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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LOWRIE, n.1 Also Lowry (Sh.), Lowri; Lawrie, Laurie, -y, Lourie; in meaning 3. Lowran, -en, -in, Louran. Sc. dim. forms of Laurence (Sc. 1921 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 81, Lawrie, Ayr. 1789 Burns Tam Glen iii.; Sc. 1822–4 Scott F. Nigel iii., Redgauntlet Let. xi., Laurie; Sh. 1836 Gentleman's Mag. II. 590; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Sh., Cai., Mry., em., wm.Sc., Slk. 1975). Also in reduced form Lowr (Wilson). [′lʌuri; ′lre; ′lʌurɪn]

1. A name given to the fox, = Eng. Reynard. Chiefly liter.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 43:
The Monarch pleas'd with Lowry, wha durst gloom?
Per. 1761 Letter in Atholl MSS. (22 Oct.):
Yesterday they had a fox sett loose on the moor of Luncarty with an extraordinary number of hounds, hownever Laury made the best of his way through Almond water to the parks of Huntingtowr and there left them all.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14:
Auld sleeket lowrie fetcht a wyllie roun, An' claught a lamb anoner Nory's care.
Ayr. 1789 D. Sillar Poems 117:
Has greedy lowrie been amang thy sheep?
Ags. 1879 G. W. Donald Poems 69:
They e'e me but, they e'e me ben, As Lowrie e'es a clockin' hen.

Freq. in combs. tod-lowrie, ¶lowrie-tod, id. See Tod.Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 16:
O! then he gaed wood and looked as waefu like as he had been a tod lowrie.
Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 47:
Sounding like Tod-laurie's lecture, Preaching only to destroy.
e.Lth. 1885 S. Mucklebackit Rural Rhymes 91:
As sheep when lowrie tod they see, Man, wife, and wean in panic flee!

2. A name given to the great bell of a church, which was freq. dedicated to St Lawrence.Sc. 1887 Jam. s.v. Lawrence:
In many of our large towns the bell rung at ten o'clock, night, is called Lourie, lang Lourie, big Lourie; and its call is still, at least acknowledged to be, the signal for respectable people to retire homeward from calls or amusements.
Abd. 1910 R. Anderson Abd. in Bygone Days 21:
This addition [to St Nicholas Church] was made in 1355 by Provost William Leith of Barns, who also gifted to the church the two bells “Lawrence” and “Maria” — the former familiarly known as “Lowrie.”

3. Used attrib.: the name of two fairs, held in Rayne, Aberdeenshire and Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, in mid-August and dedicated to St Lawrence (ne.Sc. 1961, now only hist.). Hence Louran Day, Lowren Fair.Abd. 1725 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. IV. 237:
For a cow that his wife bought from me payable at louran day nixt . . . £12. 13. 4.
Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Journal 29:
In a weaven the house wis gain like Lowren-fair; for you wou'd na' hard day nar door.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 53:
Aw'm nae sure bit some fowk wis throu' gin Lowrin' Fair.
ne.Sc. 1980 James Fowler Fraser Doctor Jimmy 27:
There were three great horse Fairs in the area which the tinkers all attended. There was Peter's Fair in Fyvie, there was St. Sair's Fair in Culsalmond and Lowrin Fair at Old Rayne. We were always given a holiday for Lowrin Fair and we were allowed about sixpence to go down and spend our ha'pennies at the various stalls there, ice-cream, candy, sweets and swings.

[O.Sc. lowry, the fox, from c.1500, Lourance, c.1470.]

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"Lowrie n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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