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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

STOB, n., v. Also stobb, ¶stoobb, stobe, and erron. stop. [stob]

I. n. 1. The wound caused by a dagger or poinard, a stab-wound; a poke, prod; also fig. a gibe, a thrust of sarcasm.Sc. 1710 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 295:
The body of the packman with eight stobs in it.
Edb. 1738 Caled. Mercury (2 Nov.):
He is very flat in the Far-nostril and drawn together, which Misfortune he got by a Stob.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 135:
He gae Sandy a stob aboot the heid wi' his finger.
Abd. 1930 D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 24:
His hide's ower teuch tae pierce wi' the sma' stobs I gie him.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alexander Scott in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 70:
Sair heid frae here,
sair hert frae outbye thonder
-but whilk will stang
wi the shairper stob,
and whatten a stound
will laist the langer?

2. A prickle, a thorn, spike of a bush (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd. 1971); a splinter of wood, esp. one driven into the skin (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Per., Fif. 1971); the wound made by such (Id.). Also in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1716 J. Moncrief Poor Man's Physician 169:
Southern-wood bruised with Swines-seam, applyed, draweth forth a Stob, Thorn, or any other Thing.
Abd. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes 26:
For pickin stobs frae laddies' feet.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 45:
His kilt could barely fend his houghs Fae stobs, it was sae torn.
Abd. 1933 Abd. Press & Jnl. (16 March):
But aye there's a something, the stob to the rose.
Abd. 1965 Huntly Express (24 Sept.) 7:
The gatherers [of grain] had most of their leisure time bespoken for the taking out of thistle stobs.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 39:
As if the stobs o a sick rose
War plottin in secret
Tae draw a tinchel roon me -
Their reids, their blaiks,
In the mids o a deep glen.

3. A short, thick nail (Mry. 1813 W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 467; Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Comb. stob-nail, id. (Bnff., Rxb. 1971).Gsw. 1728 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 308:
Fixing the iron bands to the trades of the carts by square headed stob nails.
Abd. 1735 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 17:
To 400 double flooring Stobs . . . 2s 8d.
Abd. 1778 Aberdeen Jnl. (24 Aug.):
Razors, Nails, Stobs, Sprigs, and Tacks.

4. A bradawl, used by joiners, shoemakers and saddlers (Sc. 1872 N. & Q. (Ser. 4) IX. 476, a borin stob; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1971); a piercer used in the making of rag or wool rugs (Dmf. 1971).Sh. 1879 Shetland Times (16 Aug.):
I maun hae a broag or a stobb.
Abd. 1881 Times (4 Jan.) 11:
Cruickshank, a saddler, had deliberately stabbed him with a “stob”.
Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 154:
The Caithness name for the articles was “stob awls.”

5. A Y-shaped stick with sharp points acting like a staple driven into the sods laid on the sarking of a roof so as to compress the bundles of the overlaid straw used in thatching (Bnff., Abd. 1971), later a two-pronged stick or rod used to push thatching straw into roof sods. Cf. Sting, n.2, 5. Comb. stob-tha(i)ck, -theek, n., thatch put on in this manner (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 183); v., to thatch with stobs (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1971). Hence stob-thacker (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), -thack man, and reduced and hypocoristic forms stobbie, -y (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.), stob-thackit. Now hist.Abd. 1729 Third S.C. Misc. II. 136:
They thatch exceeding well here which lasts 20, 30 years, which we call stob-thatching.
Bnff. 1758 Session Papers. Mortimer v. Hay (6 Jan.) 5:
The Mansion-house had a stob-thatched Roof.
Kcd. 1813 G. Robertson Agric. Kcd. 187:
A regular roof of foreign timber, and stob-thatch, sewed on with rope yarn.
Ags. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 127:
Stob-thatched: that is, the rafters are then covered with shrubs, generally broom, laid to cross the rafters at right angles; over this is placed a complete covering of divots, which is again covered with straw, bound up in large handfuls, one end of which is pushed between the divots; this is placed so thick as to form a covering from four to about eight inches deep.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm III. 1097:
Other modes of thatching stacks, such as sticking in handfuls of straw . . . and keeping them down with stobs of willow.
Ags. 1888 Brechin Advert. (30 Oct.) 3:
A snug bit hoosie, wi' a stob-theekit roof.
Abd. 1891 T. Mair Arn and His Wife 52:
An, whan the stobthack man cam' on — Nae Ketty cam' to get his news, Or tak' her fun at “Stoby.”
Kcd. 1893 C. A. Mollyson Fordoun 182:
David Clark was by profession a “stob-thatcher.”
Abd. 1929 J. Milne Dreams o Buchan 12:
I'll harl't tae keep it dry an stob-thack it weel forby.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xix.:
A clump of small “stob-thackit hoosies.”
Abd. 1970 Studies to E. E. Evans 44:
A two-toed “stob” up to two feet long with an iron head and a wooden shaft.

