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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

PLEWMAN, n. Also plooman, pyooman (Ayr. 1923 Wilson Dial. Burns 97), pew- (Rnf. 1962 Stat. Acc.3 233); pleuchman (Ags. 1872 J. Kennedy Jock Craufort 19, Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 61), pleughman (Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 214, 1871 R. Allan Poems 118; Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb. xxx.); ploomin. [′plumən]

Sc. forms of Eng. ploughman.Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 48:
a plooman nae gien til blether
nor clytach, dour as glaur, stiff as ice.
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 15:
At their plewmen's reprised 'B Flat, G Flat' whistle;
And the barrowed, aromatic dung, and acrid,
soakit bedding straw
Abd. 1991 David Ogston in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 119:
Brakker o new grun,
Christ the plooman
ne.Sc. 1993 Ronald W. McDonald in A. L. Kennedy and Hamish Whyte New Writing Scotland 11: The Ghost of Liberace 69:
Peter Mitchell haed an afa chauve tae mak a livin at Blackmyres. He'd jist ma fadder as ploomin an the orra loon tae keep the place ...
Per. 1996 Timothy Neat ed. The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 191:
' ... Of course, if he had coaxed that plooman outside-in, or upside-doon, or roond-aboot, he would ne'er hae sung - but there by hisself in the bothy, he sang every nicht. Sae my faither sat there every nicht a' week - and that plooman never knew my faither learnt they twa sangs aff him.'

Sc. forms and usages of Eng. ploughman, in combs.:

1. plooman's drink(ie), the name for a rather weak type of beer, in pop. rhyme (see quot.); 2. plooman's love, the plant southernwood, Artemisia abrotanum (Kcd., em.Sc.(a) 1966). Cf. lad's love s.v. Lad; 3. plooman's whistle, see 1838 quot.; 4. phr. to hae e'en like plooman's watches, to have large round or protuberant eyes (Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 156), from the generally large size of the watches carried by ploughmen.1. Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 231:
Twenty pints o' strong ale, Twenty pints o' sma', Twenty pints o' hinky-pinky, Twenty pints o' plooman's drinkie.
2. Fif. 1961 People's Jnl. (6 May):
How many people have “Southernwood” in their garden, but don't know it by that name? I've heard it called “Plooman's Love” in Fife. In Leeds a friend calls it “Lad's Love.” Another name is “Apple Ringie.”
3. Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 142:
The Ploughman's Whistle. The phrase used to characterise the particular tune which each ploughman used in driving the plough, for keeping his horses in spirits. Formerly in Teviotdale a farmer would not have hired one as a ploughman without putting his qualifications in regard to wind-music to the test and being satisfied on this important point. These tunes had different designations; as The Teviotdale Whistle, The Melrose Whistle.
Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 30:
The plooman's whustle gars them cow'r The guilty head.

[O.Sc. plewman, 1456.]

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"Plewman n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2022 <>



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