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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

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 14 Aug 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/peuch>

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