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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).

POTTERLOW, n. Also potterllow, -lou; ¶potterlyaag (Abd. 1911 Weekly Jnl. (20 Jan.)). A broken or ruined condition, smithereens, pulp, freq. of food spoilt in cooking. Phr. gane to potterlow, reduced to pulp or fragments, completely spoilt (ne.Sc. 1964); of persons or circumstances: in a ruined condition, “gone to the devil”, to wreck and ruin.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 133:
He's t' potterllow wee drink.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 161:
A'thing his been in a protty-potterlou for them an' a' idder body sin syne.
Abd.27 1950:
A bilet tae potterlow — i.e. to a pulpy, mushy condition, overboiled, e.g. of potatoes.

[Prob. orig. a nonce formation based on the phr. to go to pot, conceivably with a pun on Waterloo. Cf. Potterneeshin, id. and plowterlowe, s.v. Plowter, n., 4., and n.Eng. dial. potter, to confuse, perplex.]

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"Potterlow n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Oct 2022 <>



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