Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SCARROW, n., v. Also skarrow, scarra; skerry, scairy. [′skɑrə]

I. n. 1. A faint light or reflection of light, of the moon, from a wall, etc. (Gall. 1825 Jam.; Kcb., Dmf. 1969). Also fig. a figure of speech, a metaphor. Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 7:
He stalks the bent, wi' scarrow o' the moon.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xi.:
The red glow of the dying fire at Craigdarroch lay in a low “skarrow” of lurid light on the water.
Dmf. 1894  Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 155:
Skerry, or Scairy, a shadow, a reflection, a metaphor. A woman was telling me how she had employed her Sunday reading in Revelation, when I began to corner her concerning the woman clothed with the sun, explaining how many thousand times it was larger than the earth, and so inconceivably hot that any woman would have melted in a moment, when she answered me rather patt — “Oh! sir, St. John's account o' her maun be a scairy”.
Kcb. a.1900  Gallovidian No. 59. 109:
The scarra o' this lang't-for age appears Like to the sun, when he his risin' nears.
Sc. 1936  J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 22:
He lowses by the scarrow o' the müne.

2. A shadow (Slk. 1825 Jam.), shade. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 421:
The scarrow o' a hill, the scarrow o' a craw, the shadow of a crow, — on the earth when it flies in the air.
Kcb. 1909  Gallovidian No. 44. 177:
I gaed a glent . . . alang by the scarrow o'e hill.
Dmf. 1917 2 :
Come oot o' the sun intae the scarra.

II. v. To emit a faint light, to gleam intermittently or indistinctly. Gall. 1825 ,
It is said of the moon, It's scarrowing.
s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xv.:
A strong moon was scarrowing through the clouds.

[Irreg. variant of shadow. For r in place of a dental, cf. porridge < potage.]

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

"Scarrow 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