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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DRAW, v. and n. Sc. usages. Also dra(a). [drɑ: n., sm.Sc.; pa.t. dru: Sc. + drɒ:d Bwk., driu Rxb.; pa.p. drɑ:n, but dru(:)n Bwk.]

I. v.

Sc. form of Eng. drawn, attracted.Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 19:
To watch ye is a richt divert,
Ma een as by a lodesteen draan.
Siccar ye grip me, an I'm thraan
To turn to my ain thochts, to pairt
Fae you.

Sc. usages:

1. Used as in Eng. = to pull, tug, but with wider application.m.Sc. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 21:
Sic haudin' and drawin', sic daffin', and fun.
Gsw. 1933 F. Niven Mrs Barry xxi.:
I can let mysel' out and draw the door after me so easy it'll no waken her.
Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales, etc. 40:
We . . . saw twa men in dreadfu' fury, Pushing, drawing, striking, swearing.

Hence (1) drawers, cart chains (Bwk.2 1949); (2) draavers, draars, Sc. forms of Eng. drawers, underpants.(2)Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 40:
Bit Mains is in a bog o swyte, his winkers fite wi styoo.
He's stecht in's wivven draavers an sair hankit in's surtoo.
He's burssen, fool and yookie an crochlie i the queets.
The verra feet o him's roassen an fair lowpin in his beets.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 41:
Syne oot he spangs, his sark an cwyte an hat again he siks
An tirrs up tull his middle, castin wivven draars and briks.

2. Fig. = to agree, to get on together (Fif.10, Lnk.11, Kcb.10 1940).Fif. 1894 D. S. Meldrum Margrédel xiii.:
That was a topic we didna touch on, like, else we micht ha' drawn better.
Ayr. 1803 A. Boswell Songs 7:
Thegither frae this hour we'll draw, And toom the stoup atween us twa.

3. To cart (Kcb.10 1940; Uls. 1990s). Obs. in Eng. since 18th cent. but still in use in Eng. dial.Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales, etc. 159:
They made me help to draw the lime Up frae Dalbeattie mony a time.
Ant. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
He's away drawin' peats.

4. With to: (1) to head for (Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940); (2) in steering a boat: to haul from the wind when the wind veers (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); (3) to come to like (someone) gradually (Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Bnff.2, Abd.27, Fif.10 1946).(1) Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf i.:
We canna gree upon the particulars preceesly. . . . I doubt we draw to a plea.
Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales, etc. 153:
Ye . . . stay till the cold makes you draw to the home.
(3) Sc. 1897 “L. Keith” Bonnie Lady xiii.:
She'll draw to him for all she's so skeigh.
Dmb. 1932 A. J. Cronin Three Loves 354:
She “drew to Lucy,” as she herself expressed it.

5. Of corn, hay, etc.: to pull out (from a stack) (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Cai.7 1940).Ayr. 17.. R. Lawson Maybole Past and Present (1885) 21:
Finally, a warning is held out to any person who shall draw his stack without previously acquainting some two of his neighbours.

6. To move, proceed, go. Obs. since 17th cent. in Eng.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 48:
Says, are ye sleeping, rise an' win awa, 'Tis time, an' just the time, for you to draw.
Gsw. 1879 A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 95:
An' ow! as owre the brig I drew, I whumult doon upon my dowp.

7. To draw breath, to breathe. Rare.Sc. 1763 “Theophilus Insulanus” in R. Kirk Secret Commonwealth (1815) App. 50:
Finding by visible Symptoms she could not draw much Time, after I had put her in mind of her approaching End, enquired if she saw the Second Sight.

8. To milk (a cow) (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9 1940).Kcd. 1889 J. and W. Clark Leisure Musings 88:
I've five milk kye, amo' the best That e'er wi' thumbs were drawn.

9. Of shutters: to pull together, to close (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1940).Mearns 1900 W. MacGillivray Glengoyne I. ii.:
The bed was the old-fashioned country “box-bed” with shutters in front, which in winter, according to custom, were always “drawn” (shut).

10. tr. and intr. Of tea: to infuse, to become infused. Gen.Sc. Also used of the tea-pot (Sh.10, Abd.27, Knr.1, Rxb.4 1949).Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. VIII. 14:
[The tea] took a long time to draw.
Edb. 1761 Caled. Mercury (14 March):
A fine spring of water, which washes, and draws tea extremely well.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller 80:
Then leaving the said little tea-pots on Mrs Forrester's hearth to “draw,” . . . they would return, . . . and each carry off with pleasure her “weel masked cup o' tea.”
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish xx.:
Tea draws better in a silver pot.
Rs. 1951:
I'm gaein tae draw the tey.

11. With obj. clause: to infer, to deduce.Sh. 1901 Sh. News (20 July):
As shüne as he said dis, Mr Editor, I drew wha he wid be.

12. To raise (one's hand, foot, etc.) for the purpose of attack (Kcb.10 1940); to aim (a blow) (Cai.9 1949; Bnff.2, Abd.2 1940). Occas. used absol. Also in phr. to draw (one's hand, etc.) aff —, to strike —.Sh. 1891 J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 62:
Bit heth! I draas da brüt a smack Ahint da lug.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 15:
He drew wi' a' his poo'er for the heid o a officer.
Abd. 1788 J. Skinner Christmass Bawing vi. in Caled. Mag. 499:
Ran forrat wi' a fearfu' din, And drew a swingeing swype.
Ayr. 1847 J. Paterson (ed.) Ballads and Songs II. 115:
Wi' steeket gauntlet Changue drew Ae stroke wi' sic prodigious strength.
Kcb.10 1940:
A'll draw ma haun' aff yer lug.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
He drew his fist, and hit him on the face. He drew his foot and kicked her.

13. In curling: to play (a shot) gently up to the tee so that the stone lands on a particular spot within the ring indicated by the skip. Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. and ppl.adj. drawin(g).Sc. 1890 J. Kerr Hist. of Curling 403:
The canny swing for a drawing shot is that which is oftenest required in the art of curling.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 64:
Our hinhaun, unrivall'd at drawin', Sen's up a tee-shot to a hair.
Lnk. 1923 G. Rae Langsyne in Braefoot iv.:
“Well, set this brush with the out-turn, and draw the shot,” was the request.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Tam Samson's Elegy v.:
To guard, or draw, or wick a bore.

Hence drawn-length, the “length” or force necessary to bring a stone to the tee (Kcb.10 1940) or exactly level with another stone (Lnk.11 1940). Used adv. in quot.Lth. 1885 “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny 272:
“Jist drawn-length on the ‘guard,' miller, it's oor stane”; and the miller sent the “guard” up within an inch of being first shot.

14. Of fish: (1) to wash in pickle (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); “to take fish out of the pickle preparatory to washing and drying” (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); used with ut (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); (2) to catch fish with a hand-line (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1908 Jak. (1928)), or rod (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).

15. To supply, produce (Bnff.2 1940). Used tr. and absol.Mry. 1924 J. C. Austin in Swatches 78:
The byockin wife tae save her life Her kyack an' tipp'ney draws, This hogmanay.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 15:
He's a gueed lad, an' that's the best of a', An' for the geer, his father well can draw.

