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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.


1. Lit. †(1) A collapse, a fall, descent (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis), a downward motion or blow. Obs. in Eng. since 17th cent.Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xix.:
It's a brave kirk. . . . It had amaist a doun-come lang syne at the Reformation, when they pu'd doun the kirks of St Andrews and Perth.
Fif. 1894 J. W. M'Laren Tibbie and Tam 15:
Tam speired hoo she liked the journey, and to oor surprise, she replied, “Fine, Tammas; but the quick dooncome was the warst o't.”
e.Lth. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes and Sk. 22:
O, waefu' was the douncome, waefu' was the fa'.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck iii.:
Instead o' sweeing aff my downcome wi' his sword, he held up his sword-arm to save his head.

(2) A heavy fall of snow or rain (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.2, Fif.10, Kcb.1 1940). Found also in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1898 “S. Tytler” Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses xvi.:
It was no blast of wind nor downcome of water.

(3) A rupture or hernia (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

2. Fig. (1) A fall in status, degradation, humiliation (Sh.11, Abd.27 1949; Ags.2 1940; Dmf. 1950 (per Fif.17)). Also attrib.Sc. 1876 M. O. W. Oliphant Makers Florence iii. 79:
That sense of downcome which is . . . of all other sensations of poverty, the most hard to bear.
Abd. 1832 A. Beattie Poems 135:
And he that rides or rins ower fast, May get a waefu' downcome cast.
Abd. 1909 J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray ii.:
Certes, that's a gey dooncome to ane that aince set her snood at her cousin the baillie.
Edb. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge xix.:
It's an awfu' douncome this, after haudin' her heid sae high!
Arg. 1907 N. Munro Daft Days (1925) xxx.:
I hope we have nane o' thae aboaminable English amang us. I canna thole them! It has been a sair dooncome for Scotland since ever she drew in wi' them.
Slk. 1823 Hogg in Blackwood's Mag. (March) 314:
My ain grandfather, who was the son of a great farmer, hired himsel for a shepherd to young Tam Linton, and mony ane was wae for the downcome.

†(2) A fall (in price).Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Downcome in the market, the fall of prices.
Lnk. 1808 W. Watson Poems 65:
To sigh about the dearth o' meal. An' downcome o' the stock.

†(3) A set-back.Gsw. 1863 J. Young Ingle Nook 34:
'Tis even sae wi' auld and young; They doon-comes maun receive.

¶(4) Outcome, result.Sc. 1834 G. R. Gleig Allan Breck II. v.:
Deil an there be aught belonging to Glasgow, that he canna tell ye baeth the upshot and the down-come o't.

[Doon, adv.1, + come, v. O.Sc. has douncome, a downfall, descent, from 1438.]

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"Doon-come n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Mar 2023 <>



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