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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AWA, AWAY, AWAA, AWO, adv. and int. Awa is the Mod.Sc. form of away in most dialects. 'Way, 'wa are also found, esp. in co'way, c'way, c'wa, cu'wa = come away, see 1, gae wa, see 2; also in compounds — e.g. Wa'-cast, Way-sliding, q.v. [ə′wɑ: Sc.; ə′wǫ: em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc.; ə′we: Lth., Rxb.; e′wɒ: sm.Sc. Abbreviated form kwɑ:, kwǫ:, etc.]

1. With come, gang, and other verbs of motion, awa, away = on, along; often in invitation (also, Come away! = Come! as exclamation of encouragement), or softening an imperative. Gen.Sc.(1)Sc. 1886 R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped iii.:
And now come awa' to your bed.
Sc. 1930 W. L. Andrews Haunting Years 129:
“Come away, the 4th.” (“Come away” is Scots for “Come on.”)
Abd.(D) 1922 Abd. Wkly. Press (7 Jan.) 1/2:
Come awa', noo, Mains; ye ken ye can sing fine fin ye like.
Edb. 1893 W. G. Stevenson Wee Johnnie Paterson 9:
I was jist gaun awa' doon for a pennywuth o' soor milk.
Ayr. 1900 “G. Douglas” House with the G. Shutters (1905) xii.:
C'way into the parlour!
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 152:
Cu'wa, hinny, c'wa hame.
(2)Ayr. 1835 Tait's Mag. (Jan.) 130:
By the awa-gaun crap! Is't come to that, Sir, think ye?

2. The St.Eng. senses are all found in Sc. — e.g. “He's danc'd awa wi' th' Exciseman”; “Gae wa', gae wa',” Scott H. Midlothian xxvi.; tak awa, fling awa; “I'm wearin awa, John,” Lady Nairne Land of the Leal i.; “She's crined awa' to bane an' skin,” G. Outram Annuity iii.; fricht awa; ca awa; “Hanged or drowned, here or awa, dead or alive, I mind the bigging o't,” Scott Antiq. iv. Other senses, entirely or in some respect Sc., are illustrated separately.Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 31:
Abuin is the furst nicht staur,
abuin Fort Wajier liggin awo sae faur.
Abd. 1984 Robbie Kidd in Alexander Scott and James Aitchison New Writing Scotland 2 13:
'How do you get away with it?' 'I dinnae sweir at clypes, that's hoo I get awaa wi it.'
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 112:
'That's where we cam fae this mornin, Andra. Oot o sicht awa yonder.'

3. Absent, in fig. sense, in phrase awa frae himsel = beside himself, out of his wits, cf. At, prep. B. 8; awa frae with gerund, = Eng. past, beyond the capability of, unable to (Sh., n.Sc. 1975); also in phrases away i' the heid, deranged, lunatic (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. Xl. 10; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. 44; Edb. 1974); away in the mind, away to the hills, gone mad (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn. 4).Sc. 1816 Scott Antiq. xxvii.:
He was like a man awa' frae himsel.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 53:
Hendry wis awa' fae speakin', but I cried butt 'at he'd be in a meenit.

4. Of the result of passing from a state or condition: (1) wasted, reduced in flesh, Gen.Sc.; (2) fainted; (3) dead. Gen.Sc.(1) Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
“He's awa to skin an' bane” — i.e. reduced to a skeleton.
(2) Sc. 1818 Edin. Mag. (Dec.) III. 503/2:
My dochter was lang awa', but whan she cam again, she tauld us [etc.].
(3) Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
Awa. Used in speaking of a deceased relation. . . . There is a peculiar and lovely delicacy in this national idiom. When one cannot avoid a reference to the departed . . . it is usual to speak of them that's awa.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 40:
'Aye, Maggie, it's been a lang time, and Sandy's awa. ... '
Fif. 1893 “G. Setoun” Barncraig (2nd ed.) 70:
Poor cr'atur', . . . he's as weel awa'.
Kcb. 1894 S. R. Crockett Raiders ii. 26:
It's time I was awa'. I could wish for your sake that I had mair to leave ye.
Uls. 1904 Some Uls. Idioms, Wkly. Ir. Times (Sept. 17):
When death comes it is euphemistically said that “he is awa'.”

5. Elliptical uses. (1) With imperative suppressed, as in St.Eng. away! = go away! (2) with infinitive suppressed: I'll awa (as in dial. Eng.); I maun awa (as in St.Eng., “I must away”); (3) I'm awa, “I'm going away”; (4) he's awa, “he's off,” “he's gone”; (5) awa wi' —! “take away —!” (as in St.Eng.); (6) he's awa wi' —, “he has taken away”; (7) awa wi' ye! “go away!”(1) Edb. 1998 Gordon Legge Near Neighbours (1999) 27:
'Away,' said Auntie Teen, 'away and behave yourself. Now sit down, drink your tea and stop making such a fuss, will you?'
Edb. 2003:
You think oan your salary ye can afford a new car. Away and play yersel!
wm.Sc. 1926 G. Blake Young Malcolm 39:
Away and play yourself.
Gsw. 1957 J. F. Hendry in Moira Burgess and Hamish Whyte Streets of Stone (1985) 63:
'Ye'll pack your things and away this very night!' she said.
(2) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 262:
I will awa' wi' my Love.
Sc. 1990 Esther Woolfson in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 148:
'I'll away home,' Mr Kandinsky would say, stuffing his books and papers into his briefcase. 'My mother'll have got my hen soup ready.'
wm.Sc. 1974 Roddy McMillan The Bevellers 45:
Thanks. Ah'll away noo.
Gsw. 1989 Scotsman 23 Jun 12:
Some of the accents prove fairly impenetrable to the ill-educated ear of the Lowlander, though from each avenue the ever philosophical decision that "Ach weel we'll just away an' hae a dram" did seem to transcend most of the geographical boundaries.
Ayr. ?1784 (publ. 1803) Burns My Nanie, O i.:
And I'll awa to Nanie, O.
(3) Sc. 1887 R. L. Stevenson Underwoods., A Mile and a Bittock v.:
I'm weariet, an' here I'm awa to my bed.
(4) m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 95:
'Where are you away to now?' Jack Anthony would ask as Jimmy walked towards the door.
Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (12 Aug.) 2/6:
Hei's awa like a bowe, hei should hae gane like an airra.
(5) Ayr. 1793 Burns Adown Winding Nith Chorus:
Awa wi' your belles and your beauties!
(6) Ayr. 1792 Burns [title] The Deil's awa wi' th' Exciseman.(7) Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona ii.:
Awa' east and wast wi' ye.

