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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.

SCUSH, v., n. Also skish. Most freq. in deriv. forms scushle, -el, skus(c)hel, -le. [skʌʃ(l); Cai. skuʃ(l)]

I. v. 1. To shuffle, to walk with a shambling gait not lifting the feet from the ground (Sc. 1825 Jam., scushle; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; ne.Sc. 1969, scush(le)).Kcd. 1811 Rymour Club Misc. (1906) I. 29:
Grannie fell into a ditch by the way She hushled, she scushled, she kent na well hoo.
Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes lxxiv.:
I heard sic a scushlin' and a shochlin' upo' the brig!
Abd. 1927 J. Gray Stray Leaves xlv. 7:
Granda did not lift his feet when he walked, he just skished like.
Abd. 1928 J. Baxter A' Ae 'Oo' 7:
[Her] pair o' scushlin' sheen.
Bnff. 1956 Banffshire Jnl. (21 Aug.):
Awa' he skuschled wi' his aul' bauchelt sheen clattin' at his heels.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 17:
Ma hans are scorie-hornt,
An fyles I fin masel
Skushlin ma feet, as ma midder did
Oot teemin the orra pail.

2. To work in a careless, slovenly manner (Cld. 1880 Jam.); to give an article of dress rough usage (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., scushle).

II. n. 1. A shuffling, scuffling with the feet or the noise of this (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Cld. 1880 Id.; ne.Sc. 1969); the shuffling movement in hop-scotch (Bnff. 1969).

2. An old worn-down shoe (Abd. 1825 Jam., scushle; Bnff. 1969); any clumsy or dilapidated article, used attrib. in 1833 quot.Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 142:
Afore a young dame tak' the street Wi' twa aul' scushills on her feet.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 106:
Aweel, we landit at this ferry, W' a scushel thing they ca' a wherry.
Abd. 1882 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 25:
Stap yer feet in'o some bits o' auld skushels.

3. The act of working in a careless unmethodical manner, slovenly, slip-shod work (Cld. 1880 Jam.).

[Orig. chiefly imit. of the shuffling noise, phs. with some influence from Scash.]

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"Scush v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Mar 2024 <>



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