Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

FOLLOW, v. Also follie, folla; folloo (Cai. 1872 M. McLennan Peasant Life 10). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. follow. [n.Sc. ′folə, m. and s.Sc. ′fole]

1. To accompany, escort on a journey, see (someone) home (Sh., Ork. 1952). Sh. 1879 Shet. Times (3 May):
Tak' weel aboot dee, Babie, an' follow Robbie hame.
Uls. 1910 C. C. Russell Ulster 27:
He follied her hame.
Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 194:
A child too young to walk on its own feet must, on no account, “follow a man to the sea.”

2. To gratify every wish of (someone), to pamper (Abd.27 1952). Ppl.adj. follat, petted, spoiled, of a child (Id.). Abd.2 1943:
A muckle follat vratch o' a bairn that canna be contert.

3. With out: to pursue to a conclusion, carry out, execute (a plan). Occas. in Eng. for follow (up), but considered a Scotticism in the 18th cent. (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms 35). Sc. 1762 Kames Elements Crit. I. 36:
Avarice having got possession of his mind, he follows out that theme to the end, and never returns to the question proposed in the beginning.

4. Comb. and derivs.: †(1) followander, a follower, an assistant [from the obs. pr.p. followand + -er]; (2) follow-dick, a “shadow,” hanger-on, toady (Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xvi.); (3) follower, the young of any animal, esp. while still dependent on the mother. Gen.Sc. Sometimes of a little child; (4) following, (a) a body of retainers, domestic or military. Now mainly Sc. hist., esp. in reference to Highland chiefs; †(b) Mining: an overlying stratum which comes down as the mineral is extracted from under it (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms, s.v. falling). (1) Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS.:
The foreman pairtet the muck an' the followanders spread or broke it.
(2) Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lads' Love xxi.:
“Followdick!” she said. . . . The epithet implied at once the meanness of a spy, the superfluousness of the third party in those affairs of love where two is company — as well as the contemptible nature of one who not only imitates another, but thrusts his ungrateful society upon the imitated.
(3) Fif. 1793 D. Jamie Ballingry (1890) 61:
Two cows and their followers, one stud mear and her followers, six ewes and a ram and their followers.
Sc. 1811 J. Macdonald Agric. Hebr. 145:
25 shillings for every cow and followers, i.e. one three, one two, and one one year old, with the dam; and 5 shillings for every sheep with followers.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Tales (1874) 202:
She has a follower too, poor woman! a dear kind-hearted, little girl.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
A hen and its followers, a cow and its follower.
Ayr. 1953 B.B.C. Broadcast (1 Jan.):
At Mossgiel . . . we keep fifty cows and followers.
(4) (a) Sc. 1711 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report (Portland MSS.) X. 367:
Duke Gordon — He has the best following in the kingdom, especially for gentry; . . . he has a great following of Highland foot, for he is Superior of Lochaber Str[i]doun and Glenlivat.
Sc. 1816 Scott Letters (Cent. ed.) IV. 178:
You will be surprized to learn what a following I could turn out.
Sc. 1830 Scott Tales Grandfather lxxii.:
The dignity of the Chief of the Frasers — no empty honour, since the clan contained a following of from seven hundred to a thousand men.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Hist. Rebellion I. 70:
Stewart of Glenbuckie . . . and Macgregor of Glencairnaig . . . were both passing Leny House . . . with their respective “followings” to join the Prince.
(b) w.Lth. 1845–7 Trans. Highl. Soc. 233:
The coal was worked along with the ironstone, which is in the Following, or soft stratum which lies immediately above the coal.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Follow v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 May 2021 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: