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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

TROCH, n.1 Also troach, trouch, tro(c)gh, truch; and trow, pl. trous(e), trow(e)s, trowse (see etym. note). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. trough (Abd. 1748 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 74; Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 217; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Old-Lore Misc. IX. ii. 76, trouch; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein, Rxb. 1942 Zai; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ags. 1970 Dundee Courier (10 Dec.), truch). Gen.Sc. [trox; trʌu(z)]

1. (1) As in Eng. Combs. troch-moo, the surface of a trough; troch-stane, a stone trough (Slg., Bwk., wm.Sc. 1973).Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.:
An auld hallow'd trough-stane to haud the hens' drink in.
Lnk. 1902 A. Wardrop Hamely Sk. 134:
The water-spoot o' the troch stane at the Half-way Hoose.
Abd. 1945 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 378:
An icy skimmerin' lappers the troch moo.

(2) A wooden compartment into which mill-stones discharge the ground-meal.Abd. 1789 Philorth Baron Court Book MS V 89:
She was sifting the meal in the trouch.
Per. 1897 P. R. Drummond Bygone Days 204:
In those days oatmeal was all sifted by the hand, and in front of the mill -e'e was a space, divided off and kept very clean, technically called the trough.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 5:
At Clinter Mill a mealer lay, Unweigh't, unseckit i' the troch.

(3) A large communal wooden trencher used by a family at meals (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1973).Sh. 1886 G. Temple Britta 20:
The table, on which was placed a wooden trough, or troch, about three feet long, surrounded with a border of wood about six inches high, containing potatoes at the one end, and sillocks at the other.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Mey 30):
Der few boanier sicghts dan a trocgh o göd piltiks.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 19. 35:
Widden troughs fu o boiled fish an tatties.

2. Gen. in pl. trows: a channel or wooden conduit for water, esp. that leading to a mill-wheel (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 35; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 27; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Per., Fif., Lth., Arg., Lnk., Wgt. 1973). Combs. mill-trows; trowmill, a watermill in place-names (s.Sc. 1973).Edb. 1702 Burgh Rec. Edb. (1967) 7:
Stone work for the water wall and back trowes of Greenland Milne.
Sc. c.1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) III. 205:
Ther was nae noise, but mill-trows roaring, and the hard labourd Threshers snoring, when Hab, as pawky as a Theif, staw sleelie to his loving Reif.
Edb. 1739 Caled. Mercury (20 Aug.):
The Water Engine, Pumps, Trows, and other Materials used at the late Coaliery of Coblecrok.
Mry. 1756 Session Papers, Stephen v. Brodie (12 Nov.) 1:
A Mill Wheel, with a Timber Troch.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 58:
His wame caddled like onny mill trows.
Sc. 1821 Farmer's Mag. (Aug.) 442:
The trows are 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep; and, with 8½ inches deep of water in the trows, I can easily thrash and fan 60 bushels of oats or barley in the hour.
Per. 1830 Per. Advertiser (16 Sept.):
Water which was carried over the river Guidie by a wooden trough, or what is well known by the name of “trows.”
Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk More Bits 184:
There's nae water rinnin' owre the dam-head or down out o' the trows.
Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 10:
I wud dook in the Mill dam and wide in the trows.

3. A valley, glen, vale, river basin, of certain rivers in sw. Scot. (Lnk. 1825 Jam., the trow of Clyde). The 1845 quot. appears to associate the meaning with 1. (2) above.Sc. 1719 in Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 124:
Mony a long and weary Wimple, Like Trough of Clyde.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 69:
The trough o' Nith came a' at will, And mony ane frae 'bout Thornhill.
Dmf. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 61:
“The Trough of Nith,” which may be freely paraphased corn-chest or granary.

4. A narrow, gen. rocky, ravine through which a river flows, a narrow rough part of a river-bed; a similar channel among sea rocks, all gen. as good fishing-grounds.Gsw. 1702 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (B.R.S.) 357:
The troach of the burne under the Gallowgate bridge is so filled up with stones.
Dmf. 1788 Dmf. Weekly Jnl. (12 Aug.):
As some ill-disposed persons have lately broke the lock from the trows at Sandpool, and fished the water in the river Annan.
Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 74:
The Trows, up aboon Kelso yonner.
s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 206:
These rocks are called the “troughs,” or in Scotch, “trows,” and are under the beautiful grounds of Makerstoun.
Rs. 1916:
The skiftie was gyaan off to Jock Raff's boat in the Troch.

5. Freq. in dim. forms trochie, -y, -in: a narrow passage between houses, a close or vennel (Mry. 1911 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 109, Mry. 1925; Abd. 1973). Comb. troch-gang, id. (Mry. 1921 T.S.D.C.).Abd. 1832 W. Scott Poems 133:
Between the Gallowgate an' Loch There Stans a lang an' ugly trough.

6. In pl.: a kind of flat-bottomed river barge made in two sections joined together with an interspace through which salmon could be speared in night-fishing (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in n.Eng. dial. or local usage. Also in phr. a pair of trows.Rxb. 1811 Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club V. 321:
As if he had never . . . seen anything more like a ship than a pair of trows in Cocker's haugh pool.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 50:
I' th' trows he'd sail fu' bonnilie, When Annan it was clear and wee.
Rxb. 1927 J. Turnbull Hawick 23:
The man stood with a foot on each leg of the "trows", and steered and propelled it with his leister. When the trows were not in the water there was a moveable wheel attached to its front, and it was pushed along the road like a wheelbarrow.

Used transf. in comb. trough-heeled, with flat, worn heels, down-at-heel.s.Sc. 1896 Border Mag. (Oct.) 169:
A puir, insigneeficant, gleemerin', trough-heeled, slack-backit sluggard.

7. Fig., as a term of reproach for one who eats or drinks greedily, a ‘soak ' (Cai., Ags., Fif., wm.Sc., Dmf. 1973). Obs. in Eng.Edb. 1829 G. Wilson Sc. Laverock 131:
Nell his wife bawls, — Eh, ye trough, Ye guzzel here fu' cosh nae doubt.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 113:
Dr Plook himself, a terrible troch, seldom in a fit state to be lippened with his own bottles.
e.Lth. 1899 J. Lumsden Poems 131:
A' thae trochs are drunken slochs.

[O.Sc. trouch, 1460, throuh, a.1539, trough, troucht, mill-conduit, 1554, trowch, valley, 1513, trows, 1563, O.E. troh, trough. The -w forms derive from the oblique stem troȝ- as in plew, Pleuch, enow, Eneuch, etc.]

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"Troch n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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