Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HOW, n.1, v.1 Also howe, hou (Sc. 1725 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 301); hew (Kcd. 1722 Elphinstone Bk. (Fraser 1897) II. 277; Abd. 1845 Scottish Farmer (Aug.) 251); hyow(e), hyou, heow (Cai., ne.Sc.); hough (Sc. 1727 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 1). Sc. forms of Eng. hoe. [Sc. hʌu; but Cai., ne.Sc. + çjʌu]

Sc. usages:

I. n. 1. As in Eng., an agricultural or gardening tool (Sc. 1724 W. Mackintosh Fallowing 27; wm.Sc. 1833 Alma Mater 109; Ags. 1914 I. Bell Country Clash 67; Bnff. 1918 M. Symon Wir Roup 1). Gen.Sc. Combs. broom-, whin-how, a type of hoe used to uproot broom or whins (Ags. 1729 Carmyllie Session Rec. MS. (29 June), broom-; Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 11, whin-; Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminisc. 141; Arg.1 1937).

2. The task of hoeing. Phr. to come tae the hyow, of root crops: to be ready for hoeing (Cai., ne.Sc. 1957). Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 100:
Shaavin' haill fiedles owre again. Ye've gotten the hyow begun.
Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 33:
Syne birze an' scraap an' birze again, Fan neeps come tae the hyow.

3. An implement shaped like a hoe used by coopers or masons. Sc. 1696 Darien Papers (B.C.) 35:
50 Coupers little Howes at 9d. p.s.
Ags. 1846 G. Macfarlane Rhymes 61:
The house-wright's hak an' mason's hew Are seldom heard.

II. v. As in Eng., to remove weeds or thin out plants with a hoe (Sc. 1725 W. McFarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 301; Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1811 J. Sim Poems 29; Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 42; Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 142; Rxb. 1921 Kelso Chron. (28 Jan.) 3; Rs. 1944 C. M. Maclean Farewell to Tharrus 11); to uproot broom or whins (Sc. 1703 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 329; Wgt. 1877 G. Fraser Wigtown 295). ¶Pa.t. hew (Sc. 1911 S.D.D. Add.).

Hence hower, hewer (Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufurt 16), one who hoes (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

[O.Sc. how, a hoe, 1375, O.Fr. houe, of Teut. orig.]

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"How n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Jun 2021 <>



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