Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

CLOUR, CLOOR, Clour, Clure, Clow(e)r, n. and v. [klu:r, ′kluər]

I. n.

1. A blow. Gen.Sc. Bnff.(D) 1918  J. Mitchell Bydand 16:
Jock hacked th' Germans doon, man; Till haith, he got a cloor 'imsel' That neer-han' crackt his croon, man.
m.Sc. 1934  J. Buchan Free Fishers vii.:
Tuts' gie me a haud o' him. The chiel's sick, and, gudesakes, he's gotten an unco clour on the heid.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To W. Simpson, Postscript vii.:
Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks.
Rxb. 1847  J. Halliday Rustic Bard 196:
An' gien an taen was mony a clowr, An' dreadfu'-lookin' gashes.

2. The result of a blow which does not break the skin; a lump or swelling (Bnff.2, Ags.1, Lnl.1, Kcb.1 1936). Also fig. Fif. 1909  Colville 139:
Should playmates fall out there was little sympathy at home with the cloor on the head, the dad i' the lug, or the bluidy nose.
Lnk. 1709  Minutes J.P.s Lnk. (S.H.S. 1931) 59:
Walter Carmichaell . . . left wounds upon his head to the effussione of blood and lumpes and cloures upon the head.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Steam-boat viii.:
Her great adventure . . . but for her open-hearted innocency, would have left both cloors and dunkles in her character.
s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems and Songs 315:
Another fell the harrows o'er, And raised upon his shins a clower.

3. The result of a blow on metal, etc.; “a dent or bend in irregular form” (Cai.3 1931; Arg.1, Kcb.1 1936); “the hollow or dent left when a sheet of tin or iron is struck by a hammer or stone” (Kcb.4 c.1900). Abd. 1936 2 :
The tilly-pan his a big clour i' the side o't.
w.Fif. 1930 4 :
“It's sharely gotten an awfy cloor!” — of the mudguard of a motor-car.

II. v.

1. To deal a blow on, to batter, thump, dent, damage or disfigure in any way. Gen.Sc. Cai.(D) 1922  J. Horne Poems and Plays 41:
Jist till clure him wi' a clod.
Ags. 1921  V. Jacob Bonnie Joann, etc. 8:
There's bairns wi' guizards at their tail Clourin' the doors wi' runts o' kail.
Fif. 1909  Colville 152:
A Fife man, narrowly examining the impressive mount of the trooper sentry at the gate of the Horse Guards on his first visit to London, was astonished to hear the warning, “Tak care, freend, or mebbes ye'll git your cuitts cloored.”
Arg. 1932 1 :
His hat wuz cloord an' sclent a wee as if he'd been tastin' (drinking).

2. To furrow or wrinkle. Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 26:
It's nae just ilka thing will stap his mu', Yet he maun rin, if I but clour my brow.

3. “To broach (stones)” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., clour).

Hence clourer, cloorer, (1) “a pointed chisel made of mild steel, with a short taper, used for dressing the face of hard stones” (Cai.1 c.1920); “a broach or broaching-chisel” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., clourer); (2) “a mason's hammer” (Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.). (1) Arg. 1935 1 :
Hand me ower that cloorer; I want tae cloor the face o' this stone; it's a dour piece o' whunstane.

[O.Sc. has clour, clowr, n., a lump or swelling caused by a blow, c.1500–1512; v., to indent, as by a blow. The sense of “a blow” is not given in D.O.S.T. Etymology uncertain; perhaps connected with Cloor, (to) scratch, q.v., but the divergence of meaning makes this doubtful; cf., however, the double meaning of “strike” and “scratch or scrape” s.v. Clyte and Clow. Sense 3 of the v. might belong more properly to Cloor.]

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

"Clour n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: