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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

KNOW, n., v.1 Also (k)nowe; tnow(e) (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 213). Sc. forms of Eng. knoll, a hillock, mound, in folk-lore often associated with fairies. See P.L.D. § 78.2. Gen.Sc., also in n.Eng. dial. Used fig. in Kcb. 1814 quot. Hence knowie, full of knolls (Cld. 1825 Jam.; Ayr.4 1928, Rxb. 1942 Zai; ne.Sc. 1960); knowefu, fig. a great amount, “heaps”. [(k)nʌu, Ags., Per. tnʌu]

I. n. Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 70:
They went altogether over a know out of his sight.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 64:
Twa mile frae this I left them on a know, An' far beneath it lies a dreary how.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 83:
Nae sooner did the day begin to dawn, Than I beyont the know fu' speedy ran.
Ayr. 1794 Burns Twa Dogs 44:
Upon a knowe they sat them down.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 84:
E'en Nature's knows that now are fled, Where love in youthfu' days has play'd, She'll them supply wi' teats o' woo, That cheat the unsuspecting view.
Sc. 1816 Scott B. Dwarf i.:
The bonny broomy knowe, where he liked sae weel to sit at e'en.
Ork. 1884 R. M. Fergusson Rambles 203:
At the close of the seventeenth century we hear much of the fairy dwellers of Orcadian knowes and streams.
Ags. 1893 Brechin Advertiser (14 Feb.):
There's howefu's o't an' knowefu's o't.
Dmf. 1914 J. L.Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo 46:
I see oor trystin'-place among the silver birks on the auld quarry knowe.
Gsw. 1915 Ian Hay The First Hundred Thousand (1985) 45:
"Maybe no; but there's wundmulls. See the wundmull there - on yon wee knowe!"
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxiii.:
A puckle o's . . . wis gart stan upo the tap o' a knowie wi wir taes dirlin wi the frost.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 151:
During that same afternoon they were building the solstice bonfire on a knowe of the learig that climbed up yonder into the forest.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 16:
The stibble park wi skirps o ice
Shimmers in sunlicht's piercin rays;
Wave upon wave, the knowes rise up,
Sclimmerin the mornin's frosty braes.
Sc. 2000 Herald (19 Feb) 10:
From the car park, strike due east up Loch Hill to the knowe at Gd Ref: 270501, then climb directly to the cairn on Jeffries Corse (611m) at Gd Ref: 281495.

Combs.: (1) know(e)-head, t'now-, hill-top (n.Sc., Ags., Fif., Kcb. 1960). Common as a farm-name; (2) know-side, hill-side.(1) Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvi.:
I can just tell ye a' about the castle on this know-head as weel as if ye were at it.
Slk. 1823 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) i.:
I canna steer the poor creatures frae ae knowe-head to another.
Bnff. 1869 W. Knight Auld Yule 160:
At bogle roun the ricks at e'en on oor knowehead; Or at hide an' seek amang the stooks on oor knowehead.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums i.:
Within cry of T'nowhead Farm, still stands a one-storey house.
Dmf. 1912 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo vii.:
I kenned every knowe-heid and every dyke tap in the locality.
(2) Sc. 1702 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 24:
And lying on a knou-side, a black dogg came to his head and stood.

II. v. Appar. to climb to the top of a hill, sc. by easy stages by going from knoll to knoll.s.Sc. 1828 Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) XI. 10:
I shall take the Sociable to the ground [Newark hill] and then pad the hoof and as they say knowe it.

[O.Sc. kno(w), a hillock, 1505.]

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"Know n., v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Apr 2024 <>



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