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

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First published 2001 (DOST Vol. X).

Thraw(e, Throw(e, v. Also: thrau, thro', through. P.t. threw(e, thrue, throuit. P.p. thrawin, thrawyn, thrauin, thrawane, thrauen, throwin, throwen, throuin, thrawn(e, thrown, throun(e, throne. [ME and e.m.E. þraw(en (Layamon), thrawe (a1300), þrowe (14th c.), throwe (1530), through (c1620), OE þráwan, p.t. þréow, p.p. þráwan. Cf. Doun-thraw v., Ourthraw v.]

1. tr. a. To twist, entwine (something thin and pliable); also, to make a rope in this fashion (cf. Thrawcruk n.). Also proverb.(1) pres. c1475 Wall. vii 410, 411.
Than xxty men he gert fast wetheis thraw, Ilk man a pair, and on thair arme thaim threw
1609 Garden Garden 27.
Contract the time, Lord, thraw the threid in twa
1614 Crim. Trials III 296.
The erll, seameing to be in a choler and anger at thir speecheis, thrawing his bearde with his hand
proverb. a1598 Ferg. Prov. No. 789.
Thraw the wand while it is green
p.t. 1578 Reg. Privy C. III 40.
Thay … tuke ane small cord and band about his heid and threw the same about with ane pin quhill his ene lap out upoun his cheikis
p.p. c1420 Wynt. iv 1231.
A Romane sawe a Frankys man Abowt his hals thare hawe than Off gold thrawyn all lyk a les
1583 Cal. Sc. P. VI 356.
Quhat be towis thrawin about thair heidis, quhat be lichit luntis bound in betuixt thair fingers
(2) a1598 Ferg. Prov. MS No. 579.
He thrawes rops of the sand [pr. hand]
1692 Foulis Acc. Bk. 149.
To James Bell for helping to carie it in with a sled and throwing ropes of hay

b. To turn with a twisting movement. 1375 Barb. xiii 658.
And gif it fall that fortoune thraw The quheill about
a1508 Kennedy Pass. Christ 603.
Apoun his heid the crowne of thorn thai threw
1513 Doug. v xiv 8.
Now the lie scheit and now the luf thai slak, Set in a fang and threw the ra abak
a1568 Bann. MS 31b/53.
Throw feite & handis rud nalis thay threw
1600 Crim. Trials II 178.
This deponar threw about the key, than standing in the dure of the heid of the turnepyk [etc.]
1641 Aberd. B. Rec. III 273.
Convict … for saying thair wes no carle that threw about a key of a booth door in Aberdeen bot micht haue gewin hir waill

c. To twist (a part of a person's body), to hurt or torture a person in this way, to subject to compression by twisting, freq., to tweak (a person's nose). Also const. in a widdy (Widdy n. 2 (1)), to hang (a person).(1) c1475 Wall. v 1020.
Thom Haliday sone be the craig him threw
?1591 Dalyell Darker Superst. 638.
[Agnes Sampsoun] had all her haire shaven of each part of her body, and her head thrawane with a rope
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1003.
I sall thraw your neb ane other way
1638 Dumbarton B. Rec. 54.
The said Johne Jacksoun says befoir God, he wald thraw her nose, mening Walter Williamsounis wife
1687 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. XIII 171.
She saw the said Walter … take the said Jean Glencorse by the nose and threw it about
(b) 1623 Perth Kirk S. in Lawson Bk. Perth 303.
For dispersoning of Mr. Henry Adamson, reader, in saying that if he were not in the place of a reader he would throw his nose
1672 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. III 534.
He … did beat him upon the face and throw about his nose
(2) c1450-2 Howlat 823 (A).
Callit him … thevisnek to thrawe in a widdy

d. To throw the (one's) face, to contort one's face, grimace. a1500 Seven S. 240.
With that the barne scho wald haf kist He threwe the face and gart hir mist
1621 Glasgow Weavers 67.
The said William … hes injurit his deikin in his office, speiking to him contemptibilly … thrawing his faice and grinning dispytfullie
a1689 Cleland 65.
Apply these [sc. points of law] to the kittle places, that makes you wink and throw your faces

