Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LAW, n.2 Also la; †lea(u)w, †loaw. [lǫ:, lɑ:, ne.Sc. †ljɑ:(v)]

1. A rounded hill (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 312), gen. of a somewhat conical shape and freq. isolated or conspicuous among others, e.g. Dundee Law, Largo Law, Berwick Law, Broad Law. The word is particularly common as a place-name in the em. and s.Sc. areas.Rxb. 1717 J. J. Vernon Par. Hawick (1900) 134:
From the bridge to the foot of the play la.
Peb. 1775 M. J. Armstrong Tweedale 49:
Hills are … variously named, according to their magnitude; as Law, Pen, Kipp, etc.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Silver Tassie i.:
The ship rides by the Berwick-Law.
Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 309:
A place called Castle-law. It is situated upon the summit of a very high hill, which resembles a low cone.
Sc. 1828 Scott O. Mortality Note 23:
They are said to have outstripped and coted, or turned, a hare upon the Bran Law, near the head of Moffat water.
Slk. 1832 Hogg in Trans. Highl. Soc. 285:
The common green dumpling-looking hills . . . generally named Laws.
Fif. 1876 A. Laing Lindores Abbey 16:
The term “Law” is applied to many of the heights in the neighbourhood.
Dmf. 1878 R. W. Thom Jock o' the Knowe 79:
The white croon'd law blithe spring can thaw.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 60:
My mind was far awa' In the peace o' a simmer glen, Daunderin' hame ower the heathery law.
Abd. 1931 Abd. Press & Jnl. (19 Feb.):
Fae babbinqua, fae laich an' law They're brattlin for the bruilzie.

2. An artificial mound or hillock, specif.: (1) a tumulus or barrow, grave-mound.Abd. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XI. 408 Note:
A law was lately opened on the farm of Strathairy, in which was found a small urn containing some ashes.
Ags. Ib. II. 488:
There are two artificial mounds in the parish … which are commonly called Laws.
m.Lth. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 373:
The tumuli or cairns in Scotland are also known by the name of laws or barrows.

(2) a mound of earth and shingle on the bank of a river on to which salmon nets are drawn to be emptied (Abd. 1825 Jam.).Abd. 1693 Session Papers, Leslie v. Fraser (29 March 1805) 331:
The net may be moveable by flood and ebb and fellit, and brought home to the law in a formal shot, fit for slaying salmon.
Abd. 1795 Ib. 91, 138:
He does not know if any leaws must be made at any part of the water-side, but he knows of no bulwark. … A Leaw is a place wherever a net can be hauled ashore.

[O.Sc. lau, c.1150, lawe, 1374, = 1., 1674, = 2. (2). North. Mid.Eng. lau, id., O.E. hlāw, a (grave-)mound, a hill.]

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

"Law n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2023 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: