Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SCOWTH, n., adv. Also skowth, scouth, skouth, scooth, skooth; reduced form scou, and irreg. scouf, scowf(f), skowf, skoof. [skʌuθ, skuθ; skʌuf, skuf]
I. n. 1. Freedom of movement, liberty to range, (elbow-) room, scope, lit. and fig. (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Ayr. 1811 W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 693; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork., n. and em. Sc. (a), Edb., Dmb., Lnk., Wgt. 1969), freedom to express oneself, latitude, permissible limits; plenty, abundance, as much as one could wish.
Sc. 1700 D. Williamson Sermon in Parl. Ho. 14:
Prelacy that gave too great scouth to prophane inclinations. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 18:
By break of Day he seeks the dowy glen, That he may Scowth to a' his Mourning len'. Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 19:
Whate'er betides them, it relieves their heart, Fan they get scouth their dolor to impart. Ayr. 1785 Burns To Rev. J. M'Math x.:
They talk o' mercy, grace, and truth, For what? — to gie their malice skouth On some puir wight. Sc. a.1835 Robin Hood and the Beggar, II. in Child Ballads No. 134. xlii.:
If to get scouth to weild his tree, I fear you'll both be paid. Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 26:
Youth maun hae scowth for its outbursts o' glee. Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 45:
Hech! Ned, on priests ye tak your skouth, But you hae spak the naked truth. Lnk. 1893 J. Crawford Verses 26:
Unbridled was our glorious scooth, Rampagin' free's the wun' that blaws. Mry. 1914 H. J. Warwick Tales 148:
She'll nae get muckle scowff fan ye're aboot. Cai. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
To get one's scou of anything is to get all one wants. Lth. 1921 A. Dodds Antrin Sangs 8:
A' liket the games wi' the kissin'! And every yin had their scowf. Ork. 1930 Orcadian (13 Feb.):
A man would say of his farm that whether he had good land or not, yet he had extent enough, “he had plenty o' skouth”. Ags. 1954 Forfar Dispatch (18 Feb.):
It gies wi mair paice for a crack, for fin Bob's there, we dinna hae the same scowth. Bnff. 1967 Banffshire Jnl. (20 July) 8:
Staun back, loons, or I gits scouf tae throw.
Hence (1) adj. scowthie, scouthie, capacious, roomy, bulky, big (ne.Sc. 1969); (2) phr. scowth and rowth, room to range and food or means in plenty; abundance, as much as one could wish.
(1) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 150:
He's biggit a scouthie house. That's a fine scouthie steer. Abd. 1887 R. S. Robertson On Bogie's Banks 106:
The fine plenished hoose, and the scouthie yard tee. (2) Sc. 1825 Jam.:
That's a gude gang for your horse; he'll have baith scouth and routh. Abd. 1900 G. Williams Fairmer's Twa Tint Laddies 49–50:
“Hame's hame”, quo' he, “there's scouth an' routh O' meat for a' men there”. Lth. 1928 S. A. Robertson With Double Tongue 27:
For mournin ye'll hae scowth and rowth when twafauld ower a rung yet.
2. Start, advantage, handicap in a game (Rs. 1958, scoof); room to play.
Abd. 1904 E.D.D.:
One may claim ‘scouth' [in marbles], i.e. if his bool has been obstructed he sends it farther on.
3. Release or relaxation from work, a holiday, time off.
Edb. 1867 A. Leighton Romances 96:
Ye've been sitting owre close. Take scouth for a day. Ags. 1894 A. Reid Sangs 76:
Like wind they scoored owre dale an' hill, An' took their scowth wi' richt guid-will.
4. Scope, opportunity, chance to improve or prosper (Cai., ne.Sc., em.Sc. (a), Dmb., Lnk., Wgt. 1969).
Sc. 1926 H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 70:
Sae man returns in endless growth Till God in him again has scouth. Abd. 1928 Abd. Press & Jnl. (8 Nov.) 6:
Still there wid be plenty scooth in Austrawlia an' Canada yet. Sc. 1936 J. G. Horne Flooer o' Ling 71:
Forbye what scouth hae ye ava On ae gut string?
5. Abundance, plenty (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Developed from phr. with rowth under 1.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 144:
Scouth o' sic wights already prance, Unfetter'd owre our isle. Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 38:
The sturdy tiller o' our plains, Whose work demands nae scowth o' brains.
¶II. adv. For a- or in scowth, a-plenty, in abundance.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 286:
The rain comes scouth when the wind's in the South.
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"Scowth n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/scowth>
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