Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BOWSTER, BOUSTER, Booster, n.1, v. [′bʌustər Sc.; ′bustər Sh.]

1. n. (1) A bolster. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. (1817) xliv.:
But if ye want sheets, or bowster, or pillow.
Sh.(D) 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 56:
A'm proppit hir up wi' boosters an' da rug grund sae 'at doo can git at ta luik at hir shooder.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 48:
She quits her bed . . . Gaes ben an' calmly steals awa' the key, Frae neath her brither's bowster.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (1914) i.:
Sittin' up in the box bed in the kitchen, wi' twae bousters at her back.

Comb.: bowster cup, a drink taken before going to bed; a “night-cap.” Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 179:
His wife, half angry, half pleased . . . mixing him the bowster cup.

(2) (See first quot.) Bnff.2 1935:
In threshing with the flail, the bowster was the sheaf or straw on which the top end of the sheaf to be beaten with the souple was laid.
Abd. 1926 in Bnffsh. Jnl. (23 March) 2:
The flail has gone; no need to speak of the “hand-staff,” the “shaikle,” and the “souple,” the “bowster ” and the “chap.”

2. v. To bolster. Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Calendar I. i.:
And what think you it turned out to be? . . . a . . . spring, a' boustered about wi' heaps o' soapy, limy kind o' stuff.

[O.Sc. bouster, bowster, common variants of bolster, a bolster for a bed (D.O.S.T.). For diphthong, see P.L.D. § 78.2.]

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"Bowster n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2020 <>



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