Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

BOW, Bowe, n.5, v.2 [bʌu Sc., but Cai. + ′bwi: and Ags. + ′bu:i]

1. n. “A buoy” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1887 Jam.6; 1914 Angus Gl.; Mry.4 1933; Bnff.4 1926). Sh.(D) 1898 “Junda” Echoes from Klingrahool 51:
Set oot upon a haagless [boundless] sea Ta flot, or sink for want o' bowes.
Sh.(D) 1899 J. Spence Sh. Folk-Lore 131:
The bow (buoy) is floating close at hand, attached to the boat by means of a vaarline [spare line].
e.Abd. 1881 J. W. Ritchie Geordie Tough's Squeel (1931) 4:
The but wis fu' o' herrin' nets, An' swings, an' bows, an' straps, an' kits.

2. v. “To buoy up, to fasten buoys to” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

3. Combs.: (1) Bow-kig, bowkit, “a small keg used as a buoy” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1914 Angus Gl. s.v. bowkit). (2) Bow-rope, “buoy rope — i.e. the rope between the boat and buoy from which the lines or nets are suspended” (Mry.4 1933). (3) Bow-row. (See quot.) [′bʌu-′rʌu] Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 15; Bnff.2 1935:
When a line is shot a buoy or bow is attached to each end. If the line in being hauled breaks, the fishermen row to the other buoy, and haul it from the other end. Such a row gets the name of bow-row; as, “We brook wir line the day, an' we hid a bow-row.” (4) Bow-tow, “a buoy-rope” (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Bnff.4 1926).
Sh. 1931 J. Nicolson Shet. Incidents and Tales 53:
Each sixaern [six-oared boat] was furnished with a “fleet” of lines. . . . The fleet had four “bow-tows” of from 90 to 100 fathoms. (5) Shaan bow, the middle buoy.
Mry.4 1934:
The teydin and the teesit are the names applied to the opposite ends of the fleet of lines, and buoys are used for supporting them. When a longer set of lines is used buoys are required for the middle or belly of the line. The fishermen's name for this buoy or for the buoys is the “shaan bow.”

[O.Sc. bow, variant of boy, a buoy (D.O.S.T.). O.Fr. boye, mod.Fr. bouée, buoy; Du. boei, Mid.Du. boeie, buoy, fetter. It is not clear whether the Eng. was orig. from O.Fr. or Mid.Du. (N.E.D.).]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Bow n.5, v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2022 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: