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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CAT HARROW, Kat —, n. comb. Often used in pl. [kɑt ′hɑro(z), -′hɑro(s) (Marw.)]

1. In phrs.: †(1) to draw the cat harrow(s) (see first quot.); (2) to go through the kat harrows (see quot.); cf. Eng. through the harrow, in great distress or tribulation.(1) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 329:
They draw the Cat Harrow. — That is, they thwart one another.
Ags. 1823 A. Balfour Foundling of Glenthorn III. viii.:
But if ans him and you begin to draw the cat harrows, Love will loup out at the window.
(2) Ork. 1929 Marw.:
He's surely been through the kat harrows, i.e. had a serious experience of some sort, a time of strain.

2. The name of a game: †(1) “the same with Cat and Dog” [s.v. Cat, n.2] (Ags., Lth. 1808 Jam.); †(2) “a nursery game, played by pulling crossing loops of thread” (Sc. 1893 N.E.D. s.v. cat, n.1, obs.), cf. Eng. cat's-cradle.

[O.Sc. cat-harrow, in phr. to draw (at or in) the cat-harrow, to draw different ways, to thwart each other; first date 1529 (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cat Harrow n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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