e. To thraw the wrist, to wield a pen, write. 1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 409.
Gif nocht may pleys him in thi [sc. the book's] boundis all Than cheis the sang and I sall thraw the wrist

f. fig. To alter (a person's) mind, attitude; to twist, warp, pervert (the meaning of something)The quot. Hay Cath. Tr. 64/21 contains a pun on c above. c1460 Consail Vys Man 106.
Na hald hym nocht in argvment To thraw his wyll to thin entent
1562-3 Winȝet I 89/5.
Intend nocht in this cause to thraw him (as sum of ȝour new writtaris dois) to mein [etc.]
a1561 Q. Kennedy Breif Tract. (ed.) 114/9.
Til al sik as vil nocht peruerstly thraw the scriptur contrar the godly menyng of the sammyne
a1568 Wedderburn in Bann. MS 241b/171.
How fra the trewth thay thraw the richt face
1580 Hay in Cath. Tr. 64/21.
Of the wourd ye mak ane neis of walx, thrawing it to quhat contrarietie or absurditie ye list
1581 Hamilton Cath. Tr. in 1573-1600 Cath. Tr. (STS) 77/35, 37.
Thai vill imbrace ane neu forgit opinion be Caluene thrauing Christis vordis to ane contrarious sense, and confermis the same be fals applications of the scripture, quhilk thai thrau efter thair sensuall iugement lyk a neis of valx
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 311.
I will thraw rather the Word to mine appetite nor subdue mine appetite to the Word
1593 Innes Rev. III 102.
To cume to that point to thraw the trewth
1598 James VI Basil. Doron 28/23.
Beware ye thraw not the word to your appetite, (as ouer-many doe) making it like a bell to sounde as ye please to interpret
1600-1610 Melvill 117.
He haid wrysted and throwin judgment, partlie for gean, wharto he was gein
1602 Colville Paraenese 144.
Thair citations be ether manque and mutilat or ells throuin and vitiat
a1650 Row 312.
[He] was mistaken, and his answer thrown to another sense
1669 Jus Populi 19.
He hath minced them, and thrawne them so, that they look with another face then their owne

g. fig. To cross, thwart (a person). a1597-1617 Hist. Jas. VI (1804) 21.
The lordis … come vnto hir with dissimulat countenance, with reuerent and faire speaches, and said, that thair intentiouns were nawayes to thraw hir
1585 Calderwood IV 478.
I have manie time told him … my opinioun: I cannot perswade. Would I take a course to thraw him, what harme might it doe?

2. intr. To writhe, wriggle; to jerk, move convulsively. Also reflex. Also fig. 1375 Barb. xv 230.
About him slayne lay his menȝe … And he, redy to dey, throwand
?1438 Alex. i 258.
Licanor … For propir tene began to thraw
c1420 Wynt. ix 1571.
That man hald fast his awyn swerd … and wp thrawand He pressit hym
1460 Hay Alex. 14278, 14306.
With that ane serpend come thare thrawand out … And crepis vp and threw in at the bore
a1500 Sir Eger 1611.
Gray-steel unto his death thus thrawes
1513 Doug. v ii 86.
A gret eddir slydand gan furth thraw
1513 Doug. ix vii 188.
Gret pres flokkit to se the bodeis schent, Sum men ȝit throwand half ded on the bent
a1568 Bann. MS 141a/34.
Than in my armes I cowth hir plett And scho to thraw
1684 Law Memor. 246.
In Monteith severall families taken with an uncow disease, like unto convulsion fits, their face throwing about to their neck, their hands gripping closs together, so as the very nails of their fingers makes holes in their looves
fig. 1460 Hay Alex. 5493.
And for dispite his hart within him threw
reflex. 1525 Inverurie 135.
Then ane multitude of worms thrawing themselves out of syndry holes and bores of this tree

b. intr. To wind, flow. ?1438 Alex. i 233.
Emynedus beheld Thame of Gaderis our-tak the feild, That thikkar our the hillis did thraw Than in grete wynd on sey dois waw

c. Of smoke: To spiral upwards. 1513 Doug. vi iv 11.
Exalationys or vapouris blak and laith Furth of that dedly golf thrawis in the air
1587-99 Hume 31/183.
The reik thrawes right vp in the air, From everie towre and towne

d. fig. To quarrel with (a person); to be a hindrance, be obstructive. a1578 Pitsc. (1728) 125.
How Bishop Forman … caused the duke to thraw with him till he gave over certain benefices to the duke
1581-1623 James VI Poems II 3/23.
Bot sure the wickeds way that throwis Sall perish be His micht

