowt on't, feeding on rough claver fiels.
Sc. 1831  Fife Herald (9 June):
The oats and barleys look healthy and promising, and are already rough enough to resist the drought.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 229:
Pit the caar oot o' the roch girs an' nae o' the hauch.

5. Of a bone: having meat on it (Sc. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 265; Per., Slg., Ayr. 1968). m.Lth. 1794  G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) 42:
Mony a dainty rough fat bane.
Sc. 1826  Scott Woodstock xx.:
A hungry tyke ne'er minds a blaud with a rough bane.
Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr. Duguid 22:
A good supply of hard boiled eggs and rough banes in a pock.

6. Of sheep: unshorn, unclipped (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Bwk., sm. and s.Sc. 1968). Also in n.Eng. dial. Bwk. 1875  Encycl. Brit. I. 396:
Few fat sheep are now sent to market rough after the 1st of April.
Gall. 1933  Gallov. Annual 81:
The Galloway shepherds' toast, “Tar, Rugh Sheep, and Whusky!”
Dmf. 1956  Dmf. & Gall. Standard (11 Aug.) 12:
B F Hogg (rough), hole in near ear.

7. Lewd, foul-mouthed, indecent, immoral (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Ayr.. Kcb. 1968). Comb. and deriv.: (1) rouch-handit, promiscuous (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Cf. also 1. (13); (2) rouchness, lewd or unchaste behaviour (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxiii.:
Faur'll ye get a rocher, coorser breet?
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 68:
O' dyvor Tam, the drucken loon, The rouchest stick in a' the toon.
Bnff. 1924  Swatches o'Hamespun 41:
Fan he ca'ed her bi yon roch, coorse wird that I sanna come aff wi' here.
Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 192:
Kirky never wid alloo a lot o' roch news to gyang on as lang's he wis aside.
Abd. 1950  Huntly Express (29 Sept.):
The lads singing corn-kisters, or tellin' roch baurs, or maybe playing the melodeon.

8. Raw, uncooked. Sc. 1793  T. Scott Poems 351:
A rive o' gait, or fowl, Ha'f rough, ha'f roastit on a coal.

9. Hoarse (Per. 1968). A rouch hass, a hoarse throat (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

II. adv. 1. Combs.: (1) rouch-living, living in a dissolute, debauched or immoral way, of a man (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Per. 1968). Cf. adj., 7.; (2) rough-spun, coarsely-made or -featured (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.); of manners: rough, crude, unpolished (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; em.Sc.(a) 1968); of a company: brawling, rowdy. Also in n.Eng. dial. (2) Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 10:
Then Scota heard, and said: “Your rough-spun ware Sounds but right douff an' fowsome to my ear.”
Slk. 1822  Hogg Perils of Man II. vii.:
A gay rough spun cout he was.
Dmf. 1830  W. Bennet Traits Sc. Life III. 271:
Weel, gif Janet be leevin' when we get hame, I think it'll be a rough-spun house about our teiglement the nicht.
Fif. 1847  R. Peattie MS.:
Quoth a rough wooer to a rough woman, “Come into my arms, my rouch-spun darlin'; my very heart's spreckled for ye.”

2. In a comfortable or well-supplied state (Ags., Per., Kcb. 1968). Ags. 1858  People's Journal (23 Jan.) 3:
Leaving 2s 7½d for the rest of the week. The gentleman would not live very rough on that.

III. n. 1. (1) Land in an unimproved, virgin condition (Sh., n.Sc., Ayr. 1968). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Abd. 1936  D. Bruce Cheengefu' Wordle 28:
Faither wid impruve the lan' like masel' — ‘at's taen the feck o't in fae the roch?
Bnff. 1968  Northern Scot. (27 Jan.) 4:
The farm of Mid Skeith . . . comprising: Arable . . 156.57 acres, Rough . . .73 acres.

(2) The rough ground at the edge of a golfcourse. Now St. Eng. Sc. 1901  Scotsman (9 Sept.) 4:
Thanks to Vardon having pulled into the rough, the Scotsman secured the sixteenth [hole].

2. The major part of anything (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., wm.Sc., Gall. 1968). Also in superl. rochest, id. Ayr. 1889  H. Johnston Glenbuckie 74:
Noo that Robert Simpson has been left the rough o' the siller.
Abd. 1913  D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 102:
Man, it took me near a hail week ta get aff the rochest o't.
Arg. 1931 2 :
We aalways lake tae get the ruch o' the wark done afore denner-time.

3. A frost-nail in a horse-shoe (Rnf. 1968).

IV. v. To use nails with projecting heads in shoeing a horse to prevent slipping in frosty weather, to frost-nail a horse (Uls. 1929; Kcb. 1968). Ppl.adj. roughed, raucht, shod in this way (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Appar. colloq. or dial. Eng. m.Lth. 1897  P. H. Hunter J. Armiger xvi.:
“I'd raither see a steedy black frost mysel'”, observed Steen Scoular. “To gie you plenty o' jobs roughin' horses, Steen”.
Uls. 1901  J. W. Byers in Northern Whig:
When in frosty weather the shoes are fastened on by means of nails which have projecting heads they are said to be “roughed”.

Ruch adj., adv., n., v.

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"Ruch adj., adv., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Dec 2017 <>



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