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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.

POUR, v., n. Also poor, poo'or, pooer (Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 138); powr (Sc. 1887 Stevenson Underwoods 171). Sc. forms and usages. [′pu(ə)r]

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 57:
Greyfriars' Bobby's suppin a plate o kail
While MacDiarmid poors himsel oot a
Wee deoch-an-doruis frae a bottle o peaty malt.

Vbl.n. pourin, a small quantity of liquid, a “drop”(Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Sh., Ags., Uls. 1966). Cf. II. 1. Phrs.: (1) pour out! imper., the cry raised by children at a wedding as an invitation for a scatter of coins to be scrambled for (Lth. 1966). Hence pour-out, n., the scatter of coins for children at a wedding (Sc. 1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 279; m. and s.Sc. 1966). Cf. Heeze, v., 1.(2) and Heist, n., 2.; (2) to pour (the) tea, to pour out tea. Gen.Sc.Clc. 1852 G. P. Boyd Misc. Poems 4:
Now for a pourin' to mysel', To synde my craig, an' mak' me weel.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 8, 20:
What's the use o' makin' twa bites o' a cherry wi' a wee pourin' like that. . . . If ye gie him a wee pourin' o' sinny-tea.
Ags. 1876 Brechin Advertiser (7 Nov.) 4:
O' North Port or Glencadam joost tak' ye a pourin'.
(1) Edb. 1840 J. H. A. Macdonald Life Jottings (1915) 3:
I also remember the shower of silver which was thrown to the crowd as the bride and bridegroom drove away, a custom no longer in use. The cry of “Pooer oot” is no more heard in the land. A “pooer oot” of rice or pasteboard confetti does not draw as did the shower of coins.
Edb. 1894 Scots Mag. (April) 392:
A marriage was about to take place in a private house in Bristo Street, Edinburgh. Crowds of children round the door assailed the guests as they arrived with the well-known cry of “Poor oot!”
Edb. 1931 E. Albert Herrin' Jennie iii.:
“Poor oot! Poor oot!” yelled multitudes of ragged urchins. . . . Jennie had thought of them . . . she had a big bag of coppers, and this she emptied with stupendous prodigality into the gutters.
Edb. 1959 Sc. Daily Mail (25 July):
The bride laughed as her architect-trained husband leaned from their bridal car for the “poor-oot” — the old Scots custom of throwing coppers and silver for children lining the pavement.
(2) Gsw. 1930 F. Niven Three Marys xxxv.:
Mary sat to one end of the table to . . . pour tea.

Deriv.: pourie, -y, poorie, -y, (i) n., a vessel with a spout for pouring, a jug (Lth. 1825 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.), esp. a milk- or cream-jug (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 177, 1825 Jam.; Watson; m. and s.Sc. 1966), “a small oil-can with a spout from which oil is poured to lubricate machinery” (Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Mining Terms 52; m. and s.Sc. 1966). Hence cream-poorie, oil-poorie, etc. Cf. also pourie-pot s.v. 3. below; ¶(ii) adj., of a stream or the like: trickling, purling, pouring, swiftly-flowing.(1) Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie lxxxviii.:
He's a fine bit body yon . . . he's just like a bonny wee china pourie, full o' thick ream.
Sc. 1825 R. Chambers Illust. Waverley 198:
The pourie is washed and set by on the bink.
Fif. 1875 A. Burgess Poute 20:
i rin Aboot wi' Pirn Kreels — the poorie an' The pail.
Gsw. 1904 H. Foulis Erchie iv.:
See's the haud o' the cream-poorie.
sm.Sc. 1923 R. W. Mackenna Bracken and Thistledown iv.:
Having delivered himself, Willie Shed picked up the oil “pourie”again.
Ags. 1964 Weekly Scotsman (22 Oct.) 2:
I have a small milk jug . . . It has the inscription on it: “Rax owre the Poorie”
Fif. 1964 R. Bonnar Stewartie 1. iii.:
Wull put down his oil-pourie.
(2) Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xliv.:
The little pourie burn that tinkles and hngers among the slaty rocks.

2. tr. (1) To empty a vessel by pouring out its contents (Sc. 1880 Jam.). Gen.Sc.Sh. 1898 Shetland News (28 May):
Sibbie lifts da kettle apo' da tub ta poor him.