3. tr. To wrest or wrench (something) from, furth of, owt off (a person's hand(s) or finger(s). Also in fig. context. c1420 Wynt. viii 5413.
Hys knyff was thrawyn owt off his hand
1531 Bell. Boece (M) II 117.
Als sone as ony man maid him to thraw this appill oute of the hand of this ymage
1567 Sat. P. iii 63.
Off hir finger fals sho threw ane ring
1584 Melvill 176.
They haiff … thrawin the sword of the word of God … from the hands of Chryst Jesus
1600 Crim. Trials II 177.
As he held the quhinger to his maiesteis breist, this deponar threw the samyn furth of Maister Alexanderis handis
1640 Lithgow Poet. Remains 253.
The grip and band was hard and sure, that scarce one man could throw the ladle from thy fingers

b. To tear off (a bird's head); to tear aschunder (a person's arteries). Also ellipt. Only in fig. context.(1) 1641 Baillie I 308.
When episcopacie is made a poor plucked craw, whether our paper … will at this tyme gett the neck of it clean thrawn off, only God does know
(2) c1590 J. Stewart 90/382.
Sorrow … did all his arters viwe aschunder thraw
ellipt. c1590 J. Stewart 119/7.
Althocht the fruite dois fairest spring That hichest on the trie dois grow … The hicher set, the sooner low, … The faster knet, the harder throw

c. To thraw down, to pull down forcibly, snatch. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 80.
That this power … is able to rugg and pull down … the flesh and blood of Christ Jesus … and … put it within the compasse of that bread; that is a strange and ane great vertue, that not onlie will thrawe down that substance, but put it within the compasse of that bread

d. fig. To draw out, extract, extort (something non-material) furth (out) of a source. 1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. 68.
Thy faith hes thrawin out a vertue and power out of me, that hath made baith saul and bodie haill
1590-1 R. Bruce Serm. (1591) Sig. R jb.
When hee hath thrawne all these good turnes out of them
1599 Lett. Jas. VI to Eliz. 130.
The graunte theirof seemis to be thrauin out by importunitie, and not uillinglie obteaned by good uill
a1599 Rollock Wks. II 73.
After many words, he throws another accusation out of the Jews
1572 Knox VI 482.
A meditatioun or prayer, thrawin furth of my sorrowful heart
a1599 Rollock Wks. I 409.
I sall terrifie ȝou with the power of God, because ȝe thraw it out of mee
a1651 Calderwood VII 63.
Our aspiring bishops make it a forcible meane to acquire, or rather to thraw from the kirk … episcopall jurisdictioun

e. fig. To draw (a person) away fra (a task, habit, etc.). c1650 Spalding II 417.
The people for the mayne trespassis of the pastoris and estaites is thrawin and drawin fra thair virtue in hicht of harvest to thir feingȝeit fastinges
reflex. 1456 Hay II 58/16.
And [? by] the hyenes of his noble corage he thrawis him fra all appetite mysordinate of all vicis

