Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THOU, pers. pron., v. Sc. forms and usages:

A. Forms. Nom. thoo (Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 91; Rnf. 1876 D Gilmour Paisley Weavers xiv.; Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 168, 1929 E. Linklater White Maa's Saga 86; Ork., Rs. 1972), thu (Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 93; ‡Ayr. 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 295); tou (Fif. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 134, 226; s.Sc. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 272; Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xxxi., c.); tu (Ayr. a.1775 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 60, 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 196, 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 295); also in unstressed position after an auxiliary verb, -ta (s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 315, hast'a, Abd. c.1830 Scots Mag. (March 1934) 431, wilta; Rxb. 1905 Border Mag. (Dec.) 231, ista, dista), -to (Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 65, wilto), -ter (Sc. 1843 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 524, wilter), -tir (Ayr. 1788 D. Sillars Poems 159, wiltir). [ðu , s.Sc. ðʌu]. For Sh. and ‡Ork. forms see Du. Acc. thee; the (Sc. 1783 Willie o Douglas Dale in Child Ballads No. 101. A. xxx.); thie (Rxb. 1905 Border Mag. (Dec.) 231), thei (Dmf. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 265); t'ee (Ayr. 1822 Galt Entail xv., xl., xlvi.) [ði; s.Sc. ðəi]. For Sh. and ‡Ork. forms see Dee, pron.

I. pron. B. Usages. 1. Thou and thee survived in colloquial use until the mid 19th c. in most places, being particularly freq. in wm.Sc., as recorded esp. by Galt, but gradually died out in most areas thereafter exc. in I.Sc. and the Black Isle in Rs. where it is still the reg. usage, and in the Langholm and Canonbie area of Dmf. where it is obsol. As in most continental countries and in Eng. dial. the words were used between equals and intimate friends, by parents and elders to children who replied with you, by masters to servants, and occas. contemptuously. In Ork. thou is now construed with the following verb in the pl. Ayr. 1725 Session Bk. Dundonald (1936) 622:
Thou may ly still now for we are taken.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 226:
You should be scurged, fause loon quean it thou is.
Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 201–2:
Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin! In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin!
Dmf. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 429:
Thou is. How'se t'ou, how art thou.
Rnf. 1815 W. Finlayson Rhymes 103:
O! Wiltu marry me, or wiltu let me be?
Dmf. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 258:
I's fa'an in love wi' thee; an', feath, thou maun tell me wha thou is.
Dmf. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet Let. xii.:
Wha is't tou's gotten, Wullie, lad?
Rnf. 1873 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 35:
Wha's tu in mournin' for?
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 140:
But gently — kind I'll deal wi' ye, Noo that thou's deein'.
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 321:
Thu're the ae lass i' the wirld wha I like, thu're me peerie doo.
Ayr. 1912 D. McNaught Kilmaurs 295:
“Tu” and “thu” for “you” were in general use, and are still occasionally heard.
Ork. 1929 E. Linklater White Maa's Saga 86:
Thoo've done it again, wife.
Rs. 1949 Gsw. Herald (7 Feb.):
As to the vocabulary, “thee” and “thou” are always used [in Avoch].
Dmf. 1962 Stat. Acc.3 422:
One thing that strikes a visitor is the use of “thou” instead of you [in Canonbie].

2. Used for the objective case; thee (Ork. 1972). Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 168:
Ba, ba, lammie noo Trowies canna tak thoo.
Ork. 1938 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 376:
He tellt me tae tell thoo he'd be up a look tae Quoydunt the day.

3. Replaced by thee as the nom. case, esp. when coordinated with another subject. Ayr. 1790 Burns Tam o' Shanter 25–26:
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers v.:
Although thee and me thinks 't wrang tae eat bluid.

II. v. To address as thou, to speak to in a familiar way (Sh., Ork. 1905 E.D.D.).

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"Thou pers. pron., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Jun 2021 <>



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