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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).

S(c)hour, n. Also: s(c)houre, s(c)howr(e; schure; schouer, s(c)hower, -ir, schuar. [ME and e.m.E. sure (c1220), scur (a1300), shoure (Manning), schor (14th c.), scour (a1400–50), OE scùr a fall of rain, ME and e.m.E. also = a conflict, an attack of pain (a1220–a1513), labour-pains (once, 15th c.).]

I. 1. A downfall (of hail or rain, also of snow or sleet); a light fall of, chiefly, rain. Also fig.Freq. described, variously, as wintry, harsh and ugly, or (in the case of light rain) as mild, beneficial and a source of beauty.For further examples, see Hail(l n.1 and Rain n.(1) c1400 Troy-bk. ii 1663.
Of schouris that giffis … Encressing helpe and nurising To fludes
c1420 Wynt. ii 1175.
Haylstanys … Sa … hard can lycht, That [ma] peryst in that schoure Than [etc.]
a1500 K. Hart 9.
For wes he never ȝit with schouris schot Nor ȝit ourrun with rouk or ony rayne
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 173/12.
Ȝisterday fair up sprang the flouris This day thai ar all slane with schouris
1513 Doug. viii Prol. 61.
The schipman schrenkis the schour and settis to schor
1528 Lynd. Dreme 91.
And waryit be thow, Wynter, with thy schouris
1579, 1617 Despauter (1579).
Imber, a schour
1587 Carmichael Etym. 9.
Nimbus, a shoure
1587 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 492.
Howsing in the mvre for the calsay makers … to tak thair meitt and to keip thame in schowres
1587-99 Hume 61/295.
1603 Philotus 484.
As roses red quhen that ane showre is past
1607 Dundonald Par. Rec. 125.
The laying on ane claith vpon ane stak to kep ane schour
1629 Justiciary Cases I 98.
The nycht was foule, scho mycht haif cum quhan it was upald betuix tua schoures
1684 Law Memor. 179.
And thereafter a showr that turned to lapered blood
(b) 1630 Craig-Brown Selkirkshire II 57.
Quhan the schuar is past, the sky will cleare agane
(2) a1500 Henr. Test. Cress. 6.
Quhen Aries, in middis of the Lent, Schouris of haill gart fra the north discend
1513 Doug. iv iii 59.
A myrk schour … Of weit and wynd, mydlit with fellon haill
Ib. x xiii 108.
Lyke as sum tyme clowdis brystis attanys, The schowr furthȝettand of hoppand hailstanys
Ib. xi xii 35.
The dartis thik and fleand takyllys glydis, As doith the schour of snaw
1531 Bell. Boece I 139.
The air was nubilus and donk, throw continual schouris of rane and sleit
1535 Stewart 32944.
Als copius … As ony burne efter ane schour of weit
1568 Skeyne Descr. Pest 6.
Forther continuall schouris of veit
1570 Sat. P. xv 15.
Ȝe baselik and jonet flouris, … hap ȝow with schouris Of hailstaines, snaw and sleit
a1578 Pitsc. II 100/7.
Thair come ane blak schour of raine … fallane wpoun thame
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xlviii 189.
The cludis rave in shours of grit hailstanis
c1616 Hume Orthog. 10.
A shour of hael
(b) a1595 Cullen Chron. Aberd. 43.
Gryt schowiris of snaw and sleytt
(3) 1375 Barb. iii 377.
Sa hard anoy … Off hunger cauld with schowris snell
c1400 Troy-bk. i 441.
The woddis grene … spoilyt … Throw wicked blastes and fellone schoures Baith of the lewes and of the floures
c1420 Wynt. v 5372.
In hys tyme gret raynis fell Wytht thyk ythand schowrys
1456 Hay I 161/18.
A sely pure man innocent that can nocht ellis do bot … in the scharp schouris hyde him in the buskis
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 1668.
Out of the hevin wes maid a suddane soun Lik to the cumin of ane felloun schour
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 191/7.
Quhone that the nycht dois lenthin houris With wind, with haill and havy schouris
1513 Doug. v xii 55.
The drumly schour … Als blak as pyk … Fyllys the schippys
Ib. x Prol. 15.
Wyntir to snyb the erth with frosty schowris
1531 Bell. Boece I 259.
Ane scharp schowre, sa full of haill and sleit
a1538 Abell 10b.
And it hapnit to be ane gret schour. He passit in ane coif ondir the erd
1570 Sat. P. xv 67.
Be wynter schouris, Sleit, hailstaines, frost and snaw
1600-1610 Melvill 169.
About ane efter noone comes … a grait mist, with a tempestous schoure and drow
1611 Id. Dream in Fugitive Poetry II ii 3/11.
I fear'd ane vglie shoure, And fain was to ane house for to reteir me
?a1648 Polemo-Mid. 15.
Postabat radiis madidis & shouribus atris
(4) a1500 Henr. Age & Yowth 3.
Quhen … perly droppis of the balmy schouris Thir widdis grene had with thair watter wete
a1500 Lanc. 61.
The most schowris As cristoll terys withhong vp[o]ne the flouris
a1500 Quare Jel. 2.
Maij, the quhich all tender flouris … nurisith with hir hote schouris
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 141/2.
Appryll … with hir silver schouris
Id. Tua Mar. W. 515.
Silver schouris doune schuke as the schene cristall
1513 Doug. xii Prol. 103.
Soft gresy verdour eftir balmy schowris
a1568 Bell. Bann. MS I p. 3/6.
Donk Aurora with hir misty schouris
1549 Compl. 58/31.
Rane … fallis on diuerse partis of the eird, in diuerse sortis of schouris, sum mair, sum les; sum be grit vehemens and tempest, and sum tyme in soft & varme schouris
1580 Hume Promine 91.
The … flouris That spreidis in Maij, throw hailsum balmis schouris
(5) fig. a1499 Contempl. Sinn. 244 (Harl.).
And solace semblit with sucheardis of scharp schowris
c1515 Kennedy Asl. MS II 272/4.
Aue Maria … That bathis oure blak syn with thi balmy schouris
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 180/70.
He has Blind Hary … Slane with his schour of mortal haill
Ib. 193/48.
My spreit … Off thocht oppressit with the schowris

