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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).

THOWL, n. Also thowal, thowel(l), thouell (Sc. 1845 T. Brown Dict. 137); thow (Cai., Per. 1921 T.S.D.C.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 270; n. and em.Sc. 1972); erron. thaw (Sc. 1741 A. McDonald Galick Vocab. 111); tow-hole. [θʌu(ə)l; n. and em.Sc. θʌu] Sc. forms of Eng. thole, a wooden pin (now gen. one of two) against which an oar works in rowing, a rowlock. Gen. (exc. Sh.) Sc. Comb. thow-pin (n. and em. Sc. 1972), thowal-.Arg. c.1850 in L. MacInnes S. Kintyre (1936) 29:
Though scorlins warpled my thowl pins, My shallop would reach thee.
Fif. 1861 C. Rogers Sc. Character 15:
One day, using the expression, “May the boats be filled wi' herrin' up to the very tow-holes” (spaces for the oars), a fisherman lustily called out, “Na, no that far, sir, or we wad a' be sunk.”
Sc. 1869 J. G. Bertram Harvest of Sea 433:
The whole crew — at least a few years ago — would start, grasp the nearest iron thowell, and exclaim, “Cauld iron!”
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 53:
Never a thowal had sheu bit the brackan' hefts o' clips, an' pieces aff o' auld splet tulfers.
Bnff.2 1940:
His oar lowpit oot o' the thow-pins an' he geed heelster-heed efter the back.
Uls. 1953 Traynor:
He was off in his boat wan night fishin' and bruck a thowal pin.

[The Sc. historical form is thow, with vocalisation of l, from O.E. þol(l), id. The -l has prob. been restored under the influence of Eng. thole, †thowle.]

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"Thowl n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Sep 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/thowl>

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