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

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

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

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

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) The arowys … a hidwys schour gan ma; Barb. xiii 43.
The awfull schour he manly did sustene; Dunb. G. Targe 202 (Bann.).
Mony lumpis of flesch fel out of the are in maner of ane schoure; Bell. Livy I 256/28.
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; 1685 Hay Fleming Six Saints I 114.
(2) The schour of arowis rappit on as rayn; Dunb. G. Targe 195.
Ane hevy schoure of arowis and ganyeis, schot on thaim be thair ennimes; Bell. Boece I 159.
Inemyis lowsit apoun thame ane schour of arrowis; Boece 158b.
Into Arestia Ane schour of paddokis fell vpone ane da; Stewart 12212.
Thair came sic ane schour of dairtis and arrowis wpoun the Scottis wangaird; Pitsc. I 74/30.
Ane grit flicht or schoure of arrowis; 1625 Justiciary Cases I 26.
These prodigeis fell out among utheris; … The schour of bluid in the south [etc.]; 1651 Nicoll Diary 78.
Robert Andrewes related that the shoure of blood, som 18 drops therof, wer founde on cloathes in his garden; 1657 Maxwell Mem. I 367.
With goldin schours … He [sc. Jupiter] wald this virgine furteouslie desave; Montg. Misc. P. li 41.
b. 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; 1691 Lauder Jrnl. 306.
c. 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; Howlat 766 (B).

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

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

c. An onset or attack of illness; an instance of hardship, pain or suffering. Gyf thow will sauf thé fra schowris Of gret dises; Ratis R. 1038.
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; Montg. Ch. & Slae 488 (L).
Incessant laboure … upon effaires … hes … sa subjectid me ta sindrie shouris of diseasis [etc.]; 1591 Cal. Sc. P. X 509.
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; 1644 Shetland Witch Trial in Hibbert
Shetland Islands 594.

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

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"S(c)hour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/schour_n>



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