16. Phrs.: (1) to draw a boat, to beach or launch a boat (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), used fig. in phr. his boat is drawn, he is not likely to have any more children (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); (2) to draw a lang face, = Eng. to pull —, to look disconsolate or aggrieved; †(3) to draw aside wi', to associate closely with (someone); (4) to draw f(r)ae, to draw up the long-line sufficiently to give the hooks clearance-room after the lead has touched sea-bottom (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.); (5) to draw (someone's) leg, = Eng. to pull —, to befool someone; †(6) to draw one's pass, to give up a pursuit (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.); (7) to draw ower one's ee, to close one's eyes; (8) to draw strae (thake), to pull straw through the hands so that the pieces short of a desired length fall to the ground (Abd.27 1949), as is done e.g. by thatchers (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh.10, Ayr.9, Kcb.10 1949). Hence comb. drawn sheaf, a sheaf of drawn straw (Sh., Ork. 1975); (9) to draw straes (a strae) afore (someone's een, nose), to deceive, hoodwink someone (Sh. 1897 Sh. News (29 May); Cai.7 1940; wm.Sc. 1835–37 Laird of Logan II. 207); (10) to draw the cat-harrow, see Catharrow; †(11) to draw the craig, to hang; (12) to draw the door on one's back, to shut the door behind one (Abd.9, Fif.10, Slg.3 1940); (13) to draw thegither, of the eyes: to close in sleep (Abd.9, Fif.10 1940); (14) to draw the sweer-tree, see Sweer-tree; †(15) to draw the table, to clear the table (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 27); cf. rare or arch. Eng. to draw the cloth; (16) to draw to rain, to tend to rain; Gen.Sc.; (17) to draw up, †(a) to increase an offer; (b) absol. or with wi(th): to become friendly (with), to get to know; to start a courtship (with) (Sc. 1825 Jam.2; Ags. 1949 (per Abd.27); Fif.10 1940). Also to draw up one's mind with, to agree with, come to an understanding with; †(18) to draw one's water, to urinate; (19) to draw wood, in Mining: “to extract prop-wood in stooping and in longwall where possible” (Sc. 1944 (per Edb.6)).(1) Ags. 1857 A. Douglas Hist. Ferryden 88:
Ye pilot a' the Lord's day. My auld Scrubber widna hae drawn his boat on that day, altho' it had been to bring ane o' his bairns to the warlt!
(2) Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe v.:
I'm thinking ye'll draw a gey lang face if that [pay] fa's short.
(3) Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My ain Folk 244:
He was aye fond o' buiks, an' drew aside wi' nane mair than the dominie.
(5) Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 196:
He preached, an' at last drew the auld body's leg, Sae the Kirk got the gatherin's o' our Aunty Meg.
Ags. 1889 J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums vii.:
Na, na, Marget, ye dinna draw my leg.
Ayr. 1883 W. Aitken Lays 63:
Nae maitter hoo sairly his leg ye micht draw, Ye will ne'er howk a quarrel oot o' Sawney M'Graw.
(6) Abd. 1759 F. Douglas Rural Love 8:
Mess James affronted drew his pass.
(7)Sh. 1888 P. Jamieson Letters (1949) 117:
I laid me owir i da restin shair in I drew owir me ee in I tawt.
(8) Cai. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 146:
To furnish a certain number of winlins to thatch the mains' stacks, a certain quantity of drawn straw to thatch the mains' houses.
Bnff. 1880 J. F. S. Gordon Chrons. Keith 107:
Strae Kilns” were used for drying the corn. A hole was cut in the face of a hillock, and pieces of trees, with drawn straw, were spread thereupon called “Kiln-Stickles.”
Abd. 1793 in Trans. Bch. Field Club XIV. 76:
Drawing thake to theak the houses in the villig.
Ayr. 1729 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (12 Nov.):
As to the thatching of the Manse, it will take a duzan of drawn sheaves with a workman one day to make it watter-tight.
(9) Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 180:
I am o'er old a Cat, to draw a Straw before my Nose.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xliv:
But I'm ower auld a cat to draw that strae before me.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xii.:
But no for the life o' me could I see hoo I could decently draw straes afore the een o' the auld folk, frae week to week.
(11) Ags. 1824 Literary Olio (20 March) 88:
Gin there dinna be a drawin' o' craigs an' chappin' aff o' heads ere lang, my name's no Archy Tamson.
(12) Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 120:
Up she banged in a moment, and I had nae mair than time to draw the door on my back and win awa.
(13) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
My auld een's drawing thegither.
(15) Sc. 1823 Scott Q. Durward xx.:
When the tables were drawn.
(16) Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
“It'll draw to rain,” a phrase commonly used, when, from the appearance of the atmosphere, it is believed that ere long there will be rain.
(17) (a) Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 131:
It was thocht that the factor mith' a' try't gin the tither man wud draw up a bit aifter him.
(b) Sc. 1724–27 Ramsay T. T. Misc. (1733) 89:
Gin ye fo rsake me, Marion, I'll e'en gae draw up wi' Jean.
Sc. 1745 Letter of Lord Lovat to Duncan Forbes (6 Nov.) quoted in Scott Tales (1869) lxxix.:
When they [the Fraser clan ] saw that I absolutely forbid them to move or go out of the country [the Fraser clan-territory], they drew up with my son. and they easily got him to condescend to go at their head.
Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 270:
During this time the prioress and he draws up . . . and one morning they both walk off.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality x.:
I've had nae time to draw up wi' the new pleugh-lad yet.
Fif. 1878 “S. Tytler” Sc. Firs II. 76:
To think that he should draw up wi' a bit dandilly English lassie like Miss Lingham.
Hdg. 1885 J. Lumsden Rhymes and Sk. 236:
But whae e'er wad hae thocht that the weel-faur'd honest man as he is wad hae drawn up wi' sic a bit hempie, halflin' lassie as Miss Fairbairn?
Ayr. 1721 Ayr Presb. Reg. Ms. (6 Sept.):
Allan Campbell who had drawn up his minde with Patrick Campbell his brother anent the glasse work.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds xxxix.:
I've heard, Jock, that Leezie and you have been drawing up of late.
Dmf. 1836 A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. ix. 250:
It's no every ane that the heiress of Fourmerkland will draw up wi'!
(18) Sc. 1763 “Theophilus Insulanus” in R. Kirk Secret Commonwealth (1815) App. 94:
He ran in with great Fear, not waiting to do what he went out for; and as he was drawing his Water in the House, the People within asked him why he did not piss without.

