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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BOWDEN, v. Found gen. as pa.p. or as ppl.adj.

1. (1) To swell, in gen.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 67:
The bowdend clouds they brak, An' pour as out o' buckets o' their back.

(2) To swell from overeating. Applied to men and animals.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 218; Bnff.2 1935:
Bowden. To swell; applied commonly to the swelling of cattle from eating too much clover, wet grass, or turnips.
Abd. 1826 D. Anderson Poems 19:
I've laid me down; An' like a clever [clover] bowden'd cow Pech't o' the groun'.
Abd.(D) 1915 H. Beaton Back o' Benachie 97:
I'm rale bowdent. I doot I hae teen mair nor's gweed for me.

2. With up: to be costive.Bnff.6 1920; Abd.9 1935:
Bowdent, bound up. “He wis a' bowdent up.”

3. Fig. uses. (1) To swell with grief, hence to weigh down.Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 302:
How wad it bowden you an' me wi' grief, Gif he a mistress took.

(2) To swell with pride.Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas, etc. 58:
Bowden'd wi' pride, he learns a certain twine, An' kicks his head, like yon brown horse o' mine.

[O.Sc. boldin, bowdin, (1) to swell (up); (2) to raise in spirit, variant of bolne, v., to swell (D.O.S.T.); Mid.Eng. bolne (c.1300), bulne, Dan. bulne, Sw. bulna, O.N. bolgna.]

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"Bowden v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Feb 2024 <>



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