6. The stump of a rainbow, showing the lower ends of the bow only, looked on as presaging a storm at sea (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Kcd., Ags., Fif. 1971).

7. A post or stake, esp. one used for fencing (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein). Gen. (exc. I.) Sc.; a stick in gen., a piece of wood. Cf. Stab, n.1Sc. 1706 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1908) App. 665:
Three stoobbs of my own timber.
Ayr. 1712 J. Paterson Hist. Ayr. (1863) I. 85:
A lamp he put up on the south stob, for directing the fishers.
Sc. 1716 R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) II. 137:
The mill where every stob was burned.
Rs. 1758 Session Papers, Bayne v. Monro (16 Jan.) 1:
Some Stobs, which are supposed to be the Remains of an old Yare.
Dmb. 1793 Morison Decisions 12830:
His right of fishing by stobs and nets.
Sc. 1842 J. Aiton Clerical Econ. 135:
Saugh stobs, four feet long, may be driven into the ground.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags li.:
Our little Margaret, loosely reeved to a sunken stob.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road v.:
Ye'll see his head upon a stob.
Bwk. 1921 Jnl. Agric. IV. 381:
The posts were fir, the stobs were spruce.
Fif. 1938 St Andrews Cit. (7 May) 12:
Net stobs, fruit nets, pea hurdles
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 65:
The stobs o the win-break sprauchle
in the blufferts o this west wind
that gars the reid flag on the tee flame.
Dundee 1991 Ellie McDonald The Gangan Fuit 33:
The puir wally-draigle his ae fuit has liftit
syne stoppit afore he's onythan duin.
Nae stobs has he biggit, nae slaps has he reddit,
naethan tae shaw aa this time on the muin.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 14:
Reachin the hedge, Curra, wi ae breenge, spite o the thick stobs an branches, forced his wee swippert body inno the open air.

8. Combs. and derivs.: (1) craw stobe a spike on the pinnacle of a gable; (2) paling-stob, a fence-stake (ne.Sc., Per. 1971); (3) stob-dike, a stake fence; (4) stob-feather, the stumpy undeveloped feather of an unfledged bird (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Hence stob-feathert, -erd, unfledged; also transf. of human beings, and fig. provided for, equipped or furnished for life (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 183); (5) stob-fence, a fence of wire fixed on wooden posts. Gen.Sc.; (6) stob-net, a salmon net fixed on posts, a stake-net. See Stake, n., 1.; (7) stobbie, -y, rough and spiky, prickly , bristly (ne.Sc., Ags. 1971); (8) stobbins, -ans, the stubbly broken pieces of straw left after threshing (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 182).(1) Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. vi.:
A druckit heiddie craw sittin on the craw stobe o' the auld barn.
(2) Rxb. 1851 Justiciary Reports (1853) 477:
Threatening to beat them with a bludgeon or pailing-stob.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xi.:
Here they are in heaps like paling-stobs!
Per. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Scots 40:
She gat on a palin' stob. Afore the cock wud craw.
(3) Gsw. 1723 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 166:
The burden of his upholding of the stob-dikes.
Rnf. 1763 Session Papers, M'Crae v. M'Farlane (25 May) 10:
Inclosed with a stob-dike, and railed at the head with rafters and rails.
(4) n.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
Of a young couple who have little provision or furniture, it is said: They're nae stob-feather'd yet.
Abd. 1923 Swatches o' Hamespun 17:
The only een o' a rale big brodmil that didna dwine an' dee or they war gey weel stob-feddert.
(5) Rnf. 1970 Greenock Teleg. (25 Sept.) 11:
To put up Stob Fences at the unprotected parts of the track.
(6) Slg. 1756 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 49:
All the pock, stop [sic], and herry-water nets, which they should find people making use of in the Forth above the Pow of Alloa.
Dmb. 1806 Morison Decisions 14238:
Salmon fishing in the river Leven, by means of stob-nets.
(7) Crm. 1835 H. Miller Scenes & Leg. 254:
Ye'll build the dyke, and make it heigh, heigh, and stobbie on the top.
Ags. 1862 Brechin Advert. (29 July) 2:
On a stobby hawthorn spray.
Abd. 1898 J. M. Cobban Angel iii.:
What for do men wear a stobby bunch of hair beneath their nose?
(8) Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. iv.:
The beasts got sometimes leepit caff — that wis caff stobbins steepit wi' het water.

