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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.

SOWTHER, v. Also souther, sowthir (Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms 3); irreg. soother (Gsw. 1924 J. H. Bone Crystat Set 15; Cai., Abd. 1946); sowder (Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 189, Ayr. 1892 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 250, ne.Sc. 1955 Mearns Leader (23 Dec.) 5), souder (Sc. 1704 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 360; Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 8, Sc. 1856 J. W. Carlyle New Letters (Carlyle 1903) II. 109; Abd. 1920 C. Murray Country Places 39); sodder (Abd. 1708 Burgh Rec. Abd. (B.R.S.) 338, Gsw. 1757 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1911) 504); misprinted sowether (Rnf. 1790 A. Wilson Poems (1844) 178). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. solder. See D, 4., L, 1. (2). [′sʌuðər, ′suðer; ′sʌudər]

1. As in Eng., to unite (metal) firmly. Gen.Sc. Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 14:
I hae a vision that Scotland micht be
itsel again, its present and its past
souderet for the future's sake, tho the pain
o Freedom's no easy nor wantin doot
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 53:
Where yince there wis bedlam, noo's quate, wi guid cause.
Ay, soor plooms fae Woolworth's can sowther yir jaws.

Specif. and fig.: (1) to unite in matrimony, to marry, to make (a marriage) (Bnff., Ags. 1971); (2) to sew (cloth) (Ags. 1971).(1) Bnff. 1844 T. Anderson Poems 35:
Agin that day towmon I was as weel sowthered as ever a man was.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller v.:
Ye might hae southered up a match atween the twa houses.
(2) wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 16:
It wasna likely that I would e'er mak saut to my kail southering claith thegither.

2. intr. To melt, be welded. Used fig. in quot.Sc. 1824 J. Maidment N. Countrie Garland (1884) 18:
My eyes are southering in my head, My flesh roasting also.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
Skellets chitter in a licht
nae dawin wrocht - a dreel o wund
vainishin intae a gloweret lift;
air is fire; banes sowther.

3. (1) tr. To settle, to patch up (a quarrel, disagreement) (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork., n. and m.Sc. 1971), to reconcile.Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 215–16:
The men cast out in party-matches, Then sowther a' in deep debauches.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxiv.:
It was a' sowdered up again some gait.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxi.:
Ye maun juist sowther up yer quarrel the best way ye can.
Wgt. 1877 “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 56:
It [love] sune sowders a' up again.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheephead 261:
Gin we can sowther atween us the ither bit odds an' ends, the haill thing may be settled aff-hand.
Abd. 1925 Abd. Book-Lover V. i. 6:
They'll sowder their sairs Withoot fashin' the lug o' the law, O!
s.Sc. 1933 Border Mag. 60:
Marry the wench an' sowder up this business once for a'.

(2) To mitigate, appease, alleviate (sorrow, pain, anger, etc.) (Ags. 1971).Sc. 1838 Whistle-Binkie 31:
Guid-natured contentment is aye sure to please, I souther a' jars wi't.
Sc. 1868 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 12:
His anger will be ill to souther.
Ags. 1885 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) VIII. 415:
A nicht wi' Robie southers a', Life an' gladness bringing.

(3) To confirm, strengthen (friendship); to seal or cement (a bargain or agreement) (ne.Sc., Ags. 1971); to make a bargain with.Ayr. 1824 A. Crawford Tales Grandmother 9:
He wad hae drunk for gudefellowship, or at the southerin' o' a bargain.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 197:
It sowthers love, it quatens strife.
Ayr. 1879 J. White Jottings 227:
Souther a', baith firm and neat, Oot owre a gill.
Abd. 1909 R. J. MacLennan In Yon Toon 41:
lt wisna to hear aboot her. It was to souther you.
Abd. 1953 Huntly Express (31 July):
We gaed in tae sowther the bargain wi' a dram.

(4) intr. To agree, to get on well together (Ags., Lnl. 1971).Sc. 1736 Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 87:
Youth and eild never sowder well.
Ayr. 1830 Galt Southennan II. xiii.:
We'll souther a' right wi' anither flask.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller i.:
Jockie's a bridegroom, and Bessy a bride, Weel may they sowther, an' weel may they gree.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 55:
The sclaiters, plasterers, an' vrichts . . . Were boordit roon aboot amon's, An' soudert wi' us gran'.
Fif. 1897 G. Setoun G. Malcolm viii.:
I wonder how him an' John Murdoch get on. I doubt they winna souther.
Ags. 1949:
When work mates appear to rub each other the wrong way the saying is “Thae twa dinna sowther” or a husband and wife who are separated, and people ask what went wrong the answer is, “They just didna sowther.”

4. To become firm fact, to materialise.Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of Lairds xxxix.:
“Me the head of a house!” cried Jock; “Na, na, that will never sowther.”

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"Sowther v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Feb 2024 <>



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