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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WOW, int. An exclamation expressing admiration or astonishment, or the emphatic asseveration of some surprising or impressive fact (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 275), by Jove, upon my word, believe me! Occas. esp. in later use as an exclam. of regret, by confusion with Wae, woe. See also Awow. Gen.Sc., nearly obs.Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 68:
And wow gin she was skeigh, And mim that Day.
Abd. 1733 W. Forbes Dominie Depos'd (1765) 39:
And wow 'tis odd, Sik men should a' their senses tine, And fear of God.
Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 90:
Wow, but they lie fu' gleg aff hand To trick the silly fallows.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 209:
A wow na John, the daft louns will laugh at you.
Sc. 1783 King Henry in Child Ballads No. 32. x.:
O whan he slew his good gray-hounds, Wow but his heart was sair!
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel v.:
Wow, George man, what needs aw this din about sax score o' pounds?
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie v.:
Wow, but ye are queer chields, you Gaberlunzies.
Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Lady Jean's Son xii.:
Wow, but their hearts maun be heavy, though their feet are licht.
Kcb. 1913 A. Anderson Later Poems 215:
An wow, he was an unco chield.
Abd. 1928 N. Shepherd Quarry Wood ix.:
But wow to the day o' revelations.
Ags. 1934 H. B. Cruickshank Noran Water 21:
But wow! they'll warstle tae the fore.

Also in phrs. I wow ( < ay wow (see Awow, Ewhow) assimilated to Eng. I vow), wow be here, wow me (the day), wow sirs, wow's me, wae's wow.Edb. 1786 Edb. Ev. Courant (12 Dec.):
But, ah! waes wow! It bleaz'd up like a comet keen, An' burnt his pow.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 43:
Fair fa' ye, Beardie! haud my head; Wow me the day! that's news indeed.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xi., xiv.:
Wow, alas! auld Geordie Mortclaith had gi'en her head the hindmost clap. . . . For, wow me! he had a bedrucken lookin' coontenance.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 20:
Wow be here, sirs; sic a bisness.
Lnk. 1877 W. M'Hutchison Poems 79:
Wow, Sirs, it was a won'rous sicht.
Ags. 1880 J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 45:
Wow me, Jamie lad, but ye're dreigh i' the draw.
Lnl. 1881 H. Shanks Musings 353:
I wow, guidman, you look as braw As whan you courted me.
Edb. 1890 Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) XV. 201:
Mony a tryst's been held, I wow, by hearts now parted wide.
Mry. 1899 C. A. Elf Hill Birnie 15:
Wow me the day! Fat's this happened tae me noo?
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick viii.:
Wow's me for 'e mystairious wyes o' Proavidence.

[O.Sc. wow, id., a.1500. Cf. Vow, int.]

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"Wow interj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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