II. v. 1. To stab with a sword or the like (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Also in Eng. 1700 S.C. Misc. III. 186:
McPhersone came in to his house, and stobbed the bed, seeking the deponent.
Sc. 1707 J. Frazer Second Sight Pref.:
Ere Night he was stobbed by a Poinard.
Sc. 1713 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) II 237:
To stobb the first man who should venture to make the proposall.
Sc. 1749 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 606:
Stobbed or wounded in his left side.
ne.Sc. 1991 Alastair Mackie in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 68:
Spring that gies me a scunner, I've this
to say to ye; turnin some street corner
aa o a sudden I get stobbed thro wi the dirks
o your weird-like breerin.

2. To prick or jab with some pointed object (Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1971); to use a piercer in making a rug (Dmf. 1971). Also fig.Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 73:
Your pride is maybe a thochtie stobbit evenoo.
Abd. 1932 R. L. Cassie Scots Sangs 27:
She dulls the stoons that stob my heid.
Bnff. 1954 Banffshire Jnl. (29 June):
Gin they war tae stob their cranny finger on a funn-buss.

3. To fence with stakes, to mark or bound with posts; to prop up with stakes (Lnk., Dmf., Rxb. 1971). Cf. n., 7. Vbl.n. stob(b)ing. Now hist. in regard to the march-riding festival in Dumfries. Also in n.Eng. dial.Gsw. 1718 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 47:
Candlerigg Street, as the same is now stobbed, marked and meathed.
Gsw. 1739 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1911) 1:
For stobs and stobbing the Green.
Rnf. 1771 Session Papers, Wallace v. Ballantyne (6 March) 14:
Cutting sticks to stob pease in his garden.
Dmf. 1962 Stat. Acc.3 110:
The Cornet, The Cornet's Lass and four Lynors (whose duty it is to “stob and nog” the boundaries).

4. To stob-thatch, to fix down (thatch) with stobs (Bnff. 1971). See I. 5. Agent n. stobber.Ags. 1746 J. C. Jessop Education in Angus (1931) 91:
Two Hundred Thatch Sheaves for stobbing the said School.
Abd. 1878 J. Davidson Inverurie 322:
The deals and wands, and the stobber's account, indicate repairs including some thatching work.
Abd. 1900 C. Murray Hamewith 30:
The thatch ance sae neatly stobbit Has lang been scant and bare.

5. To dress or trim a stack of grain by poking in projecting ends of sheaves with a hay-fork (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 182; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Ork., Bnff., Abd. 1971); also sim. of thatching. Hence stob-spade, an instrument for pushing thatching straw into place on a roof (Ags. 1825 Jam.). Cf. Sting.Abd. 1923 J. Hunter MS. Diary (23 Oct.):
Finished the eve rapes on stacks, Willie stobing them.

6. To pare off the surface turf of a peat-bank in order to start working the peat (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 182).Sc. 1841 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. XII. 144:
Stobbing the bank, that is, taking off the top which is to be cut of the same length as the peat.

7. To begin to sprout feathers, to be at the fledgling stage or after moulting. Hence ppl.adj. stobbed, of a bird (Sc. 1808 Jam.), stobby (Ork. 1971).

[A variant of stub. O.Sc. stob, a stake, 1489, a nail, 1496, a twig, 1513, a thatching-rod, 1556, a stab, 1605, a thorn, 1637, to thatch, 1535, to stake, 1520, to stab, 1535, Mid.Eng. stob, a twig. For the o- form cf. also O.N. stobbe, a stump, Du. stobbe, id.]

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"Stob n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Apr 2024 <>



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