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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).

Thow, Thou, Thu, pron., (n.2). Also: thowe, thoue, thous. [ME and e.m.E. þou (Layamon), þu (a1240), thow (Lydgate), thowe (a1440), OE ðu, þu, ON þú.]

1. Thou, the second person singular personal pronoun.Also with following noun or noun phrase in apposition.In general use as the mode of address to an individual, but cf. Ȝe pron., Ȝow pron. Also used in invoking God, Christ and the Virgin Mary, and in homiletic literature, in addressing the reader.(1) c1300 Annales Angliæ et Scotiæ in W. Rishanger Chronica 373.
Kyng Edward wanne thu havest Berwic, pike thé, wanne thu havest geten, dike thé
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 783.
Thu [sc. Mary] art bewte of angelis al, & ioy of halouys we thé cal
(b) 1375 Barb. v 71.
‘Brother,’ he said, ‘sen thow will sua It is gud that [etc.]’
a1400 Leg. S. i 17.
To thé I gyff the keys of hewyne; To bind and lous quhowm-euer thou will
c1390 Reg. Morton I xl.
Thou come with otheris with thé … and … tuk away twenty-one beistis
c1420 Wynt. v 3760 (W).
c1420 Wynt. viii 6664.
Men may perchance fynd … Men of als mekyll bownte As thow may fynd in your cuntre
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 957.
Grant me confort this day, As thow art God verray
a1500 K. Hart 287.
Speik thow ane wourde thy four feit sall I bind
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 6/46.
Ave Maria, gracia plena: Thow baire the Prince of prys
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 103/1.
Gladethe thoue, queyne of Scottis regioun
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 192/27 (M).
1522 Grant Burgh Schools 52.
Amabaris vel amabare, thow was lwfit
1540 Lynd. Sat. Proclam. 214.
Bessy my hairt, heiris thow not me?
1551 Hamilton Cat. 279.
And quhairto will thou O Christian man be sa curious as to speir [etc.]
c1569 Sc. N. & Q. 3 Ser. VIII 45.
I will nocht hald yow mair in the hals, Use thow the best ye may
1600 Crim. Trials II 296.
[He] [sc. Ruthuen] said to the king [sc. James VI], ‘Now thow most die!’
1622 Crim. Trials III 525.
Fals land-loupper loun that thow art, sayis thow that [etc.]
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1301.
Quhiles thow, quhiles I, sa gais the baillarie
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1581.
Thow hes tuoched the naill in the heade
1635 Dickson Wr. 9.
Good Lord, countest thou of me as my friends? Kens thou me no better than they?
(c) 1686 Dunlop P. III 19.
We have meet with many sad strocks since thous and I parted
(2) a1450 Fifteen Ois 288.
Thow king of kingis help me ay
c1475 Wall. ii 391.
Thow Scot, abide
c1475 Wall. viii 1640, 1641.
[The King of France to Wallace] Thow werray help in haldyn off the rycht, Thou rycht restorer off thi natyff land
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 110/41.
Welcum thow knight, moste fortunable in feild
c1500-c1512 Dunb. Flyt. 168.
I conjure thé, thow hungert heland gaist!
a1508 Kennedy Flyt. 523.
Thou irefull attircop, Pilate apostata
1562-3 Winȝet I 14/2.
Thow sone of man
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. i 110b.
Therefore thou judge, feare God, … that throw his judgement thou be not condemned
1685 Sinclair Satan's Inv. World 209.
Thou traitour thief, thou thought to have destroyed my son this morning

b. Combined with a following contracted verb form.Thou(e)s, thow(i)s, = thou sal (Sal(l aux. v.). 1570 Sat. P. xxii 90.
With wallaway thoull curs the day
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 774 (T).
Lik laidill, husche paidill, … thowis be drest
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 809 (T).
Keillie lippis, kis my hippis, in grippis thows behint
1611 J. Melville in McCrie Melville 445.
Stay Till it be fair, and than thous go thy way
1611 J. Melville in McCrie Melville 445.
Trewlie thous be treated courteouslie
a1624 Edinb. Univ. MS ii 319.
Thoull no accept my robe To cloth thy nakitnes
1638 Bk. Pasquils 22.
A papist thou art Galloway, in Heaven thoues never duell

2. Used in addressing or apostrophising a thing, place or abstraction. a1400 Leg. S. vii 332.
Jervsalem, euir va thu be!
c1450-2 Howlat 753 (A).
Thow joyus fleis of Gedion
a1500 Henr. Orph. 401.
Quhat art thou lufe? How sall I thé dyffyne?
a1500 Henr. Fab. 81.
Thocht I thé find, thow ganis not for me; Thow art ane iouell for ane lord or king
a1500 Henr. Fab. 593.
Fy! puft vp pryde, thow is full poysonabill
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 64.
O May, thow mirrour of soles, Maternall moneth, lady and maistres
c1500-c1512 Dunb. (OUP) 135/1.
Blyth Aberdeane, thow beriall of all tounis
1513 Doug. viii ii 13.
And thou O haly fader Tiberyne … Ressaue Eneas to ȝow onbekend
1533 Gau 41/3.
O thow Bethleem Effrata thow art litil amangis ane thowsand of Joure
c1550 Rolland Ct. Venus Prol. 319.
Now pas thy wayis thou barrant buik new breuit
a1585 Maitland in Maitl. Q. 218/60.
For thy wallis thik and strang Thow iustlie beiris the bell

3. noun. The word thou. 1600-1610 Melvill 65.
And quarrels him schamfullie with manie thows and lyes

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"Thow pron.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <>



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