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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

PLASH, adv., n.1, v. Also plach.

I. adv. Splash!, with a splash (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags. 1966). Sometimes used as an int.Sc. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (May) 158:
The thunder-rain, in large drops, came plash after plash on the blanket roof.
Sc. 1842 M. Gordon Christopher North I. 31:
Plash, plash, through the marsh, and then on to the dry furze beyond.
Ayr. 1845 Ayrshire Wreath 138:
Lup, spring, plash, an' splatter awa they ran.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 259:
When gloamin' comes doon wi' its shadows dark, . . . An' yetts play jairg, and dubs play plash.
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128:
He fell plash in our the hehd amo' the wattir.
Sc. 1867 D. Livingstone Last Jnls. (1874) I. 172:
We go plash, plash, plash in the lawn-like glade.

II. n. 1. A splash (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128; I. and ne.Sc., Ags. 1966). Hence plashy, adj., causing splashes; of ground, cloth or the like: water-logged, soaking-wet (Sc. 1880 Jam.).Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
A plash, or the noise that any thing makes falling into water.
Edb. c.1770 R. Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 163:
Whase barkent hides scarce fend their legs frae weet, and weary plashes O' dirt that day.
m.Lth. 1799 Scots Mag. (July) 471:
Dang her mair than paces five Amang the water wi' a plach. Hech ho! co' she, for sic a smash.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 31:
Beath flew, bellie-flaught, I' the pool! — deil tak the hindmaist! Wi' a plash that night!
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xii.:
The plashy bogs an' mires o' sensuality.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 46:
Ye've seen the sea rin a-elins wi' a dash, But soon come back, an' mak' a double plash.
Ags. 1827 A. Laing Archie Allan 11:
Thro' the lang eerie muirs, an' the cauld plashy snaw.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) II. 8:
Nae sound, but a bit faint, dim plash — plash — plash o' the tide.
Ork. 1883 Fish and Fisheries (Herbert) 334:
These [the smaller boats] were shallow, rudely constructed, “plashy” things, from 11 feet to 15 feet keel.
Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 41:
Oh wad that I could hear the plash O' a hookit troot eence mair.

Combs.: (1) plash-mill, a fulling mill driven by a water-wheel (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Reduced form plash, id. See (2). Hence plash-miller, the operator of a fulling-mill (Ags. 1825 Jam.); (2) plash-wheel, the dash-wheel used in bleaching which in revolving alternately raised and lowered the cloth in water (Sc. 1882 Ogilvie Dict.).(1) Lnl. 1767 Session Papers, Provost of Linlithgow v. Elphinston State of Process 13:
Lint-mills, waulk-mills, and plash-mills.
Ags. 1795 Session Papers, Arbuthnott v. Scott (11 March) 234:
A plash or waulk-mill for washing yarn.
Ags. 1822 Dundee Advertiser (19 Dec.):
John Young, plash-miller at East Mill, was drowned in the river Esk.
Fif. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IX. 385:
There is also a lint-mill for scutching flax, a plash-mill for washing yarn, and a spinning-mill for spinning tow.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. xviii.:
The plash-mill, or, more properly, wauk-mill — a word Robert derived from the resemblance of the mallets to two huge feet, and of their motion to walking — with the water plashing and squirting from the blows of their heels.
Ags. 1895 F. Mackenzie Glenbruar iv.:
I wish I could get something to do, Bob; at the plash or at the winding, or something o' that sort.
Ags. a.1900 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. V. 264:
He was bred a weaver, but has also been a plashmiller and a packman.

2. A sudden sharp downpour of rain, a heavy shower, “thunderplump” (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Hence plashy, -ie, ¶plashrie, adj., rainy, showery (Sc. 1880 Jam.).Ayr. 1795 Burns Jockey's ta'en ii.:
Spare my luve, ye winds that blaw, Plashy sleets and beating rain!
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128:
We've hid plashie weather for a day or twa.
Ags. 1894 F. Mackenzie Cruisie Sk. 202:
It has come on a sair plash o' weet, an' it'll be unco hard on some o' the stooks that bae sitten mebbe lang eneuch on the rig heid already.
Kcb. 1897 Crockett Lochinvar xxxi.:
A Heelantman's wife on the cauld, plashy isle o' Suliscanna.
Bch. 1929:
Cauld plashrie day, richt disagreeable!
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Rhymes 81:
And then the plash came on, and we Put on our coats and came away .

