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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

DROW, n.1, v. Also drowe. [drʌu]

1. n.

(1) A cold, wet mist, a sea-fog, a drizzle (Lth., Cld., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai); also in phr. Liddisdale drow, a thick, wetting drizzle, “a shower that wets an Englishman to the skin” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xxii.:
Sae near Sabbath at e'en, and out o' ane's warm bed at this time o' night, and a sort o' drow in the air besides.
Sc.(E) 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' the Ling 15:
Ere lifts the drow Fae hill an' howe.
Fif. 1991 Tom Hubbard in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 143:
Ill-thriven laund, eenou ti me sae deir,
Cauldrife an courin fae the daithlie drow:
e.Lth. 1906–11 Rymour Club Misc. I. 175:
Ree-a-ree, a ranigate. The pipers i' the Canigate, The drow is in the air.
Rxb. c.1885 W. Laidlaw Poetry & Prose (1901) 38:
A clud had coped the Dunion Hill, A dreary drow the syke did fill.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 19:
The daggy drowe comes drifflin on.
Borders 1933 Border Mag. (Aug.) 115:
I have heard an old lady remark, quoting a local saw: “A Liddesdul drow Weets a Tibidull man Throw and throw.”

Hence drowie, -y, misty, drizzling, damp (Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 386:
On yon grey drowy muir Whaur snell blasts scour ye ti the bane.
Rxb. 1915 Kelso Chron. (1 Jan.) 3:
It was a dull, drowy (showery) sort of day, not a rain, but a Scotch mist, a wee damp as they express it in those parts.

(2) “An undefinable quantity of water” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 186); a drop (Wgt. 1825 Jam.2).Sc.(E) 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah lxv. 13:
My folk, they sal drink, bot ye'se no hae a drow.

2. v. To drizzle (Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., 1942 Zai).Lth., Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
It's drowin on, used to denote a thick wetting mist.

[Of obscure origin.]

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"Drow n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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