Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOW, Boll, Bowe, n.2 [bu:, bʌu Sc.; Ork. bu: only]

1. “A herd of cattle “ (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 187). Cf. Boo, n.1 Sc. 1802–1803  Scott Minst. Sc. B., Intro. I. p. lxxxviii.:
[Walter Scott of Harden] mounted his horse . . . and returned next day with “a bow of kye, and a bassen'd (brindled) bull.”
Sc. 1808  Jam.:
Bow, bowe. The herd in general; whether inclosed in a fold or not.

Comb.: bow-house, cattle-shed, cow-house. Ags. 1926  D. Grewar Story of Glenisla vi.:
The Abbey, however, reserved to itself the teinds of the “bow-houses,” Horses, cows and sheep.

2. “A fold for cows “ (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

3. “A large undivided farm, a farm not broken up among portioners but retaining its integrity, and not worked in runrig” (Ork. 1929 Marw.).

4. The principal farmhouse on an estate. Cf. Boo, n.6 Ork. 1808  Jam. s.v. boo:
The principal farm-house on an estate, . . . is in a great many instances called the Boll or Bow.

[Under bow, n.2, D.O.S.T. gives bou (boll), bw, buow, also bowhous (e), etc., with meanings similar to 1 and 4 above. The word comes from O.N. , a homestead; stock of a farm; O.E. , dwelling. The spelling boll is due to a false analogy with such words as pou, pull, fou, full. More common as a place-name (Marw.).]

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"Bow n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2019 <>



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