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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

COOARD, COORD, Courd, Cooart, Cowart, Coort, n. Sc. forms of Eng. coward, which form is also illustrated in peculiarly Sc. derivatives, where it prob. conceals the usual Sc. pronunciation. [′ku(ə)rd, ′ku(ə)ry, ′kʌuərt]Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 2:
Oh, man! but you're a desperate cooart. Think shame o' yoursel.
Abd. 1924 L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 18:
I'll nair be lass tae ony lad Gin lovin' mak' him cooard.
Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems, etc. 129:
Ye useless cowart drones, I see, Gae get ye a' behin'.

Hence 1. coordiness (Fif.10 1937), cowardiness (Bnff.2 1937), cowardice; 2. cooardly, cooartly, (1) adj., cowardly (Abd.19, Ags.1, Fif.10 1937); (2) n., contraction of cooardly blow = 4; 3. coord'y, cooardy, cowardly (Fif.1, Slg.3 1937); 4. coordie blow (ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore N.-E. Scot. 21), cowardly — (Cai. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.), cooardy lick, courdy — (Fif.1, Lnk.3 1937), coordy smith, a blow given as a challenge to fight; also ellipt. coortie (cf. Coocher, n. (2)), and coordie, “a challenge to a feat of daring or dexterity” (Bch. 1910 (per Abd.11)); 5. coo'rdy Lickit, “epithet applied to one who has sustained, without retaliation, the coo'rdy lick” (Fif.1 1933).1. Ags. 1891 J. M. Barrie Little Minister (2nd ed.) xlii.:
Syne wi' shame at my cowardiness, I tried to yoke to my duty.
2. (1) Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 173:
The unhang't scoonrel shot the brave lad wi' a pistol, and loupit the hedge like a cooartly scullion as he was.
(2) Ags. 1921 A. S. Neill Carroty Broon ix.:
“I'll learn ye to meddle wi' lads on the road. There's the dunt!” Peter laid down his basket. “And there's the cooardly!”
3. ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays and Leg. of the North (1908) 14:
An' glaid am I the coord'y klype Has got's deserts for ance.
Ags. 1925 Forfar Dispatch (24 Dec.) 3/2:
It wid hae been cooardy-like to stop.
4. Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xv.:
“Hit'im, Weechy.” “Ay wull A, in a dashed meenit.” . . . “Follow up wi' yer coortie, Weechy.” “That's his coortie.”
Abd. publ. 1867 W. Anderson Rhymes, etc. 147:
Lest ye meet some herd loon wha may Gie you the coordy smit.
Abd.(D) 1903 W. Watson Auld Lang Syne 21:
The “courdy lick” was not a hard blow, but merely a touch with the “steekit nieve” by way of a challenge.
Abd. 1992 David Toulmin Collected Short Stories 15:
He's been giein me the coordie lick for a lang time, and stickin his nieve in my face every day.
Ags. 1897 “F. Mackenzie” Sprays of Northern Pine ii.:
Wha's to gie the cooardy lick?

[O.Sc. has cowart, coward, couard, couert, from 1375 (D.O.S.T.); Mod.Fr. (arch.) has couard, O.Fr. coüard (Cotgrave), cowairt, which would account for the oo and ow forms in Sc.]

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"Cooard n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <>



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