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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SAUCH, n. Also saugh: saigh (Ork.). [sɑx, sǫx; s. Sc. sɑxʍ.] The willow tree, the sallow (Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica II. 607, 1825 Jam.), specif. the large-leaved or goat-willow, Salix caprea (Sc. 1874 Trans. Highl. Soc. 354). Gen.Sc.: a willow wand or rod, willow wood. Also attrib. Adj. sauchie, -y, made of willow, abounding in willows (Cld. 1825 Jam., sauchie bank, brae, etc.).Bwk. 1719 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XXXI. 124:
The Deacon discharges all tanning or barking of leather with sauch bark.
Sc. 1726 W. Macfarlane Geog. Coll. (S.H.S.) I. 199:
A good wood of birks, sauches, rantree, and other trees.
Sc. 1754 Caled. Mercury (7 Jan.):
A large Parcel of seasoned Sauch-wood.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Farmer's Salut. x.:
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle O' saugh or hazle.
Sc. 1802 Scots Mag. (July) 593:
But I met a lad by the sauchy burn side.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxii.:
Mony a day hae I wrought my stocking, and sat on my sunkie under that saugh.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck ix.:
There's a hantle o' cleckins about the saughs o' the lake.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.:
Wi' a slopit wood lum an' a twisted saugh riggin.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 65:
Sauch will sab if it were simmer sawn.
Mry. 1865 W. Tester Poems 105:
What ye want she'll nimbly grant, As soople as a saugh.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 144:
A wooden dish, hooped with “saugh”.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 4:
The green-leaved saughs ower the banks are swingin'.
Ork. 1927 Peace's Almanac 136:
A lickin I got wi' a muckle green saigh, laid on wi' a' me faither's birr.
Sc. 1933 W. Soutar Seeds in the Wind 13:
My faither brak a sauchy stick.
Per.4 1960:
A bunch o sauchs tae mak baskets.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 101:
Passing through reeds and sauches, as if these growing things were not there at all, they made their steady way to form a stream of phantoms, heedless of their broken bodies, folding themselves soundlessly into ranks on the main avenue of the park.

Combs., chiefly denoting various species of willow, as black sauch; flourin sauch (Abd. 1969), French sauch, the willow herb, Epilobium angustifolium, from the similarity of its leaves to those of the willow (Lnk. 1832 W. Patrick Plants Lnk. 175); gray sauch, the grey willow, Salix cinerea (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 181); ¶greetin sauch, the weeping willow, Salix babylonica, (Abd. 1930), of doubtful authenticity; hoburn sauch, the laburnum, Cytisus laburnum (see Hoburn); hoop sauch, the osier, Salix viminalis, used for making barrel hoops; laurel sauch, ? the intermediate willow, Salix laurina; privy sauch, the privet, Ligustrum vulgare (s.Sc. 1777 J. Lightfoot Flora Scotica II. 1131); red sauch, the red willow, Salix rubra.Sc. 1706 W. Fraser Hist. Carnegies (1867) 377:
The black saugh, willow, osier, and laurell saugh.
Sc. 1743 R. Maxwell Select Trans. 47:
To plant the Ditches, with Allar, Hoop-saugh.
Dmf. 1794 Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 601:
The gray saugh, which grows to a large size.
Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 120:
Red saugh or sallow, is esteemed next in value to ash, oak and elm.

2. Gen. combs.: (1) saugh buss, -bush, a willow tree, prob. specif., one of the low-growing varieties (ne.Sc., Kcb. 1969); (2) saugh-creel, an osier basket; (3) saugh road, a road lined with willows (Kcb. 1969); (4) saugh stob, a stake of willow; (5) saugh tree, a willow tree (w.Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 66; Sc. 1880 Jam.; Ags. 1969); (6) sauch wan(d), ¶-whan, a twig or branch of willow. Gen Sc. Also attrib.; (7) sauch-weed, persicaria, esp. Polygonum amphibium, from its willow-like leaves (Ayr. 1886 B. and H. 415); (8) sauch whistle, a whistle made from a willow twig; (9) sauch-willie, the willow (Bnff., Abd., w.Lth., Ayr., sm.Sc. 1969). Also willow-sauch, id.; (10) sauch woodie, a withy or rope made of twisted willow wands.(1) Sc. 1791 Lads of Wamphray in Child Ballads No. 184 xv.:
As soon as the Galiard the Crichton he saw, Beyond the Saugh-bush he did draw.
s.Sc. 1898 E. Hamilton Mawkin ii.:
In the wet tangle of saugh bushes.
Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 382:
Lyin sleepin in a saugh-buss.
Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 18:
Adoon thro' Auchty Donald's haughs An' by the auld saugh buss.
em.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (July) 289:
The cool, damp roots of the saugh bush.
(2) Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 25:
How to mak beeskeps, and wattle saugh-creels.
(3) Ags. 1846 P. Livingston Poems (1855) 73:
Down the saugh road, across the burn.
(4) Sc. 1842 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 135:
Saugh stobs, four feet long, may be driven into the ground.
(5) Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 10:
Saugh-trees blossom on ilk' burnie's brow.
Sc. 1815 Scott Guy M. xxii.:
There was an auld saugh tree that's maist blawn down.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxviii.:
Do you see that saugh-tree at the corner o' the avenue?
Kcb. 1899 Crockett Kit Kennedy xix.:
There by the saugh-tree was oor wee Lilias's garden.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 17:
Crooch hunkerin' canny anaith the saugh tree.
m.Sc. 1979 William J. Rae in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 78:
Aabody kent the greedy craitur had a secret store o worms he had caught wi his great, muckle, flichterin tongue. It wis thocht he had them hidden awa aneth a sauchtree by the burn.
(6) Dmf. 1760 Session Papers, Jardine v. Corbet Proof 63:
He has seen the convener walking home with a sauch wand in his hand.
Kcb. 1797 R. Buchanan Poems 32:
A' the mind just like a saugh wan' Pliable.
Lth. 1819 J. Thomson Poems 36:
A saugh-wand creel to haud our spoons.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 20:
Guid saugh wans tae mak' tattie creels.
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk Lore 180:
With such slender-looking materials as a wooden plough and graith made of “sauch waans”, one unacquainted with the strength of such was apt to look down upon the implement.
Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 13:
They mended pitchers, pats, an' pans, An' coopered baskets wi' saugh whans.
Rxb. 1933 Kelso Chron. (3 Nov.) 5:
He'd staun' an' fish withooten hap or biel' Ahint a souple sauch-wand an' a raplach, roosty reel.
wm.Sc. 1987 Anna Blair Scottish Tales (1990) 33:
It had stayed there while spring turned to summer and warm suns and soft rains nourished the brae until one of the fresh sauch wands that had been woven into the creel, took root.
(8) Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 166:
To swim, catch trouts, make seggon boats, bourtree guns, and saugh whistles.
(9) Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 10:
To feast amang the willow saughs By the rushin' syke.
(10) Ayr. 1789 Burns To Dr Blacklock vi.:
But I'll sned besoms, thraw saugh woodies, Before they want.

[O.Sc. sauch, willow, 1472, North. Mid.Eng. salfe, O.E. salh, corresp. to Eng. sallow from the oblique case-stem of West Sax. sealh, salȝ-.]

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"Sauch n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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