Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TEW, v.1, n.1 Also tue, teugh. [tju]

I. v. 1. tr. As in Eng., now obs. or dial., to taw leather; hence to make tough, to shrivel by over-cooking, etc., now esp. in ppl.adj. tewed, tough, shrivelled, sapless, as of fruit (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; s.Sc. 1972). wm.Sc. 1808  Jam.:
Meat is said to be tewed, when roasted with so slow a fire that it becomes tough.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
The bruizzin, frizzlin heat turns frush things tewd an rizzert.

2. tr. To fatigue, exhaust, wear out with exertion or hard work (Dmf. 1825 Jam., also of sickness; Bwk., Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 183). Also in n.Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. tued, tewed, exhausted (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 453; Wgt. 1972). Abd. 1868  W. Shelly Wayside Flowers 54:
Sair tewed wi' wark I laid me down.
Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 233:
They wud be sair tue't afore they gat hum.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 15:
Nor was A tewd or mauchless, bit limber an lither.

3. To rumple, tumble, to pull about roughly. Also fig. to tease, harass, vex. Abd. 1868  W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 130:
Whyles he tews and touzles me.
Kcb. 1904  Crockett Strong Mac xxxix.:
Ye were somedeal tewed up wi' a lass, were ye no?

4. intr. To work laboriously, to toil (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Gall. 1904 E.D.D.). Also in n.Eng. dial. and U.S.; to struggle, to strive (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). Edb. 1814  E. P. Nelson Poet. Works 10, 60:
Ane an' twenty years hard teughin' . . . Had it no' been for his wife, Kate, Ne'er a bit he'd teugh'd sae here.
s.Sc. 1897  E. Hamilton Outlaws xviii.:
To see a lass gae tewin' day and night to put anither lass in his airms.
Ayr. 1927  J. Carruthers A Man Beset 82:
Ye maun just tew on at the mathematics.

II. n. 1. A laborious job, a piece of hard work or exertion (s.Sc. 1825 Jam., “always conjoined with an adj. as, sair tews”). Also in n.Eng. dial. and U.S.; a state of difficulty, a strait. s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xx.:
'Twas in sair tews we was.
Kcb. 1900 4 :
We had a gey tew, but we gat them dune i' the hinner-en.

2. A state of exhaustion (Bwk., Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 183).

[Mid.Eng. tewe, to make skins into leather, an irreg. variant of taw, which in ne.Sc. has given the form Tyauve, with sim. meanings.]

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"Tew v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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