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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BOWIN, Bowing, n.2 Also booing (Ayr. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 V. 399). [′bʌuɪn, ′buɪn]

1. “A holding or lease of a grass-farm and its live-stock” (Rnf.2, Lnk.3, Ayr.8, Kcb.9 1935).Sc. [1833] R. Hunter Law of Landlord and Tenant (1876) I. 358:
In some parts of Scotland (chiefly Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Kirkcudbright and Caithness) there is a contract of location which is popularly known by the rather singular name of “Bowing of Cows.” A proprietor or principal tenant, who is the owner of a stock of cows, lets them, with the privilege of grazing them on the farm, to a party who is called a “bower.”
[See Bower, n.1]Bnff.2 1935:
Bowing. This system of letting a holding is not practised in the North East. The word, however, is fairly well known there in describing the system in Ayrshire, etc.
Dmb. 1863 Gsw. Daily Herald (11 Sept.):
To let, near Balloch, a Bowing of 20 Cows.
Ayr. 1825 Jam.2:
To tak a farm in a bowin, to take a lease of a farm in grass, with the live stock on it; this still remaining the property of the land-holder, or person who lets it.

Comb.: bowin'-dairy, “a dairy-farm” (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. s.v. bower).

2. “The average of a cow's milk during the year” (Slg. 1912 (per Abd.13)).

[Bow, n.2, q.v. + -ing.]

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"Bowin n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 May 2024 <>



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