Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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OWERGAE, v. Also owr(e)-, our(e)-. Ppl.adj., vbl.n. -ga(e)in, -g(y)aun, -g(y)aan, -gaen; -gjaain (Sh.); pa.t. -gaed, -yeed; -went; pa.p. -gane; -geen (n.Sc.). [ʌu(ə)r′ge:]

1. (1) To go over, to pass through or over, to cross. Phrs. i the owerg(y)aan, in crossing, on the way across (ne.Sc. 1964); owrgaun rapes, the ropes which go vertically over the thatch on a corn-stack (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 369; w. and s.Sc. 1887 Jam. s.v. bridlin' rapes; Lth., Kcb. 1964). Abd. 1778 A. Ross Helenore 34:
An' ran o'er pow'r, an' ere I bridle drew, O'eryeed a' bounds afore I ever knew.
Cld. 1880 Jam.:
He gaed by the ferry, an' lost his bonnet in the ourgaan.
Cai. 1896 J. Horne Canny Countryside 72:
They overwent the graveyard wall in silence.

(2) refl.: to surpass oneself, go beyond bounds in one's behaviour, to get above oneself (Ork. 1964). Hence owergeen, -gane, beyond oneself, too bold or forward in behaviour, unruly (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1964). Ork. 1929 Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 78:
Dey owergaed demsels dat night to'.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 46. 9:
If Tom gets a bit ower-geen and impudent, she says “Hmph!”

(3) fig. to transgress, contravene. Vbl.n. owregaens, sins, transgressions. Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms xxv. 7:
The misgates an' owregaens o' my youth, lat be.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xliii.:
Upo' the tae han' we're nae accoontable gin we dinna tak' an order wi' them that's owregyaun the laws o' the lan'.

(4) In vbl.n. owergaan, the point of falling asleep (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.; Sc. 1880 Jam.).

2. intr. Of time: to pass, elapse (Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 16). Phr. there's nae time owergane, see 1825 quot.; tr. of persons, etc.: to pass through (a period of time), to survive, be more than (a certain age). Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 220:
The hour o' wae's ouregane.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
The ourgane year, the past year.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
“There's nae time ourgane,” i.e., no time has yet been lost; it is still soon enough.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 79:
There's nae time owergane yet for schulin'.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xliii.:
The time's lang owregane.
Hdg. 1896 J. Lumsden Battle Dunbar 13:
A Clydesdale o'er-gane thirty year.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 24:
It was nae teime owregane or oo war birlin owre the Trow Burn.

3. Gen. in vbl.n., the act of going or working over in some operation, as in brushing or currying, cleaning or painting a surface, harrowing a field or the like (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121; Sc. 1880 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1964); fig. a dressing-down, a severe reproof (Abd. 1910; Bnff. 1955 Banffshire Jnl. (12 April); Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1964). m.Lth. 1857 J. H. Oliver Brit. Agric. 66:
Hoeing, the first o'ergoing, 1 acre of potatoes will take a woman 50 hours.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121:
The bere got bit ae ourgaan fin the rain stoppit's.
Bnff. c.1900:
The grieve ga the aal meer a gweed owergyaan wi' the dandy.
Abd. 1946 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 342:
Rose had taen owre-gauns as a maitter o' fact.

4. To overrun, infest, overspread, cover over, with weeds, dirt, etc., mostly in ppl.adj. owergane (Ayr. 1873 A. Aitken Poems 8; Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 16; I.Sc., Wgt. 1964); ¶owergjaain, id., in a pass. sense. Also fig. Dmf. a.1773 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1933–5) 82:
Now he's o'ergane wi' goud and gear.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
He's ourgane with the scrubbie.
Gsw. 1868 J. Young Poems 13:
'Twas sae owergane wi' dirt It seemed o' the Chameleon sort.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 97:
Her wee lady han's war in thristles o'ergane.
Rxb. 1913 J. Byers Hamely Musings 242:
The table has its unwashed lade, The flair's amaist ower gane wi' as'es.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Owergjaain wi dirt.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 93:
A fower-holed moose faa (da hoose is owergeen).

5. To overpower, overwhelm, oppress (Sh. 1964); to get the better of, master; to surpass, exceed (Sh. 1964). Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 11:
When yet the leal an' ae-fauld shepherd life Was nae oergane by faucit, sturt an' strife.
Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 63:
The lave o' thair sons an dochters oergane wi poortith.
Sc. 1821 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 327:
Snuff that candle there; can na ye snuff it, callant, an no stan' gauping in my face like a gled o'er gone.
Sc. 1825 Jam.:
She's quite ourgane wi' wark.
Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales 55:
By ither foulk we're sair o'ergane.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 2:
We thocht the warl', owergaen wi' age, Drew near the crack o' doom.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 21:
Da cost is owergane da honour wi' da annamals dis winter.

[Ower- + Gae, v.]

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"Owergae v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 14 Apr 2021 <>



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