4. To throw, fling, hurl.(a) 1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. 1678.
Marcus Curtius … in fyrie gap For commoun profite of Rome him self did thraw
1513 Doug. v x 74.
Sum tyme at othir threw dartis he and he
1513 Doug. vi ix 127.
The hie fader almychty … at hym hys dart dyd thraw
1531 Bell. Boece I xxxiv.
The peple makis ane lang mand … the fische thrawis thameself in it … and als sone as the see ebbis, the fische ar tane dry in the crelis
1549 Lamb Resonyng 5/4.
Quha knawis ho sone the fathir sall thraw the wand in the fyre quharwith he bett his childring
1567 Sat. P. iii 174.
Jesabell, Quhome throw ane windo suirlie men did thraw
c1590 Fowler II 25/3.
13 debauchit scollers … thrawing me to the ground, tred me vnder thair feite
1598 State P. (Reg. H.) No. 107B/1.
[They] … maist crewellie marterit murdreist and threw doun in the sea his cumpany & seruandis
1611-57 Mure Dido & Æneas ii 219.
I, frome above, a tempest downe shall thro'
1650 Fugitive Poetry II xxiv 6/9.
And when your carcasses are throune On dunghills for the raven's food
1658 Lamont Diary 16.
Being playing att the bulletts … the louetennant of the castell … throwing the bullett … he fell downe and lay dead for the space of some houres
1670 Aberd. B. Rec. IV 259.
He … pulled of the baillies hat and threw the same to the ground
1687 Hawick Arch. Soc. (1868) 35/2.
For takeing up of ane pint stope … and offering to thraw it att James Newbie
1688 Red Bk. Grandtully I cxlv.
The neues … beares that the Douitish … hath losed two men of war, four hounderreath horses throne over board
(b) 1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 503.
Pressed on them so hard, that they made them through away their armes to get away the more speedily

b. To cast (a look, glance). c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 51.
And, at the last, my luke vnto the hevin I threwe furthwith

c. Of wind or sea: To toss, buffet; to drive, impel. c1409-1436 Kingis Q. § 17.
To wayte the wynd that furthward suld me throwe
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Acts xxvii 18.
And for we war thrawn [P. throwun] with strang tempest, in the day folowing thai made casting out
1533 Boece 150b.
Sum schippis haistelie war thrawin in the depe and raschit apoun craggis

d. To cause to be thrown (in prison). c1475 Wall. ii 190.
O wareide suerd … Thi fruschand blaid in presoune sone me threw

e. To thraw aback, (out), to reject. 1560 Rolland Seven S. 9583.
Quha traistis in Him na way He will them wrak Nor thair iust caus He will not thraw abak
1689 Acts IX Suppl. 127/1.
The appointing of the Lords of the Articles should not exclude nor hinder the Parliament to take any matter to their consideratione, tho it has been throwen out … in the Articles

f. To throw down, to demolish, knock down (a building, etc.). Also fig., to reduce forcibly, destroy (a person, his position, etc.). 1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 136.
Brunt divers tounes and villages, and thrue down many stone houses
1630-1651 Gordon Geneal. Hist. 230.
His majestie … suffered and permitted divers houses to be throwen doun to the ground
1676 Reg. Privy C. 3 Ser. IV 575.
It salbe leisum … to his lordship … to cause throw doune the said landsteall
1676 Rothesay B. Rec. 343.
The forsyde of the said houss to be throun doun in caice of faylȝie
1686 Dunkeld Presb. II 469.
John Barclay hyred to lead the stons from the old church, and James Simson, younger, to throw down the walls
fig. a1500 Henr. Orph. 488 (Bann.).
Wardly men sumtyme ar cassin he … And … or thai wait Ar thrawin doun to pure and law estait
c1520-c1535 Nisbet Luke xii 18.
I sal thraw doun my bernis, and I sal mak gretare
c1590 Fowler I 298/109.
Bot thair estait sal be Thrauen doune

g. To throw out, to emit, discharge; to expel. 1513 Doug. iii viii 129.
Grisly Ethna … Sum tyme thrawing owt, heich in the skyis, The blak laithly smoke
1665–7 Lauder Jrnl. 42.
[The Jesuits] being ever a republick in a republick wheir ever they be; which caused Wenice throw them out of hir

h. To throw together, to combine, join up. 1535 Stewart 56474.
Tha war nocht lidder Quhill tha throuit baith thair strenth togidder

5. a. To deliver (a blow, stroke). b. To strike (a person).a. ?1438 Alex. i 1166.
His brand he drew And strakis rude about him threw
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 709.
All thus thai threw in that thrang Stalwart strakis and strang
b. c1475 Wall. iv 252.
With it [sc. his staff] Wallace wpon the hede him threw

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"Thraw v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jun 2022 <>



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