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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PAEWAE, adj., n., v. Also pay way (ne.Sc. 1921 T.S.D.C.); pew-wew; peeoo-weeoo (Fif., 1965), pee-wee (Slk. 1965); pehw-wehow (Rxb. 1958 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 25); pauw(e)-wauw(e) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); †pow-wow; bae-wae; pee-moe (Slg. 1911).

I. adj. Of a person: pallid, whitefaced, sickly; drooping, spiritless (Sh., ne.Sc., Fif. 1965); hence, affected, ultra-refined (s.Sc. 1920).Per. 1739 Letter in Atholl MSS.:
Jamie has had ill Houmers hanging about him which of a long time has keept him pow wow.
Ags. 1894 J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 58:
Ye never saw sic a gether-up o' blackit, pew-wew craturs i' yer born days.
Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd vii.:
I'm rale sorry tae see him leukin' sae paewae kin'.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
Sic a pae-wae lot, wi' the tear i' their ee.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick i.:
Neen o' yer pae-wae shilpit lyookin craters, bit a fine weel-skinnt brosy laddie.

II. n. A peevish weakling (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pauw-wauw); a querulous, affected person, esp. of a woman. Deriv. paewaetick, id. (Bnff. 1953).Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 17:
Puir thing! ee ir a pauwe-wauwe; ee'r aa egg-shells.

III. v. To eat without appetite, trifle with one's food (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., pauw-wauw; Slk. 1965, pee-wee).

[Orig. prob. chiefly imit. of a whining puling sound but with formative influence from Wae, Wow. Cf. also peetie-wallie, s.v. Peelie.]

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"Paewae adj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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