Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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TOUSIE, adj., v. Also tousy, ¶toussie, touzie, -y, toosi(e), -ey, toozie, -y, tows(e)y, -ie, towowzie, -y. [′tuzi; also from Eng. ′tʌuzi]

I. adj. 1. Esp. of the hair: dishevelled, shaggy, unkempt, rough, tangled (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.Sc. Also used subst. as a pet-name for a child with curly unruly hair. Ayr. 1786 Burns Twa Dogs 33–4:
His breast was white, his towzie back Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black.
Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 21:
Tho' Andrew he's a tousy blade His head, tho' seldom it be red.
Slk. 1822 Hogg Siege Rxb. (1874) 672:
The towzy Turnbulls, and the red-wudd Ridderfords.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Spaewife I. viii.:
A bald head and a toosie grey beard.
Fif. 1841 C. Gray Lays 215:
His hair in towzie ringlets tossed.
Kcd. 1851 W. Jamie Stray Effusions 22:
Towsy goats amang the rocks.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep Head 132:
An ancient carle before me rose, Whase features — tousie heid, an' nose.
Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 61:
Scratching their towsie heads in mute distraction.
em.Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 355:
On whinny braes the towzie kye Bide dourly till the storm blaws by.
Sc. 1930 Scotsman (26 Feb.) 10:
Ye mauna gan there, ma wee bit toussie.

Combs.: tousie-faced, hairy-faced; tousie-heidit; tousie-like, -looking; tousie-pousie, shaggy, of rough texture; tousie-tailed. Sc. 1829 R. Chambers Sc. Songs I. 147:
Reamin' ower wi' sowens, aside an auld pirn-wheel, To lay the tousie-pousie hair o' the plaidin'.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption xiv.:
If Jean was to see me the least toozie-like.
Edb. 1876 J. Smith Archie and Bess 12:
What did ye come here for, ye toozy-lookin' drab?
em.Sc. 1881 A. Wardrop Poems 13:
A tousie-tailed collie.
Ayr. 1883 W. Aitken Lays of Line 57:
Rab Broon was a porter, a tousy-faced tyke.
Sc. 1927 W. P. McKenzie Bits o' Verse 7:
A lassie towsie-heided, A laddie wi' bare feet.

2. Untidy, in a disorderly state (Sh., Cai., em.Sc.(a), wm. and sm. Sc. 1972); of clothes: ragged, tattered. Adv. tousily, in a muddle, in a confused bewildered condition. Ayr. 1818 J. Kennedy Poems 42:
Clipping a the toozy bits Aff drunken Davie's sark.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 133:
Hersel' and her hoose alike toozie.
Hdg. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rhymes 201:
Tousily awaking from a reverie.
Sc. 1887 Trans. Highl. Soc. 202:
Neatly trimmed fences look well on a farm, yet they would be better liked by the cows if left a trifle “tousy.”
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 11:
I played aboot its aye-open door and its toosie gable end.
Arg. 1914 N. Munro New Road xvii.:
It [fishing-line]'s gey and tousy — scarce an ell of it unfankled.
Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 112:
A weel set “back” upo' the floor. A lum wi' simmons toosi.

3. Rough, rollicking, boisterous, obstreperous, rowdy, turbulent, violent (Ayr., Rxb. 1972). Also adv. Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 57:
Tell, him, when in the touzie key, A nicht wi' him I wadna gie.
Dmb. 1883 D. Macleod Poet. Lennox (1889) 208:
We're sometimes gey touzy on Saturday nicht.
Lnk. 1890 J. Coghill Poems 98:
Some o' ye whiles, when ye get boosie, Aft let your tongues wag geyan touzie.
Sc. 1891 R. Ford Thistledown 28:
Ye'll see the toosiest fecht that was ever fochen.
Dmf. 1914 J. L. Waugh Cracks wi R. Doo 63:
A towsey, rough-and-ready phase o' life.
Bnff. 1925 G. B. Cumming A'anside Lilts 71:
The times then were touzie to live in, Whan a good hazel was your frien'.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 9:
Steepit i the lore o the byegane days; a bit that saw weild toozy dae-eens.

4. Of the weather: rough, wild, stormy. Ayr. 1897 H. Ochiltree Out of Shroud xxiv.:
I was oot gey late ae nicht — a touzie nicht it was.
s.Sc. 1938 Border Mag. (Oct.) 150:
As wundy an' tousy a nicht as ever was.

5. Abundant, plentiful, well-supplied, in profusion. For the semantic development cf. Ruch, adj., 3. Ayr. 1895 H. Ochiltree Redburn ix.:
It's no a very great place for yits or barley, but a gye tousie place for gress.

Comb. tousie tea, a tea meal with extras, a high or knife-and-fork tea, tea accompanied by a cooked dish (em.Sc.(a), wm.Sc., Kcb., Rxb. 1972). Sc. 1835 Gsw. Journal (31 Oct.) 44:
Mrs Stewart had laid what she styled “a touzie tea.”
Rnf. 1868 Laird of Logan App. 501:
An afternoon repast, a substantial meal, cheese and butcher-meat being added to the usual accompaniments of tea. The Paisley folk call this “A tousie tea.”
Gall. 1904 Crockett Raiderland 54:
A “tousy tea” — that is, one with trimmings.
Rxb. 1907 Border Mag. (Jan.) 16:
Promptly hurrying up a touzy tea.
wm.Sc. 1934 T. Smellie Tea-Pairty 12:
Next to a touzie tea there's naething like maesic tae soothe a savage beast.

II. v. Only in pa.p. touzied, disordered, dishevelled (Cai. 1972). Fif. 1882 Session Papers. Wilson v. Wilson (10 Feb.) 2:
The defender came from the parlour, where the co-defender was, having her hair all “touzied.”

[Deriv. of Touse, q.v. O.Sc. towsy, c.1500.]

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"Tousie adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2021 <>



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