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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LEW, adj., n., v.1 Also leu-, loo, lu(e), lou-; lioo (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); lju (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.); luew (Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.)). [lu:; I. and s.Sc. lju:]

I. adj. Lukewarm, tepid, slightly heated (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1808 Jam.; w.Sc. 1902 N.E.D.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Freq. in comb. lew-warm, id. (Ruddiman, Jam.; e.Sc. 1902 N.E.D.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen.Sc. Deriv. leuness, slight warmth (Sh. 1960). Now only dial. in Eng.Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xiv.:
Dip the clout i' the loo warm water, an' pit it on the sair place; that's a tepid fomentation.
Sc. 1873 N. & Q. (Ser. 4) XII. 336:
Loo water, mixed with a little milk, is a favourite lotion for a wound or sore.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 130:
Aweel I wat, hid meed him swaet, For hid wus brave an' lue.
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 70:
Ita da stank wi watter loo, Wir rostin tings o soles ta cül.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 109:
Ta fetch a coarn o' speerits oot o' da ben press … hit cood aye pit a scaar o' leuness trow him.
Ags. 1953 Kirriemuir Free Press (3 Sept.):
Frae stowp an' boilin' kettle she A lu'-warm bath sune made.
Bnff. 1956 Banffshire Jnl. (30 Oct.):
But awa' the mitherly buddy gaed an' com' back in a meenit wi' a basin o' loo-warm water.

II. n. A warmth, a slight rise in temperature, esp. used of the interior of stacks (Sh., Abd., Fif., Rnf., sm.Sc. 1960).Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 315:
Stacks of corn are said to take a “lew”, when they are built, not being dry, when they heat.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (16 Oct.):
The use of the tripods is to prevent the rick from settling down, as does every stack having something more than just a “wee bit loo” in it.

III. v. To make tepid, heat slightly (n.Sc. 1825 Jam.); intr. to become warm (Sh. 1960). Ppl.adj. used as lewands, buttermilk and meal boiled together (Cld. 1825 Jam.).Sc. 1873 N. & Q. (Ser. 4) XII. 336:
A beast … so heated as that the sweat is visibly breaking forth, is said to be loo, or looed.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (11 Sept.):
I' da time 'at hit's luin', ye'll spaek ben.
Uls. 1902 E.D.D.:
My ears are louin.

[O.Sc. lewwarm, 1513, Mid.Eng. lewe, = 1., O.E. (ge-)hlēow, sheltered, warm, hlīewan, to warm.]

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"Lew adj., n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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