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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FOW, n., v. Also fowe. [fʌu]

I. n. 1. A pitchfork (Sc. 1801 J. Currie Wks. Burns III. 410; Mry., Abd., Dmf., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Gall. 1953). Also fig.s.Sc. 1826 H. Duncan William Douglas I. 197:
There's swords, and scythes . . . and fows, and guns.
Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 248:
Whanever ye try tae pitch Young Fowks intill Heeven by main force, man Laird, they just slip the fow, an' begin tummilin' heidlang tae the tither place.
Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 12:
Heezin the corn wi sturdy fow Ontill a reeshlin buirdly sow.

2. What has been forked; “a mow or heap of corn in the sheaves, or of bottles of straw after being threshed” (Ayr. 1825 Jam.).

3. A kick (Mry., Bnff. 1925), a kicking or restless tossing movement with the feet.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 53:
The littlin wiz sae ill, that for mair nor a strucken oor it keepit a fow . . . wee'ts han's an' feet.

II. v. 1. To lift or toss straw, hay, etc. with a fork (Abd., Kcd. 1825 Jam.; Bnff., Abd., Kcb., Dmf. 1953).Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 56:
He's been fowin' without a break, since fower i' the mornin'.
Abd. 1928 Word-Lore III. vi. 148:
Meggie's job wis te geddir tull a sythe an' fowe tull the cairts at the leadin'.

2. To kick about restlessly, to toss with the feet, esp. in bed (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 53; Bnff., Abd. 1953). Vbl.n. fowan (Gregor).Ib.:
The loon tummult our on's back, an' began to fow wee's legs.
Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past & Present 134:
Johnny said that Jean “was very ill dyin' and she aye fowt.”
Abd. 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 129:
He . . . pronounced me to be “the awfu'est deevlick o' a craiter for fowin wi' ma feet that was ever on the face o' the earth.”

[O.Sc. fow, a fork, a.1550, of obscure origin.]

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"Fow n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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