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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated 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 8 Dec 2022 <>



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