Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

SHAW, v.1, n.1 Also sha, shaa(w) (Sh.), †schaw (Jam.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. show, shew. See P.L.D. § 34. [ʃɑ:, ʃ:]

I. v. A. Forms — Pr.t. sha(a)(w), schaw; pa.t. strong shew (Cld. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 157; s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 207; Sh. 1899 Shetland News (28 Oct.), Sh. 1970); weak shawed (Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 190; Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 126; m.Lth. 1827 A. Rodger Poems 184; Abd. 1877 G. MacDonald M. of Lossie iii.; Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 8; Sh. 1970); pa.p. strong shawn (Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 49; Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 55; Dmf. 1877 R. W. Thom Poems (1883) 13; Sh. 1898 W. F. Clarke Northern Gleams 93, Sh. 1970).

B. Usages. 1. As in Eng. Phrs. †(1) schaw-fair, anything serving for show rather than use, a superficial ornament or display (Abd. 1825 Jam.); †(2) shewing of faces, see quot.; (3) deriv. shewer, Sc. Law: one appointed by a Court to show a jury a property on which litigation is based (see quot.). (2) Sc. 1830 W. Chambers Bk. Scotland 70:
After the elections [in the Trade Incorporations], the old and new deacons generally dine together. The new members are much interested in having a number of adherents on these occasions, and such meetings are usually termed on that account the shewing of faces.
(3) Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 1027:
Six jurors are selected for the purpose, called viewers, who must be summoned by the sheriff to attend at the place in question . . . where the premises are pointed out to them by two persons, named by the Court, usually on the joint suggestion of the parties, and technically called shewers.

2. In imper.: = give, hand over (Ork., Cai. 1970). Cf. See, v., 8. Ork. 1931 J. Leask Peculiar People 19:
Lass, for Guidsake shaw's a had o' dat ladle till I get me supper.

3. Used impers. with on: it appears (Sh., Ork. 1970, sae shaws on). See Ky, v. Sh. 1964 New Shetlander No. 70. 33:
We aye kent du wis a guid man, an so shaas on da dav.

4. From II. 3.: to cut off the shaws or haulms of turnips (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 270; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai). Gen. (exc. Sh.) Sc. Vbl.n. shawing. Deriv. shawer, a land-worker who does this (Dmf. 1956 Dmf. Standard (31 Oct.) 8). Rxb. 1868 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 17:
The servant having been “shawing” turnips with it [a sword] in the field.
Clc. 1882 J. Walker Poems 86:
And she maun shaw the frosty neeps, Though cauld the winds are blawin'.
Bwk. 1900 Scottish Farmer (20 Oct.):
The women have made a start with the shawing of turnips.
Ayr. 1926 Trans. Highl. Soc. XXXVIII. 113:
The average weight of 100 consecutive roots in the drill when “shawn” (topped and tailed) being 487 lb.
Slk. 1956 Southern Reporter (11 Oct.) 4:
So far we have not seen, or heard of, turnip-shawing. Turnips are at all stages . . . others seem to be fully matured and ready for the shawers any time.

II. n. 1. (1) A mark, appearance, indication, sign (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). Also in Eng. dial. Abd. 1883 G. MacDonald Donal Grant liii.:
Cries i' the deid o' the nicht, an' never a shaw i' the mornin' but white cheeks an' reid e'en.

(2) Specif. of sex: the scrotum of an ox. Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm II. 163:
The hind [leg] at times, when the shaw or cod is large and fat, is as much and even more apart.

2. A showing, producing, offering, in phr. to gie a shaw o' gen. imper., to let (one) have, to produce for, to offer. Cf. I. 2. Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 58:
Come, tak' a seat, an' gie's a shaw O' your snuff horn.

3. By extension, gen. in pl.: the haulm or foliage of certain vegetables of which the roots are eaten, the stalks and leaves of potatoes, turnips, carrots or the like, sc. what shows above ground (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen. (exc. Sh.) Sc. Also in form sho(w) in Sh. Used in sing. when a single root is referred to (Sc. 1808 Jam., a carrot shaw). Occas. used of other foliage, as the pods of peas (Abd.17 1925), tops of a thistle (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 270), of hemlock (Ags. 1880 J. Watt Poet. Sk. 58). Also fig. Wgt. 1726 Session Bk. Wigtown (1934) 373:
He saw them lying together in the yard among the potatoe shaws.
Sc. 1763 Session Papers, Earl of Errol v. Watson Bill of Suspension 4:
Potatoes, the shaws or stems of which were at the time lying upon the ground.
Rxb. 1798 R. Douglas Agric. Rxb. 95:
Their [turnip] leaves, here called shaws are given to calves.
Sc. 1805 Edb. Ev. Courant (31 Oct.):
A potatoe shaw was lately dug up which had 103 attached to it.
Slk. 1813 Hogg Queen's Wake (1874) 13:
But mine was made of ane humlock-schaw.
Abd. 1876 R. Dinnie Songs 54:
Mair fit to grace the tawtie shaws, An wallop there to scare the craws?
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 62:
There was a tattie shaw stuck in the lapell o' his coat for a flooer.
Sh. 1897 Shetland News (21 Aug.):
Can ye tell me da raison 'at wir best tattie rigs is a' raskit ta da sho?
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters xx.:
Young Gourlay's frostit in the shaw already.
Uls. 1934 P. O'Donnell Edge of Stream xxx.:
Scattered like the young potatoes when you shake a green shaw.
Sc. 1935 St Andrews Cit. (17 Aug.) 4:
Four carrots, rather undersized, grew from one shaw.
Sh. 1949 P. Jamieson Letters 215:
Some yows came nosing among the withered stalks of the tattie shows.

4. The hawthorn, esp. when in full bloom (Mry. 1925).

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Shaw v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jul 2020 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: