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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LOUR, v., adj, n. 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). Also fig. 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.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 17:
An yersel, O Pilate, div ye no see
The lourin chynge an thraw o fate,
That thon's the verra Man wis panelled
Afore your coort when ye wis great?

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.

III. n. An overcast 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 65:
At best short sun-blinks
atween the weety louer o cloods.

[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., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Feb 2023 <>



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