Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SMOO, v., n. Also smue, smew-; smyoo, smju, smeeo and freq. form smoos. [sm(j)u]

I. v. 1. intr. or refl. To move in a furtive way, slink, sneak, prowl about like a dog, to slip stealthily away (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., smue, 1908 Jak. (1928), smju; Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1963); to squeeze through a narrow opening, insinuate oneself in some direction (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 201, 1866 Edm. Gl.; Ork. 1970). Also in freq. form in vbl.n., ppl.adj. smoosan, creeping, skulking (Marw.); smooin, sly, sneaking (Ork. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 96). Hence smoosie, adj., slyly inquisitive, “nosey” (Ork. 1958). Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 30:
Vile, smoosan', ferry-l'upan' whelps, that gong gleyan' aboot a honest man's hoose.
Sh. 1888  Edmonston & Saxby Home of Naturalist 184:
I wis smooen me ower da stiggie into da strodie.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
He smjud him aff.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
What's he gaan smooan aboot there for? Often used of a dog foraging for food.

2. tr. To slip (a garment) off or on, to ease or insinuate (something) over one's head, on one's leg or the like (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 201). Hence smewy, smjui, n., a flannel jacket, a singlet, a pull-over, slip-on (Sh. 1866 E.D.D., smewy), “a woollen undershirt, a singlet” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., smjui). Cf. Smook, v., 2. Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
To smju doon de leg o' de sokk.

II. n. A gap in a wall to allow the passage of sheep (Ork. 1929 Marw., smeeo), also smyoo-hole, id.; a covered drain (Ib.); a narrow passage between two fences, a small sheepfold (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), smuga) Deriv. smoothy, a hiding-hole, a narrow passage (Marw.).

[For the v. intr. cf. Norw. dial. smjuga, O.N. smjuga, to creep, slink, and, for the tr. use, Norw. dial. smøygja, causative form of smjuga, to slip clothes off or on. For the n. cf. Dan. smoge, smuge, O.N. smuga, a narrow opening, gap. The -th- in smoothy prob. represents the orig. voiced fricative.]

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"Smoo v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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