Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

TOUSE, v., n. Also touss; touze, towse. [tu:z]

I. v. 1. To pull or knock about, treat or handle roughly (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; wm.Sc. 1972); esp. to sport with or tease (a woman) in a rough, boisterous or rude manner (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 468; Sh., Cai. 1972). Obs. exc. dial. in Eng. Vbl.n. tousin, a rough handling. Now more comm. in deriv. Tousle, q.v. Sc. 1718  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 69:
They'll loo ye an ye touze them.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Jolly Beggars Air 3. iv.:
I ance was abus'd i' the Kirk For towsing a lass i' my daffin.
Ayr. 1817  D. McKillop Poems 29:
Then Sandie's buiks I gied a tousin'.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 24:
He tous'd the deil roun Criffle-screel.
Gsw. 1958  C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 70:
‘Gi'e him a towsin', Willie,' one of his supporters said.

2. To disorder, dishevel, rumple (hair, clothes, etc.) (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 468; Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1905 E.D.D.; Sh., Cai., Ags., wm.Sc. 1972). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. towsed, dishevelled. Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 122:
A wooer bauld, Wha aft had touz'd her cockernony.
Fif. 1882  S. Tytler Sc. Marriages II. 37:
She complained in an aggrieved tone that he ‘towsed' her hair.
Kcb. 1896  Crockett Grey Man xx.:
With my pale face and towsed haystack of a head.

3. To tease out (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; wm.Sc. 1972). Obs. in Eng.

II. n. An untidy head of hair. Kcb. 1895  Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet v.:
A touse of lint-white locks.

[Mid.Eng. to-tused, be-toused, knocked about, O.E. tūsian, to pull to pieces. Cf. Ger. zausen, id.]

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

"Touse v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down