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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

POWT, v.1, n. Also pout(t). [pʌut]

I. v. 1. tr. or intr. and absol. To poke, prod, “to stir or search anything with a long instrument” (Sc. 1808 Jam.); to poke or stir a fire (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pout; Slk. 1966). For freq. form see Powter; “to make short convulsive motions with the hands or feet” (Cld. 1825 Jam.), to Pawt.

Combs. powt-net, pout-, “a net fastened to poles, by means of which the fishers poke the banks of rivers, to force out the fish” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Slk. 1966), “a long-handled, iron-rimmed, stocking-shaped net, especially for catching fish resting under projecting river-banks. Also a net for catching minnows” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Cf. 3. below; pout-staff, the pole of a powt-net (Sc. 1808 Jam.).Sc. 1804 Edb. Ev. Courant (16 April):
Their Association . . . have . . . for protecting the fry, given particular instructions to their Water Bailiffs, to prevent, by every lawful means their shameful destruction at Mill-dams and Mill-leads with Pocks or Pout Nets.
Rxb. c.1840 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1908) 76:
A favourite pastime with many was “gumping” for . . . trout, when the water was low. When it was in flood, a man came with a “pout net,” with which he brought many to the bank.
s.Sc. 1859 Acts 22 & 23 Vict. c. lxx. § 14:
Every person who at any Time takes or kills . . . Salmon in or from the River by means of any Pout Net, Rake Hook, or similar Engine.
s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 209:
A pout net, which resembles a landing net, only that it is very considerably larger, and is in shape only half of a circle.

2. Of an animal: to prod with the head or horns, to butt.e.Lth. 1883 J. Martine Reminiscences 120:
He [a billy-goat] was a pawky, ill-contrived beast, and thought nothing of pouting and “lafting” folk . . . On another occasion he pouted against him as he was coming home one night.

3. To catch (fish) by prodding with a Leister or the like, to spear (fish) (Bnff. 1966). Prob. a misuse of 1904 W. M. Smith Romance of Poaching 168:
I remember one sultry summer day when the river Dee was low enough for “pouting” (spearing) purposes.

4. intr. “To start up on a sudden, as something from under the water” (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 385), to poke one's way or pop up, freq. form powtle, ¶pouttel, id.; “to make a noise when starting suddenly from under water or out of a confined place” (Sc. 1880 Jam.).s.Sc. 1824 J. Telfer Ballads 44:
The mowdies pouttelit out o' the yirthe, And kyssit the synger's feete.

5. To walk with a heavy, exhausted step (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 134). Ppl.adj. powtin, toiling in an ineffectual manner, plodding laboriously, “harassed with poverty and hard labour” (Ib.).Bnff. a.1829 J. Sellar Poems (1844) 22:
Whilst in the ditches twa he poutit.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 134:
She's a peer, powtin', tyauvin' bodie.

II. n. 1. A stick or rod for poking or thrusting, a poker (s.Sc. 1808 Jam., pout); in Mining: “a long iron to snibble both wheels of a coal-hutch” (Lnk. 1966).

2. A poking or prodding movement, a thrust, a slight blow (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), “a short convulsive motion” (Cld. 1825 Jam.). Phr. no to play powt, not to make the slightest movement, to be absolutely motionless, not to budge or stir (Sawers). Cf. Pawt, n.Edb. 1813 “Edinias” Ramble to Roslin 19:
They carried him back, and he durstna play pout.

3. A heavy, weary way of walking, a trudge (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 134). Cf. Pawt, v., Powk.

4. “A person of untidy habits” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 134), a laborious, muddling, ineffectual person, a Plowter. Cf. I. 1.

[Variant of Eng., now dial., pote, O.E. potian, to poke, thrust. See also Pawt.]

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"Powt v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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