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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

DOWLY, Dowlie, adj. Doleful, sad; solitary (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., obsol.). Also used as adv., sadly, feebly. Common in n.Eng. dial.Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 103:
I t'ink, or lang, thu'll be bit dowly.
Abd. 1868 W. Shelley Wayside Flowers 268:
“Ye'll leave this dowilie [sic] house,” he said, “And come your wa's across the fell.”
Per. 1895 R. Ford Tayside Songs 294:
He dowly says, just ere he dies, “Alas! alas! the gill-stowp!”
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 57:
[He] yokit to his darg but dowlie.

Hence dowlie-horn, “a horn that hangs down” (Slk. 1825 Jam.2); and dowlie-horn't, “having drooping horns” (Ib.).

[Not in O.Sc. Mid.Eng. has dowly, id., 1400. Origin uncertain: phs. cf. O.N. daufligr, dull, dismal, lonely.]

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"Dowly adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 7 Jun 2023 <>



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