Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HEAVY, adj. Also hivvy (Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 8; Abd. 1935 M. C. Wilson Souter's Sujaistions 6).

Sc. usages:

1. Of a river: swollen, above normal height (Cai., Abd., em.Sc.(b), Ayr., Kcb., Slk. 1956). Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery v.:
The river was not in flood, but it was above its ordinary level — a heavy water, as it is called in that country.
Slk. 1890 Scots Mag. (June) 26:
Narrating various instances occurring in former years when the water was “heavy,” of inefficient cavaliers slipping from their saddles.

2. In an advanced state of pregnancy; hence phr. heavy o' fit, heavy-fitted, -it (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Gall., Uls. 1902 E.D.D.), id. Gen.Sc. Also fig. Sc. 1827 Scott Journal (1890) II. 13:
I certainly turn heavy-footed, not in the female sense, however.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 146:
James cam to me ae morning when she was heavy o' fit.
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (8 Jan.):
Wir coo is heavy an' his ane is ield.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters vi.:
Rab Tosh o' Fleckie's wife was heavy-footed at the time, and Doctor Munn had been a' nicht wi' her.
Fif. 1939 J. Lee Tomorrow is a New Day 4:
She has told me since that she was “heavy footed” at the time. That is her reticent way of saying she was with child.

3. Large, copious. Gen.Sc. Ayr. 1889 H. Johnston Glenbuckie xv.:
Sandy sometimes took a gey heavy dram.

4. Of beer: see quot. Sc. 1955 A. Campbell Bk. of Beer 207:
The visitor to Scotland will need to know that mild and bitter are not locally used terms. Heavy beer is equivalent to best bitter; there is very little mild sold outside England.

5. Phrs. and Combs.: (1) heavy handfu(l), a heavy burden, an oppressive responsibility. Gen.Sc. (2) heavy-heartit, of the atmosphere: lowering, threatening rain (Fif. 1825 Jam.; Knr. 1956); (3) to be heavy on, a heavy neighbour on, to be hard on, consume or eat a great deal of. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. (1) Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lviii.:
If ye had an experiment o' the heavy handfu' they hae been to me, ye would hae mair compassion for your mother.
Sc. 1849 M. Oliphant M. Maitland xxiii.:
Her sister, who had been left a widow, with a heavy handful of young bairns.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 51:
“She has a heavy handful” said of a widow who is left with a large family.
Fif. 1899 Colville Vernacular 19:
Worst trial of all was that heavy handfu', the helpless naitrel or harmless loonie.
(3) Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xviii.:
Good black French brandy was the constant beverage and a heavy neighbour Will was on it.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl. 51:
“He's very heavy on the strawberries,” i.e. he eats a great many.
Lth. 1882 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 181:
The boys were like all healthy boys . . . “heavy” on their clothes.

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"Heavy adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Aug 2020 <>



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