Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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PAEWAE, adj., n., v. Also pay way (ne.Sc. 1921 T.S.D.C.); pew-wew; peeoo-weeoo (Fif., 1965), pee-wee (Slk. 1965); pehw-wehow (Rxb. 1958 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 25); pauw(e)-wauw(e) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); †pow-wow; bae-wae; pee-moe (Slg. 1911).

I. adj. Of a person: pallid, whitefaced, sickly; drooping, spiritless (Sh., ne.Sc., Fif. 1965); hence, affected, ultra-refined (s.Sc. 1920). Per. 1739  Letter in Atholl MSS.:
Jamie has had ill Houmers hanging about him which of a long time has keept him pow wow.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 58:
Ye never saw sic a gether-up o' blackit, pew-wew craturs i' yer born days.
Abd. 1898  J. R. Imray Sandy Todd vii.:
I'm rale sorry tae see him leukin' sae paewae kin'.
Bnff. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
Sic a pae-wae lot, wi' the tear i' their ee.
Abd. 1955  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick i.:
Neen o' yer pae-wae shilpit lyookin craters, bit a fine weel-skinnt brosy laddie.

II. n. A peevish weakling (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pauw-wauw); a querulous, affected person, esp. of a woman. Deriv. paewaetick, id. (Bnff. 1953). Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 17:
Puir thing! ee ir a pauwe-wauwe; ee'r aa egg-shells.

III. v. To eat without appetite, trifle with one's food (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pauw-wauw; Slk. 1965, pee-wee).

[Orig. prob. chiefly imit. of a whining puling sound but with formative influence from Wae, Wow. Cf. also peetie-wallie, s.v. Peelie.]

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"Paewae adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2019 <>



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