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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PEUCH, int., n., v. Also puch, pugh, pooch, -gh, pioch, pyo(o)ch(-), peugh(-). [pjux, pjɔx]

I. int. 1. Puff!, an imit. rendering of the sound of the wind, a breath, etc.Slg. 1869 Royal Caled. Curling Club Annual 262:
When, peugh! a wastlin' soogh Garr'd a' oor faples fa'.
Peb. 1899 J. Grosart Chronicles 33:
Uch, och, pooch-pooch, o' my stamick.
Abd. 1920 T. McWilliam Sc. Life 59:
[It] gaes peuch, peuch, like a pair of smith's bellows.

2. An exclamation of impatience, disgust, disbelief, or the like, produced by a forcible expiration of the breath, “pooh!” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Ags., Per. 1965). Cf. Pech, int.Slk. 1822 Hogg Perils of Man III. xi.:
Difficulty in marrying a maid with light blue eyes . . . and that maid an English one too. Peugh!
Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 15:
The language is out of condition . . — Fie on't! no, no, no! — Pugh, pugh!
wm.Sc. 1837 Laird of Logan 283:
Puch, no' man. I'm but a young lad; it's no my time yet.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vi.:
“Peugh! Willie man,” quoth my faither, . . . “juist a wheen pennies an' bawbees ye've gotten, for twa or three ells o' stringin'.”

II. n. 1. A light blast of air, a puff of wind or breath (Slk. 1824 Blackwood's Mag. (March) 300; Sh., Abd. 1965).Slk. 1823 Hogg Perils of Woman II. 144:
Words are but peughs o' wind, they'll no blaw far, that's ae comfort.

2. Also pyocher A wheeze, puff, from great exertion.Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 41:
He raxes for a puckle dilse and scoors his back an front
Wi mony a haach an pyocher, wi mony a pech an grunt.

III. v. 1. To puff, blow, emit a gusty sigh (Uls. 1961 Pulse 5. viii. 4, peugh). Freq. forms pyocher, peughle, to puff repeatedly, pant (Sh., Ags. 1965). Also fig. Deriv. peuchan, piochan, a small, fat, breathless person. Ppl.adj. pyochert, peuchlt, exhausted, “puffed out”, “done in” (Abd. 1965). Cf. Pauchle, v.2, 2.Sc. 1875 Stevenson Letters (1899) I. 87:
I am pioching like a madman at my stories, and can make nothing of them.
Arg. 1931:
Dod, I didna ken a bit o' him: he used tae be thin, an'noo he's a rale piochan, as fat as he can row.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 48:
Aa roon her, fowk snochered and pyochered an hoastit inno their snifter-dichters. Her ain braith, in the cauld kirk, wis like the wee plufferts o rikk frae a stemm kettle.

2. Gen. in freq. forms peughle, pyo(o)cher, (1) to fuss about ineffectually, make a poor bungling attempt at a job, to breathe heavily and accomplish nothing (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1965, pyocher). Hence peuchlin, pyocherin, ppl.adj., of persons: feckless, fussy, useless, bungling, ineffectual, pottering; peuchle, n., a feeble attempt at work, an unproductive bustle or fuss (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).(1)Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
That peuchlin' body never wuns off the bit.
Kcd. 1958 Mearns Leader (11 April):
Peer Geordie — he's a gey pyocherin' craiter.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 182:
Oh, he was aye a fearsome man, and she's a shilpit, peuchlin body.

(2) to cough in a choky, asthmatic way, to splutter wheezily, repeatedly clear one's throat and chest of catarrh (Abd. 1903 E.D.D., pyochter; Rxb. 1954 Hawick News (18 June) 7; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1965, pyocher). Phr. to peuchle an'hoast, id. (Slk. 1825 Jam.). Hence peucher, peuchle, pyocher, n., a persistent choky cough, a wheezy irritation of the throat (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., peughle; ne.Sc. 1965), vbl.n., peucherin(g), id. (Uls. 1953 Traynor); peught, peughle, adjs., wheezy, asthmatic, short of breath (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Kcb. 1900, peughle).Abd. 1917 C. Murray Sough o' War 30:
Shortly we were pyoch'rin' sair an' fleyed that we would smore.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 81:
He pyochert an' hoastit an' hirselt him ben.
Bch. 1946 J. C. Milne Orra Loon 2:
Blawin', pyoochin', hachin', sneezin', Fullin' chaumer-beds o' caff.
ne.Sc. 1953 Abd. Wkly. Jnl. (20 Aug.):
He had a habit of clearing his throat and giving a sharp peucher o' a hoast when he came forward to serve a customer.

(3) of rain, snow, or the like: to fall lightly and spasmodically, to drizzle or drift down by fits and starts (Rxb. 1825 Jam., s.v. Pewil). Hence a peuchling o' snaw, a scattering, a light fall or continual drizzling of snow.s.Sc. 1897 E. Hamilton Outlaws xvi.:
They reck little of such a peuchling of snow as we had had.

[Onomat. Cf. Pech and Pewl.]

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"Peuch interj., n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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