3. An insipid, tasteless liquid or drink, “a large quantity of anything liquid, as water, strong drink, broth, gruel, etc.” (Bnff. 1825 Jam.), “a quantity of ill-cooked liquid food” (Gregor). Deriv. plashach, id. For comb. tata plash, see Tattie.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128:
They ga' 'im a plash o' drink, an' fill't 'im fou.
Ags. 1883 J. Kennedy Poems (1899) 106:
He ne'er set doun nae feckless trash, Nor soup made he — puir useless plash.
Mry. 1908 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 118:
A plashach o' tea an' loaf till't disna say bizz till a man body.
Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 200:
It's not lake now, with the people brought up on tay an' wan plash or another.

4. A shallow pool, a water-splash. Obs. in Eng.; a sticky, miry place.Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 98:
Your [a fly's] wings were fastened to a press, Amang some grease; 'Twas wae to see ye in sic a plash Without release.
Sc. 1842 D. Vedder Poems 196:
Ye'll trot the cannie auld grey mare Thro dubs an' plashes.
Ags. 1889 Brechin Advertiser (23 April) 3:
Mind weel yon plash, gae thro' the clash, An' be carefu o' your claes.

III. v. 1. intr. To splash, squelch, dash, cascade. Obs. or poet. in Eng.; specif. of rain or the like: to fall in torrents, lash, pelt down (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128; Sh., ne.Sc., Per., Fif., Lnk. 1966). Ppl.adj. plashin, squelching or splashing with moisture, soaking wet (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also plashin-weet, id. (Gregor; Sc. 1880 Jam.).Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xxi.:
The bleak bare fields — and the plashing grass — and the gloomy dull woods.
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 14:
The gowans white as they — Waes me! where are they a' to-day, And a' creation plashin'.
Bnff. 1880 Jam.:
It's been plashing for twa hours.
Gsw. 1898 R. Bain Glasgow Streets 17:
The rushes red plashin' wi' bluid.
wm.Sc. 1934 T. Smellie Mrs. Goudie's Tea-Pairty 19:
The plashan rain has knockit the colour an' music oot o' them [roses].
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 7:
An happit fast wi ye, as weel, yer lug's first sang,
The plash o' Esk an Ewes - saft watry tongues tae lip
The crannies o yer mind, baain lambs in bairnie-clouts
Trummlin at their ain bleat or a cushat's cry.

2. tr. To splash (a person, thing, etc.) with a liquid, to wet, drench (Sh. 1966). Ppl.adj. plashed, spotted with moisture, splashed. Vbl.n. plashin, a soaking, drenching (Fif. 1966).Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 59:
He . . . coaches owr the dubs to plash him.
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 74:
The floor all plashed with blood.
Ags. 1894 A. Reid Songs 32:
Ken ye no' the glens are dreary, Plash't an pyket, broon an' bare?
Ork. 1904 W. T. Dennison Orcadian Sk. 6:
Some o' de whalls lep' half oot o' de sea, an' dan fell wi' a vellye, plashan' de bleud an' water aroond ever sae far.

3. To walk on water-logged ground, to squelch along through mud or the like (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128; I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Kcb. 1966).Sc. 1724 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 80:
Thro thick and thin they scour'd about, Plashing thro Dubs and Sykes.
Sc. 1746 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 172:
Long eighteen hours this stage it was, Through a long Muir all wet to plash.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 23:
Ye sud' a' seen us wade an' plash, An' heard oor shouts ring oot.
Sc. 1890 Whistle-Binkie II. 120:
Lampin' wi' yer lang legs, Plashin' through the rain.

4. To work in a messy, slovenly way, to mess about in liquids, freq. with at (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 128; Sh. 1966).wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 381:
Wives plashin', washin', matched nae Water Nanny.
The twa bairns keepit a plashan oot our o' the wattir on o' thir daidles . . . She wiz plashin' an' washin'.

[O.Sc. plasch, a splash, 1513, to splash, 1681, with cognates in Mid. Du., M.L.Ger. plassen, plaschen, id, n., 4., however is prob. Mid.Eng. plasch, O.E. plœsc, a shallow pool, all from the same onomat. orig.]

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"Plash adv., n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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