Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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COWSHUS, COUSHUS, Cowshis, Cooshious, adj. Variant forms of Eng. cautious. Te Eng. form is illustrated only in usages peculiar to Sc. [′kʌuʃəs ne.Sc., Ags.; ′kuʃəs Sh.]

1. As in St.Eng. = prudent, wary (Bnf 2, Abd.19, Ags.17, Fif.10 1941). Sh.(D) 1916  J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr, Navember 8:
Whin daa claas his lug, it's full time ta be cooshious.
Bnff.(D) 1930  E. S. Rae Waff o' Win' 52:
A coushus chielie Geordie, bit She's gotten him at last.
Abd.(D) 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.:
I'se jist warn ye ance mair to be cowshus; or ye'll hear mair aboot it.

2. Unassuming, kindly, considerate. Abd. 1943 2 :
My neepour's a gweed cowshus breet that wadna say an ill word o' ony bodie.
Ags.(D) 1894  J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) iv.:
He's an awfu' nice, cowshis man, the Smith.
Per. 1898  E.D.D.:
Be cautious, noo' sherra, an' no put a big fine on me.

3. Quiet. Abd.   Ib.:
Be cautious, bairns, I'm deaved wi' yer din.

[Not in O.Sc. For change of initial vowel sound, see etym. note to Cowshin.]

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"Cowshus adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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