Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
THOWLESS, adj., adv. Also thoweless, thouless (Lnk. 1880 Clydesdale Readings 75; Abd. 1900 Weekly Free Press (15 Sept.)); thaw(e)less (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Uls. 1924 Northern Whig (7 Jan.)). Lacking energy or spirit, inactive, lethargic, listless, having little initiative or capability, ineffectual (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson, Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai), rarely applied to things. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.
Hence thowlessness, want of energy or spirit, dullness, lethargy, stupidity; adv. thowlessly, thowlesslike.
Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 76:
Mause begrutten was and bleer'd, Look'd thowless, dowf and sleepy. Abd. 1780 Aberdeen Jnl. (11 Dec.):
There the dullest, thowless heart, Ye can engage. Ayr. 1785 Burns 2nd Ep. to J. Lapraik iv.:
‘Conscience,' says I, ‘ye thowless jad.' Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
The thowless, thriftless, fissenless ministry of that carnal man, John Halftext, the curate. Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) ix.:
My innocent, kind, thowless Tibby Hyslop. Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 81:
That thowless key is aye amiss. when folks my room wad view. Dmf. 1877 R. W. Thom Poems 17:
O, but single bliss is a thowless life. Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 206:
Bell's remarks about “wasterfu'ness” and “thowlessness.” Ayr. 1888 R. Young Galston Char. 15:
Starin' thowlessly aroun'. Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters iv.:
Janet was a thowless thing, too like her mother for her mother to like her. Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 14:
O that its prickles were a knife indeed, But it is thowless, flabby, dowf, and numb. Bwk. 1943 W. L. Ferguson Vignettes 70:
His thowlessness 'll drive me wud! Lnk. 1947 G. Rae Sandy McCrae 21:
Ye haud the rod far ower thowless like.
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"Thowless adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Sep 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/thowless>
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