17. Combs.: (1) drawback, (a) a gasp or loud inspiration, as in whooping cough (Inv. 1900 E.D.D.; Fif.10 1940); cf. Backdraucht; †(b) “a deduction imposed as a fine” (Cld. 1880 Jam.5); †(2) draw-bed, a truckle-bed (Sc. 1734 J. Spotiswood Hope's Practicks 540); (3) draw-boy, = Eng. drawer, one who hauls the coal from the pit-face to the bottom of the shaft; (4) draw-heid, the “road-head” in a mine where the hutch is filled; †(5) draw-kiln, -kill, a lime-kiln so constructed that the burned lime is drawn at the bottom; “one in which calcining can be carried on continuously” (Edb.6 1944); (6) draw-ling, (a) the cotton grass; also in Nhb. dial.; (b) the scaly stalked club-rush, Scirpus caespitosus; (7) draw-moss, the sheathed cotton sedge, Eriophorum vaginatum (Sth. 1927 G. Meiklejohn Settlements and Roads of Scot. 15; Dmf. 1894 J. Shaw in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 146; sm.Sc. 1922 Sc. Jnl. Agric. (July) 276); †(8) draw-pot, a teapot; †(9) draw rope, in Mining: “a putter's harness” (Sc. 1944 (per Edb.6), obs.).(3) Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie v.:
His son had himself served some time, early in life, as a draw-boy in a coal mine.
(4) e.Lth. 1887 P. McNeill Blawearie 83:
Hood should ken best aboot what taks place at his ain draw-heid.
(5) Fif. 1894 J. Geddie Fringes of Fife 25:
A line of cyclopean draw-kilns.
e.Lth. 1772 Edb. Ev. Courant (11 June):
Twelve or Fourteen Hands immediately for a Limestone Quarry, and Draw-kilns, in the parish of Pencaitland.
Bte. 1820 J. Blain Hist. Bute (1880) 70:
At the foot of this hill is a draw-kiln intended for burning lime.
Ayr. 1793 Col. Fullarton Agric. Ayr. 20:
The Ayrshire boll of lime contains 4 Winchester bushels, costing at the draw kill, from 3d. to 5d. and 6d. per boll.
(6) (a) Peb. 1815 A. Pennecuik Descr. of Twd. 54, Note:
Drawling (the Eriophorum Vaginatum Linnaei, Bog Cotton, or Mosscrop) succeeds it in March, so designed because . . . the sheep, without biting, seize tenderly the part above ground, and draw up a long white part of the plant in a socket below.
(b) Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 475:
Heather and the draw-ling are the chief plants that the sheep can eat.
(7) Sc. 1895 H. Stephens Bk. Farm VI. 285:
“Flows” or flat bogs, producing “draw-moss,” so invaluable for spring food, must be dried with caution.
Sc. 1934 A. Fraser Herd of the Hills 94:
“What are they eating, father?” The ewes were browsing on fresh green cotton-sedge, tugging out the pale succulent stems from the sheltering leaves. “Draw-moss,” Johnnie answered. “The best meat in the world for putting milk on a ewe.”
Sh. 1939 A. C. O'Dell Hist. Geog. Sh. 80:
As regards the ubiquitous peat-covered hills of Shetland, they can be improved by drainage and burning-over every seven years. The areas of “drawmoss” provide good fodder for the sheep in March.
Gall. 1901 Gallovidian II. viii. 145:
Or draw-moss budding on the flowes Till sheep are fu'.
(8) Ags. 1740 Sc. N. and Q. (1st Series) X. 93:
Tea Equipage: A fine China Draw Pott.