6. (1) Past (in time); (2) ago.(1) Abd.(D) 1809 J. Skinner Amusements, etc. 92:
Whare anes we twa Us'd to be merry mony a day: But that's awa'.
(2) Per.(D) 1915 J. Wilson L. Strathearn 97:
Ut's thertay yeer uwaw. — It's thirty years ago.

7. As int., expressing incredulity, surprise, and the like. Also hoot (hout) awa! used to dismiss some consideration as mistaken or absurd.Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Letter x.:
His wife gave him a twitch. “Hout awa, Maggie,” he said, in contempt of the hint [etc.].
Abd.(D) 1928 W. Robbie Mains of Yonderton 45:
Awa man! aw wonner t' hear ye.
wm.Sc. 1926 G. Blake Young Malcolm 174:
“Och, away!” Malcolm was genuinely shocked.
Arg.1 1928:
Away = you don't say so. E.g., Customer: “You forgot to send the scones I ordered yesterday.” Shopgirl: “Away!” — Awaa is scornful or derisive: “Awaa wi ye!”

8. The foll. is a Sh. use: “He's awa to rain again” = It's beginning to rain again (Angus Gl. (1914) 13).

9. Combs. and phrases: (1) Anes and awa. See Aince.

(2) Away a place, dead. Edb. 1999:
Granny's away a place.
Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 3:
away a place A delicate euphemism for dead; 'Gauny slow doon, ya heidbanger! Ah thought Ah wis away a place there.'

(3) Away-going, ppl.adj., out-going (of a tenant). (See also Way-going, Wa-gang, n.; Way-going, adj.)Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.'s Lnk. (S.H.S. 1931) 65:
The away goeing tennant.

(4) †Away-take, to take away.Wgt. 1729 in G. Fraser Lowland Lore (1880) 39:
For his thefteously stealling and Away takeing out of the Barn of . . . Alexr. Reid ane Sackfull of Clean white Corn.

(5) Awa wi't, away wi't = done for: broken in health; fallen from prosperity; lost; dead; out of one's senses. Gen.Sc. Also impersonal, it's awa wi, it's all up with.Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lam. ix.:
He's daft — clean daft — red wud, and awa' wi't.
Sc. 1887 Jam.6:
He's clean awa wi't noo; naebody trusts him — i.e. he is completely broken in credit, etc.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 8:
To be sair awa wee't, (1) To be reduced in worldly means; as, “He ance cairrit on a gey stir; bit he's sair awa wee't noo.” (2) To be in a fast failing state of health; as, “He's unco sair awa wee't sin' a wiz in seein' him last.”
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick xiv.:
“Weel,” says the molecatcher, “if there's mony o' ye o' the same mind, it's awa wi' the kirk: we'll juist hae to spit an' gie ower.”
Edb. 1995 Irvine Welsh Marabou Stork Nightmares (1996) 19:
My old man was a total basket case: completely away with it.
Arg.1 1930:
He's away wi't noo (animal drowning). That wuz a close shave: she wuz near away wi't that time (boat struck by a sudden squall).
Gsw. 1988 Michael Munro The Patter Another Blast 3:
away A shortened form of away wi it, or away in the heid, meaning crazy or stupid: 'The guy's no right in the heid, pal, he's away.'

(6) Awa-ye-hoose, into the house.Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 4:
They gaed awa-ye-hoose an' had a dram thegither.

(7) For awa.Lth. 1895 A. S. Swan Gates of Eden xvi.:
Anither shift! Are ye for awa' frae Glesca a' ready?

(8) Here awa, there awa, whaur awa, where away = hereabout, thereabout, whereabouts. Gen.Sc. (Also in Eng. dial., hereaway, etc.) Cf. Aiberdeen-awa.Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. i.:
Four mile or thereawa.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch i.:
Some parish or other; but where-away, gude kens.
Ayr. 1793 Burns Wandering Willie i.:
Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie.

(9) Hyne awa. See Hyne.

(10) Let awa, allow to go away. (Obs. in St.Eng.)Abd.(D) 1867 Mrs A. Allardyce The Goodwife at Home (1918) 13:
We leet the damishell awa To get a raith o' lair.

[O.E. onweg, aweg, orig. a phr. on weg, on one's way, onward, on.]

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"Awa adv., interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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