b. Also haill (hailstane) schour, rain schour.See Hail-schour n. for further examples. 1513 Doug. v viii 76.
Als fast as rayn schour rappys on the thak
1535 Stewart 10786.
Haill schouris discendand fra the lift
1596 Dalr. II 389/8.
This was a gret hailstane schouer

c. attrib. and proverb. In shour bink, ? a temporary expedient. a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 1354.
That is bot a shour bink

2. In extended or transf. sense: A large number of things of the same kind, esp. arrows or other missiles, falling from or as from the skies. b. fig. Golden shoures, generous gifts of money. c. fig. ? A copious supply. Cf., however, Sure adv. 19 for Asloan variant.(1) 1375 Barb. xiii 43.
The arowys … a hidwys schour gan ma
c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 202 (Bann.).
The awfull schour he manly did sustene
1533 Bell. Livy I 256/28.
Mony lumpis of flesch fel out of the are in maner of ane schoure
1685 Hay Fleming Six Saints I 114.
Until … the brunt of the battle is over and the shower is slacked … the safest way to shoot the shower is to hold out of God's gate and to keep within his doors
(2) c1500-c1512 Dunb. G. Targe 195.
The schour of arowis rappit on as rayn
1531 Bell. Boece I 159.
Ane hevy schoure of arowis and ganyeis, schot on thaim be thair ennimes
1533 Boece 158b.
Inemyis lowsit apoun thame ane schour of arrowis
1535 Stewart 12212.
Into Arestia Ane schour of paddokis fell vpone ane da
a1578 Pitsc. I 74/30.
Thair came sic ane schour of dairtis and arrowis wpoun the Scottis wangaird
1625 Justiciary Cases I 26.
Ane grit flicht or schoure of arrowis
1651 Nicoll Diary 78.
These prodigeis fell out among utheris; … The schour of bluid in the south [etc.]
1657 Maxwell Mem. I 367.
Robert Andrewes related that the shoure of blood, som 18 drops therof, wer founde on cloathes in his garden
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. li 41.
With goldin schours … He [sc. Jupiter] wald this virgine furteouslie desave
b. 1691 Lauder Jrnl. 306.
Shee considering that his power was now so farr diminished in Edinburgh that he wold not be able for to drop those golden shoures that formerly he did
c. c1450-2 Howlat 766 (B).
Quhen thai had sangin and said softly a schoure [A. & schoure] And playd as of paradys it a poynt ware In come japand the ja

