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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lour, Lowr, v. Also: loure, lowre, lower. [North. ME. lowr (? a 1400: see Lourand ppl. a.), loure (c 1450), e.m.E. lowr(e (1575, 1622, 1647).Related to ME. lure(n (c 1300), ME. (c 1300) and e.m.E. loure(n, lowr(e, to frown, scowl, look angry or sullen, be depressed or mournful, and transf. (a 1450– ) to the clouds, sky. a tempest, etc. (Louring ppl. a.).Cf. MDu. loeren to lurk, lie in wait, to peep, peer, to frown, late MLG. and MHG lûren to lie in wait (mod. Germ. lauern), Sw. lura, Da. lure id., also to doze, nap.]

intr. To lie low, also to lie hid, shrinkingly, abjectly or furtively. a. To cower, crouch, shrink; also fig. Also, to shelter, take refuge. a1500 Henr. Fab. 945 (Harl.).
Than tod lowrie lukit quhair he couth lour [: armour], And start on fute all stoneist
a1500 K. Hart 391.
Dame Danger in to ane nuk scho lowris And quakand thair the Quene scho lay for dreid
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. i. 521.
On kneis I crap and law for feir did lowre [: bowr, sowre, dowre, clowre]
c1500-c1512 Dunb. xlii. 69.
Than Bissines the grit gyn bend, Straik doun the top of the foir tour; Comparisone began to lour And cryit furth ‘I ȝow requeir, Soft and fair [etc.]’
1571 Sat. P. xxix. 22.
Quhen Dauid vnder the sek did loure
c1590 J. Stewart II. 123/25. 1590 Burel Pilgr. i. xii.
Thir vipers … Doun louring and couring, Quhill storm wes went away
a1599 Rollock Wks. II. 154.
Wilt thou … believe in Jesus Christ? Wilt thou have recourse to him and lour under his passion?
1604-9 Grahame Anat. Hum. 66.
I caitiue on this earth doth loure and creepe
fig. a1568 Montg. Bann. MS. p. 52/9.
Fra than that floure list not till loure
1611-57 Mure i. 158.
Loues cælestial force … still growes mair and mair Quhen most it seimes to lowre [: power]

b. To grovel. Also fig., to yield or submit; const. for, unto, to (what is submitted to).(1) c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxii. 12.
[The fox] Syne lowrit on growfe and askit grace
1535 Stewart 1500. Ib. 38720.
Rycht law he gart thame lowr, Vnder his feit he gart thame lurk full law
(2) c1420 Wynt. iv. 984.
And off the serwys off a man Off neyde he [Xerxes] held hym payid than Quhare befor he gert the se For his schyppys lowrand be [L. Abasit for his schippis be]
1603 Philotus 464.
The gods aboue sen luif hath maid them coy, Unto his law then quhy sould I not lowre [: showre]
1642 Thanes of Cawdor 290.
I heir that George and the relict hes sent for yow to receave keis from yow, soe lower ye to that

c. To skulk, lurk. a1500 Henr. Fab. 1960.
Lowrand law thow [the fox] can gar hennis de
Ib. 1972 (Ch.).
Throw buskis and throw brayis Law can thow lour to cum to thy intent
Ib. 2286. 1513 Doug. vii. vi. 5.
Alecto … prevely begouth awach and lowr About … Quene Amatais bour
Ib. ix. 66. 1562-92 Wode's Psalter (Bass) 214.
He blinkit he winkit he lurkit he lowrd To sie as he jinkitt it vas a good bowrd
1583 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. 716.
Lurcane and lowring
1581-1623 James VI Poems II. 19/30.
As lyone fearce in loodge, he louring lurkis
Ib. 28/26. c1590 J. Stewart II. 226/105.
Fraud … Vith subtile luik low louring lyk ane loune
1604-31 Craig ii. 119/3.
In greenest grasse the deadly adder lowrs

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"Lour v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jun 2024 <>



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