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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PLOWT, v., n.1, adv. Also pl(l)out, ploot, plut, pleut, pluit; ploit; plyte. For freq. form see Plowter. [plʌut, plut; plʌt, plɔit]

I. v. 1. tr. (1) To plunge or thrust (a thing) into a (liquid), to submerge quickly in (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) P. 55, plout; Cai.31931; wm.Sc. 1966). Combs. plowt-kirn, -churn, a churn operated by raising and lowering a plunger with rapid strokes, a plunge-churn, plump-kirn (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork. 1966); plout-net, a type of fishing-net, see 1825 quot., phs. simply an erroneous form of pout-net s.v. Powt; ploot-staff, the plunger or kirn-staff of a plunge-churn.Sc. 1705 Dialogue between Country-Man and Landwart School-Master 3:
I . . . gave the other such a Thwack with my Ploot Staff, that he dropt his Durk and fell down half dead.
Fif. 1722 Rothes MSS.:
Jun the 20: a neu plout kiren . . . £3. 12s. 0.
Ork. 1747 P. Ork. A.S. XII. 52:
A Plout Churn . . . 4 butter Kitts.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 148:
To plout her hands through Hawkey's caff-cog, is a hateful hardship for Mammy's Pet, and will hack a' her hands.
Lnk. 1825 Jam.:
Plout-net. A small net of the shape of a stocking, affixed to two poles . . . The person using the net, pokes under the banks of the stream, and drives the fish into the net by means of the poles.
Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 104:
The housewife, as she plunged the kirn staff in the deep “plout-kirn”, made a circuit at regular intervals round the kirn, occasionally waving one hand in an outward direction to keep these mischievous spirits away.

(2) to set down suddenly and heavily, to plump, plank, or slap down (Abd. 1966): refl. to seat oneself with a thump.Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 152:
A farmer's wife being irritated one morning at the servants grumbling to sup porridge out of the same dish took the pet, I was told, and plutted a lot here and a quantity there along the wooden table in front of each of the grumblers.
Sh. 1966:
He plotit himsel doun i da shair.

(3) to hit with a thump, punch, “biff” (Abd. 1966).Sh. 1966:
He plowtit him i da eye.

2. intr. (1) To fall heavily and with a thump, freq. into a liquid, to “plop” down (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam., plout; ne.Sc., Per., Wgt. 1966).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 130:
The bairn plloutit our o' the fleer. He plloutit in o' the queede amo' the wattir our the hehd.
Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.:
What are ye ploitin' down for there, ye fitless falla'.
Arg. 1898 Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 186:
A linn . . . where the salmon plout in a most wonderful profusion.

(2) to walk through water or over wet ground, to squelch along (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Sh., Abd., Ags. 1966); to dabble in water or mud, splash (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., plout), to poke, generally in a liquid (Lth., Cld. 1825 Jam.). Ppl.adj. plowtin, ploutin, feeble and ineffective in one's actions or deeds, useless and inefficient (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff 130:
He plloutit up and doon the burn, fishin' wee a nit made oot o' an aul' pyoke an' twa crookit sticks.

(3) of liquids, esp. rain: to fall with a splash, to pelt down (Sh., Abd., Ags. 1966).Edb. 1856 J. Ballantine Poems 27:
Doun fa's the thick an' grizly weet, Plout, ploutin', on our auld troughstane.

II. n. 1. A noisy fall or plunge, esp. into water or the like; the noise so made, a splash, plop (Sc. 1825 Jam.; I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Wgt. 1966). Dim. ploutie, id. (Fif. 1825 Jam.), also fig. in 1830 quot. Phr. to play plowt, to make a plopping noise, fall with a plop.Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 60:
Then to wauken frae our dream As the sugar or the cream Plays plout into the cup.
Ayr. 1830 Galt Southennan I. xxxi.:
Od! but I hae been in a ploutie o' het water.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 130:
Sic a pllout into the ditch he got!
Lnk. 1873 J. Hamilton Poems 81:
The loupin braize an' perch fell back Wi' mony plouts an' plashes.
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie ii. vii.:
The single “plout” of a herring would sometimes reveal a whole school of fish.
Ork. 1920:
The solan gaed doon in the water wi a plout.
Ags. 1947 J. B. Salmond Toby Jug v.:
Every now and then the body of a small trout would curve in the air and drop back into the stream with a plout.
Abd. 1961 Huntly Express (26 May):
There wis a muffled kin' o' plout like a shottie.
Uls. 1993:
For correct making of tea, according to my uncles, I was not just to 'wet' (infuse) the tea, but also to put the teapot thereafter over heat on the cooker, just long enough for the 'twa plowts'. Then it was fit to drink.
Edb. 2003:
A plowt or twa o tabasco sauce on yer spaghetti sauce maks aw the difference.

2. A heavy shower or cascade, a downpour of rain, thunder-plump (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd. 1966 Huntly Express (21 Jan.) 4; Sh., ne. and em.Sc.(a) 1966). Also rain-plowt, id. Hence pleut-wet, adj., drenched with rain, sopping-wet.Per. 1740 Atholl MSS. (13 July):
We had that day a great plout of rain which did not last.
Per. 1818 J. Sinclair Simple Lays 33:
But winter's drenchin' plouts thee greet, An' gaurs thee dwine.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 101:
The loans wir pleut weet, an' they a' lappert in spring fin the dry wither set in.
Fif. 1902 D. S. Meldrum Conquest of Charlotte iv. vi.:
All the storms and rain-plouts that visited Fife.
Fif. 1916 G. Blaik Rustic Rhymes 191:
Nae doot it was a thundery plout, An' garr'd him scoog it, like the noute.
Uls. 1927 J. Stevenson Bab of the Percivals 102:
A bit o' a plout'll dae nae hairm.
Per.4 1950:
It's getherin in the wast there for a rale plowt.

Used also transf. of diarrhoea (Per. 1966, pluit).

3. As a place-name: a piece of land which plunges precipitously downwards, an escarpment.Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 206:
It descends precipitously to the level carse land. . . . A narrow stripe of Dunbog parish reaches the banks of the river, . . . and is called Higham Plouts.

4. An iron rod, a poker (Lnl. 1825 Jam.), phs. a reduced form of plouter, a plunger, see I. 1. above, or an alteration of powter s.v. Powt.Edb. 1845 F. Bedford Heriot's Hosp. 346:
Bring his bullie-stick or a plout for fear of an attack.

5. A clumsy, overgrown blundering person or animal, a hobbledehoy, clod-hopper (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., plowt, pluit; Mry. 1966); a jocular or derisive term for a ploughman (Fif. 1966), phs. with punning reference to plough.Abd. 1939 Huntly Express (31 March) 4:
Mr E. appears to have been a bonnie fechter as a loon to enjoy the nickname of “Plout”.
Fif. 1975:
A car plowt-a left-handed, awkward, fumbling person.

6. A dull blow, punch, thump (Sh., Abd. 1966).Abd. 1913 D. Scott Hum. Sc. Stories 65:
He [ram] doon wi' his heid, liftit his forefeet . . . an' I hid jist time ta haul 'im oot ower ta save 'im fae anither plout.

III. adv. With a thud, a crash!, bang! (Bnff., Cld. 1880 Jam.).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 130:
He fell pllout our.

[Orig. imit., the variations in vowel indicating the degree of intensity of the sound produced by the action of the verb.]

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"Plowt v., n.1, adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <>



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