II. 3. A sharp pain; a pang, a throe. Freq., the schour(is of deid (deith). a1400 Leg. S. xxvii 1013.
For he tholit in till that houre Lyk to the dede mony herd schure
1528 Lynd. Dreme 1123.
All mon thole of deith the bitter schouris
1530 Id. Test. Pap. 175.
Now cumyng ar, said scho, the faitall houris; Off bitter deth now mon I thole the schouris
c1552 Id. Mon. 2838.
He did of deith suffer the schowris
1560 Rolland Seven S. 7820.
Of doly deith he sufferit the scharp schour
1570 Sat. P. xiv 14.
Ȝe, hardest, … To him has felt of deith the schouris
1572 Sempill Sat. P. xxx 151.
Do ȝe not sa, ȝe sall thoill scharper schours
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxv 94.
This warld is bot ane vaill most miserabill To dolent deith subdew with bitter schouris
1637 Rutherford Lett. (1664) 257.
It cost Christ and all his followers sharp showers and hot sweats ere they won to the top of the mountain

b. The pangs of unrequited love; a pang of jealousy. ?1438 Alex. ii 2193.
Gif sho of lufe had felt the shouris, The siching [etc.]
Ib. 2471.
Of lufe … The stoundis the shouris and the beit
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1041.
Abound in lufe of perfite amouris … Rest at all eis but sair or sitefull schouris
a1568 Bann. MS 269a/14.
Ȝit will he sich and schaw grit schouris … Sic perrell lyis in paramouris
1584-9 Maxwall Commonpl. Bk. fol. 20b.
This hows of ȝowris wilbe my deid, With suddane schowris. … I die for lwife
15.. Clar. iv 1479.
That atoure measoure Maid at hir heart of jelosie ane schoure

c. An onset or attack of illness; an instance of hardship, pain or suffering. c1420 Ratis R. 1038.
Gyf thow will sauf thé fra schowris Of gret dises
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 488 (L).
Thocht all begynning be maist hard Anes rytches haif than efterward Than schrink nocht for ane schoure Fra anis that thow thy ganning [W. grening, Wr. greening] gett Thy pane and travell is forȝett The sweit exceiddis the soure
1591 Cal. Sc. P. X 509.
Incessant laboure … upon effaires … hes … sa subjectid me ta sindrie shouris of diseasis [etc.]
1644 Shetland Witch Trial in Hibbert Shetland Islands 594.
Ye, by your devilish art of witchcraft, did cast sickness upon the said Janet, who … fell in an extraordinary and unkindly sickness, and lay eight weeks, taking her shours and pains by fits

d. specif. A labour-pain. Chiefly pl. a1599 Rollock Wks. II 230.
Even as the showres and dolor come on a woman who is travailing in birth
1606 Rollock's Thess. 238.
If the Lord gaue not [women] leysure to draw their breath betweene showre and showre (as they call it) it were vntolerable
1686 M. P. Brown Suppl. Decis. II 89.
When she was travailing of a child … that she was not compos mentis, by reason of her pains and showers

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"Shour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Jun 2022 <>



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