Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LOUR, v., adj. Also loure-, loor, luir; lower, loower (s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell St Matthew xvi. 3). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. lour, lower, to frown, look threateningly, lit. and fig. [lu:r]

I. v. 1. As in Eng., of the sky: to become overcast. Hence loury, lowry, dull, overcast, threatening rain (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Bnff., Ags., Lth., Gall., Rxb. 1961). Now only dial. in Eng. Sc. 1823 R. McChronicle Legends Scot. III. 41:
Though the morn's lowry the day 'll be fine.
Ags. 1888 Barrie Auld Licht Idylls xi.:
Loury grew the sky, and more and more anxious the face of Little Rathie's daughter, and still Bowie prayed on.

2. To stoop, crouch, huddle: to lurk, skulk. Obs. in Eng. Fif. 1805 J. Fleming Poems 22:
Thus fill'd wi' grief, I ay at night Sat luirin' owre the ingle.
Slk. 1805 Scots Mag. (April) 296:
An' there like ony nightly thief, Wi' eerie swither lour'd awhile.

II. adj. Having a louring appearance, in combs.: 1. loor-brow, a frowning aspect, fig. in quot. (Ags., e.Lth. 1961); 2. lour(e)-shouthered, -shoothert, round-shouldered, having a stoop (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. v., 2. 1. Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 15:
Strecht afore iz, an keekin bye the shooder o the Dunion, hoized the loor-brows o derk Ruberslaw.
2. Slk. 1875 Border Treasury (15 May) 475:
He was a muckle unhandy-lookin chap, gey loure-shoothert, awfully pock-merkit, wi' raelly ane o' the unmeaninist-like coontenances ever ye saw.

[O.Sc. lour, to cower, grovel. c.1420, to skulk, lurk, c.1470, to frown, scowl, c.1590, Mid.Eng. louren, Mid.Du. loeren, to frown, to lie in wait.]

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"Lour v., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2021 <>



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