Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SKEW, v.2, adj., adv., n.2 Also skeu, sku(e), scew, scue; skeugh, skeuch (ne.Sc.); sceow, sk(y)(e)ow, skyou, skowe; scoo (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.) and erron. schew- (ne.Sc.); and reduplic. nonce forms skaoowaoo, squouwow, skeewow, skee whee. Sc. forms and usages. [skju; ne.Sc. skjʌu, †skjux]

1. v. ¶1. tr. To shun, avoid, take shelter from (rain or the like) (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

2. intr. To go in an oblique direction, to move sideways, to go off the straight, to sway from side to side in an affected manner, to swagger (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 165, skyow; Bnff., Abd. 1970). Ppl.adj. skewed, see 1880 quot. Abd. 1813  D. Anderson Poems 112:
Contemplating ilk foppish brat That's got a sword and cocket hat To see them skew and skip about.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 165:
The dyke's beginning t' skyow.
wm.Sc. 1880  Jam.:
A half-drunk person, when walking zig-zag, is said to be skew'd.
Sh. 1897  Shetland News (16 Oct.):
Try ta mend dy weeked wies, an' niver skew.

3. tr. and intr. To twist, distort, turn sideways, screw round: (1) in gen. and fig. (Sc. 1880 Jam.; ne. and em.Sc.(a), Lth., wm. and sm.Sc. 1970). Now chiefly dial. in Eng. Ppl.adj. skeuched, twisted to one side (Abd., Kcd. 1825 Jam.), badly made, shapeless (Gall. 1904 E.D.D., scood), skyowt, off the plumb (Gregor), down at heel, of shoes, skewed, demented, off one's head (Per. 1808 Jam.). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 165:
He hid on aul' skyowt bashles o' beets.
Sc. 1869  A. Leighton Sc. Words 24:
His theologic veesion may be skew'd.
Kcd. 1933  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 333:
Rob skeughed his face round, What, money for school?

(2) of the feet, legs or gait: to splay, turn outwards or awry; “to walk with a waddling gait” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 165). Ppl.adj., vbl.n., skyowan, -in (Id.). Hence skyeowed, splay-footed (Abd. 1970); deriv. skewtsie, “rubbing the legs together as one walks” (Ork. 1958). Abd. 1880  W. Robbie Yonderton 8:
The latter turned out a good deal at the toes, or, to speak more plainly, “skyeowed.”

(3) intr., of the eyes, glance, etc.: to squint naturally or on purpose, to look askance in a suspicious or disapproving manner. Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. skewed, squint(-eyed) (wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.). wm.Sc. 1907  N. Munro Daft Days ii.:
The letter-carrier's eyes may — may skew a little.
Lnk. 1922  T. S. Cairncross Scot at Hame 13:
I've skewed and skeighed and skirled and skelped.
Kcd. 1934  L. G. Gibbon Grey Granite 33:
Ma Cleghorn would skeugh at you over her specs.

4. intr. To quarrel, to fall out, disagree (Abd. 1911 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. IV. 50; ne.Sc. 1970). Mry. 1921  T.S.D.C.:
“Far's Sammie?” “A dinna ken; me an' him's skeowt i' noo.”
ne.Sc. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 11, 66:
The wife an' me's like to skyow. . . . Sceowt, hae ye?

II. adj. Off the straight, oblique, wry, slanted (Gall. 1904 E.D.D., scoo; Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 154, skaoowaoo, Ork. 1970, skeewow; Inv., ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Lnk. 1970); of the feet: splay (ne.Sc. 1966). Sc. 1911  S.D.D.:
Skew-mouth. A crooked mouth. Skew-mouth plane, a kind of joiner's plane.
Abd. 1920  A. Robb MS. iv.:
His feet was gey and sair laid oot — skyow as a body wad say.
Kcd. 1933  Scots Mag. (Jan.) 248:
Reddish hair and a high, skeugh nose.

Combs.: (1) skyow-fittet, splay-footed (ne.Sc., Ags., Dmb., Lnk. 1970); (2) skew-whiff, -wheef, -quieff, awry, ajee, at a rakish angle. Gen.Sc. Also in dial. or colloq. Eng. (1) Abd. 1875  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 220:
Ane o' yon chiels, yon skyeow-fitted breet.
Abd. 1912  G. Greig Mains's Wooin' 50:
Whether your man's to be bow-hocht, or skyow-fittet.
Bnff. 1937  E. S. Rae Light in Window 15:
Chilpit-leukin', booet-owre, schew-fittit, bowe-hoched, plavers o' poets.
(2) Sc. 1754  Scots Mag. (July) 337:
Stick a flower before, scew-whiff, with an air.
Sh. 1899  Shetland News (20 May):
I hed ta geng skewquieff.
Sc. 1931  F. Niven Paisley Shawl 245:
My time-table is all skew-whiff.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 94:
Twa o' her wheels i' da stank o' da rod, an' shu wis aa staandin skeow-wheef.

III. adv. At a slant, in an oblique direction, askew, this way and that, sideways; in a distorted manner, with an affected, waddling gait (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 165). Sc. 1883  J. Kennedy Poems (1920) 112:
Awa' the erring quoit gaet skeugh.
Sh. 1923  T. Manson Lerwick 268:
The houses have been built on no plan except that of being set “squou-wow” — anyhow.
Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 248:
A lorry came down the road and went skeugh.

IV. n. 1. A shelter, protection. See I. 1. Slk. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 211:
But house nor hame aneath the heaven Except the skeugh of greenwood tree.

2. A twist, turn, sideways movement (Ork., ne.Sc., Slg., Lth., wm.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1970). Comb. skee-whee, id. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 165:
He ga's fit a skyow, an' caed himsel' oot o' the queet.
Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 130:
His heid ap i' a skue.
Cld. 1880  Jam.:
Gie the stane a skew this way.
Cai. 1929  John o' Groat Jnl. (22 Nov.):
If 'e aeroplane thing took a skee-whee.

3. A squint, sidelong glance, a look askance (Mry., Abd. 1970). Kcd. 1933  L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe (1937) 220:
With his skeugh and his puzzled eyes.

4. In mining: a piece of rock lying in a slanting position and tapering upwards which overhangs a working-place and is liable to fall, a hitch (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 61; Ayr. 1949). Also in Eng. mining usage.

5. A quarrel, a row (Mry., Abd. 1970). Abd. 1905  Banffshire Jnl. (18 April) 7:
Tho' sair I leuch at this bit rowie, I kent it wis a passin' skyowie.

6. A kind of wooden vane or cowl in a chimney which revolves according to the direction of the wind and prevents smoking (Kcd. 1825 Jam.). See wind-skew s.v. Wind.

[O.Sc. skew, protection, 1475.]

Skew v.2, adj., adv., n.2

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"Skew v.2, adj., adv., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



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