18. To go over a common and round up grazing animals for purposes of identification. Rnf. 1762 Session Papers, Syme v. Pollok (10 Dec.) 11:
He has seen the muir drawn by the muirmasters, in order to discover if there was any outentown beasts pasturing in the muir.

19. To take a collection for charitable purposes. Vbl.n. drawing. Also drawins, earnings (s.Sc., Edb. 1990s; Bnff., Fif., Ayr. 2000s). Fif. 1952 B. Holman Behind the Diamond Panes 95:
Two men with a pass book stood at the office and collected small donations from the workers on getting their pay. . . . This was also carried out in the case of illness and there was scarcely a pay day but there was a "drawing" for some unfortunate family.
Edb. 2005:
Hoo much drawins hae ye this week?

II. n.

1. = Eng. pull.

†(1) A tug, a wrench.Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 42:
Howbe't, I gied an unco draw, An' man't to rive mysel' awa'.
Lnk. 1827 J. Watt Poems 93:
I fell, an' for to break the fa', The blanket gied a fearfu' draw.

(2) A puff at a pipe, a smoke. Gen.Sc. Also in w.Yks. dial.Sc. 1924 “Domsie” in Edb. Evening News (24 Dec.) 4:
I'll ope the muckle Buik and keek A whiley as I tak' my draw.
Fif. 1895 “G. Setoun” Sunshine and Haar 253:
After making himself quite presentable, sat down for a “draw.”
Lth. 1882 “J. Strathesk” Blinkbonny xiii.:
I'll tak a bit draw.
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop J. Mathison's Courtship 24:
I'll jist licht my pipe, an' ha'e a bit draw.
Uls. 1908 A. M'Ilroy Burnside v.:
“You'll tak' a draw,” the host would say, taking the pipe from his mouth and handing it to his guest.

2. A draught (of air).Sh. 1899 Sh. News (10 June):
Doo's sittin' i' da draw o' da door, lass, doo'll get dy deth o' cauld.

3. (1) A halyard, esp. in fishermen's tabu-language (Sh. 1825 Jam.2; 1866 Edm. Gl.; 1908 Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.).

(2) “A place on the shore over which a boat is drawn from and to the boat-shed” (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); 1914 Angus Gl.).

4. In curling or bowls: a shot played carefully so that it comes to rest on the mark (Bnff.2, Fif.10, Slg.3, Kcb.10 1940).Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 239:
I've gat, said Willie, unco claws, Frae D. D.'s wicks and Stiffy's draws.
Ayr. 1938 (per Ags.17):
O' wicks, an' draws, an' gairdin'-stanes, An' sic-like haivers.

5. Mining: (1) disturbance of surface beyond limit of working (Sc. 1944 (per Edb.6)); (2) length of road hauled by a drawer (Id.).

6. A draught or catch of fish. But poss. a mistake for Drave, II. Fif. 1866 St Andrews Gazette (14 April):
The wise woman had said, 'that altho' it was to be an awfu' puir draw, yet her folk was to hae a grand haul next e'enin'.'

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"Draw v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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