Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SLAW, adj., adv. Also slaa(a); erron. slae (Ags. 1927 M. Angus Sun and Candlelight 15). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. slow (Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems 224; Ayr. 1790 Burns Sherramuir ii.; n.Sc. 1808 Jam., Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 19; Ork., ‡wm.Sc. 1970). Hence slawlie, slawness (Lnk. 1825 Jam.), now only liter. [slɑ:]

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. Sc. combs. (1) slow-belly, a parasite found in the wool of sheep, prob. the louse, Pediculus pediculus; (2) slow-thumbs, -thooms, a slow-moving person, a very slow worker, a laggard (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B., Rxb. 1970) (1) Kcb. 1899 Crockett Anna Mark xiv.:
Some yarn is alive enough when it comes here — both with ‘high jumpers' and ‘slow bellies'.

2. Easy-going, lax, slack, having insufficient spirit or attack. Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Slaa cats maks pert mice.
Ork. 1929 Marw.:
Of a dog: ‘too slaa wi' the kye.'

II. adv. Slowly, without haste, in a leisurely manner. Poet. Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poetry I. 180:
What's a' yon reek, sae lurid like, Slaw rising owre the binn.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 27:
Till said to Tweed, Though ye rin wi' speed, and I rin slaw, Where ye drown ae man, I drown twa.
Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods ix.:
Mair neebours, comin' saft an' slaw.
Ags. 1921 V. Jacob Bonnie Joann 14:
Rest comes slaw to you an' me.

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"Slaw adj., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



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