Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

RUE, n., v. Also rew (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1862 G. Henderson St Matthew xxi. 29, 1907 D. MacAlister Echoes (1923) 167). Sc. usages:

I. n. Sc. derivs. and phrs.: 1. ruefu', rewfu'(s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms xxxviii. 18), rufu, as in Eng., also Sc. usage: terrible, dreadful; 2. rueless, without regret, having no regret; 3. ruesome, sorrowful, pitiable. Also in n.Eng. dial.; 4. to mak a rue (Slg., Fif., Lth., Wgt. 1968), to tak the rue, to repent, regret; to change one's mind about a course of action (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif. 1930; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne.Sc., m. and s.Sc. 1968); to take offence or a dislike (Ayr., Dmf., Slk. 1968). 1. Sc. 1825  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 68:
A deep dungeon-den o' ruefu' rocks, and the waterfa' its ragin prisoner.
Dmf. 1836  J. Mayne Siller Gun 134:
Cou'd sic a ruefu' scene display O' men and guns!
Sh. 1879  Shetland Times (29 April):
Taering doon my barn an' wirkin' rüfu spüllie.
2. Mry. 1804  R. Couper Poetry I. 192:
The goodwife's hand's in Willy's niv — They trip wi' rueless pride.
3. m.Lth. 1870  J. Lauder Warblings 36:
His ruesome ill-faur'd looks.
4. Sc. 1789  Shepherd's Wedding 10:
I own, indeed, I've ta'en the rue, My mind is fairly altered.
Ayr. 1803  A. Boswell Works (1871) 5:
Pledg'd the morn to be your bride — O ha'e ye, ha'e ye, ta'en the rue?
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xl.:
He may hae taen the rue, and kensna how to let me wot of his change of mind.
Slk. 1824  Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xii.:
Turn back! . . . certainly not, unless you hae ta'en the rue.
Dmb. 1844  W. Cross Disruption xxiv.:
He has ta'en the rue already about Shusie.
Lnk. 1881  A. Wardrop Poems 86:
I'm ready for a wife, Mag — You're no tae tak' the rue.
Uls. 1891  R. Mulholland Ailsie's Shoe 246:
“But it's no use takin' the rue now,” she said. “I be to go through with it.”
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 18:
A'm no gaun ti dui'd; A've taen the rewe.
Slg. 1935  W. D. Cocker Further Poems 41:
The fermer took thocht, an' syne pit it to grass, Wi' a guid feed o' aits; but he then took the rue.

II. v. 1. With on: to feel compassion for, to pity (Ags., Fif. 1968). Now arch. in Eng. Ayr. 1788  Burns Fair Eliza i.:
Rew on thy despairing lover! Canst thou break his faithfu' heart?
Sc. 1827  G. R. Kinloch Ballads 61:
To see gin my love will on me rue.
Sc. 1879  P. H. Waddell Isaiah xiv. 1:
For the Lord, he sal rew on Jakob.

2. To regret a promise, bargain or contract into which one has entered, to break or withdraw from a bargain or contract, to resile, back out (n.Sc., Per., Kcb. 1968). Derivs. ruance, an opportunity to withdraw from a lease or contract, ruer, one who repents of a bargain, in proverb below. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 284:
Reavers should not be Ruers.
Fif. 1732  Session Papers, Cleghorn v. Dempster (17 Dec. 1805) App. I.:
Full power and liberty to rew, quitt, and overgive their possession of the said links and communty.
Abd. 1790  A. Shirrefs Poems 87:
Aft has he promis'd, that he wad be true; But, now, I find my lad begins to rue.
Fif. 1808  St Andrews Baxter Bks. (Macadam 1902) 209:
We have a Ruance at the end of the Sixth year, but it is left in our Option to give up or give the raise of Rent.
Rnf. 1861  J. Barr Poems 1:
Dinna ye say no at nicht, And maybe rue the morn.
Cld. 1882  A. Nimmo Songs 19:
Ye'll best rue before ye be bun'.

Comb. rue-bargain, money given as compensation for breaking a bargain or withdrawing from an agreement to buy (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ayr. 1871 J. Paterson Reminisc. 51; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Gall. 1968). Sc. 1818  Scott Rob Roy xxvii.:
It would cost him a guinea of rue-bargain to the man who had bought his pony, before he could get it back again.
Slk. 1920  P. Sulley In Our Burgh 135:
If from special circumstances a transaction needed to be cancelled, it is customary for the one who had to cry off to pay a “rue bargain”.

3. tr. To change one's mind or attitude towards, to reject. wm.Sc. 1907  N. Munro Daft Days xxxi.:
It's not that I'm feared, or that I've rued the gyurl, but — but it's kind of sudden!

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

"Rue n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down