(2) to pour the liquid from (boiled food, esp. potatoes), to drain (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Phr. to poor taties, fig., to kill (an animal) by draining off its blood (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 132); jocularly, to make water (Sh., Abd. 1966). Cf. Bree, v.1, 2.Sh. 1892 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 244:
Dey wir just poorin' der dinner. I mind it wis crappin' heads an' tatties.
Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Witch-Wife xi.:
The newly poured pot of potatoes hung on the crook to steam.
Abd. 1953 Huntly Express (24 July):
Ah weel noo I poors the tatties, gaes them a shak' tae dry them an' sits doon tae ma denner.
Sh. 1963 New Shetlander No. 64. 22:
“Wash dee hands, Joannie,” said his mother, “I'm just pourin da tatties.”
wm.Sc. 1979 Robin Jenkins Fergus Lamont 91:
After an hour, still some way from the top, we stopped, to rest the horses, as Grizel said. As soon as she dismounted she climbed over a wall into a wood. I wondered if 'resting the horses' was an aristocratic euphemism, equivalent to the plebian 'pouring the tatties.'
Uls. 1993:
Pour the vegetables.
wm.Sc. 2003:
Will ye pour the tatties?

Vbl.n. pourin, poorin, gen. in pl., the liquid strained off (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; wm.Sc. 1966), specif. the liquid strained off Sowens after their fermentation (Fif. 1825 Jam.; ‡ne.Sc. 1966), hence, by extension, the last drops of liquid left in a vessel, the dregs (Ayr. 1928; wm.Sc., Uls. 1966; Cai., Bnff., Ags., Edb., Ayr. 2000s). Fif. 1834 Dundee Advertiser (27 Jan.):
The lichtness of the lang-necked bottle which now only contains the poorins.
Abd. a.1880 W. Robbie Yonderton (1929) 52:
Peter gave a “humph!” expressive of his dissatisfaction with the quality of the provisions, and then added in a querulous sort of tone — “It wid be a sin t' sauntifee a sup poorins!”
Abd. 1964 Buchan Observer (10 March) 6:
A quantity of sids had to be soaked in water until they turned sour. The water, called “pourins”, was poured off and kept for soaking further sids.
Uls. 1993:
Use the pourins o the carrots for the soup.
Edb. 1999:
My mother always drank the pourins from the brussel sprouts - she said it was good for the complexion.

3. To anoint sheep with an oily compound as a protection against insects and wet, to smear or Lay sheep. Hence poorer, one who takes part in this operation; poorie-pot, the vessel or jug used to hold the oily mixture (see 1899 quot., and 1. above).Sc. 1890 H. Stephens Bk. Farm V. 139:
For bathing, or “pouring” as it was sometimes called, the utensils required are, — a bathing-stool, a tin bottle with a quill or pipe passed through the cork, or a bath-jug, and a tub or other vessel to hold the bathing mixture.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 61:
To gi'e Whitehoose a haund wi' their poorin', neighbouring farmers would send their shepherds, receiving assistance of like kind in return. On smearing stools, ranged round the inside of the big barn, sat about a score of men, each with a sheep laid on the stool in front of him. Along the body of the patient animal the wool was swiftly and deftly divided, and into this “shed” “the poorer” — a boy or girl armed with a poorie-pot containing a villainous mixture of soft soap, oil, and some kind of insecticide — quickly poured a streak of the evil-smelling compound, this process being repeated until every part of the fleece had received attention. Then the frightened creature, with its insect and waterproof coat, was set at liberty.

4. With on: to hasten, hurry, “get a move on”.Ork. 1883 J. R. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 383:
My wife has departit; you'll just take twa chiels, and pour on and make a coffin till her.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 171:
Poo'or thoo on tae the shore, boy, an' say the doctor's comman.

II. n. That which pours or can be poured, specif. 1. a small quantity of a liquid substance, a drop, pourin, see I. 1. (Cld., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1966); also in dim. form pourie, id. (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 132, poorie; Dmf. 1920; Ags., Per. 1966).Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes lxxx.:
A pour o' creysh! Na, thank ye.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
A wee poorie o' tei.
Uls. 1993:
Another wee pour of tea?

2. A heavy shower of rain, a downpour (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc.Lth. 1786 G. Robertson Har'st Rig lxxxiii.:
Now it turns an eident blast, An even-doun pour!
Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 157:
Afore dinner-time, it was an even-doun pour. It fell lown about sax.
e.Lth. 1885 J. Lumsden Rural Rhymes 92:
Ae lang half-week's constant poo'r We're sure o' ere thy drunt be past!
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff ii.:
I declare 'e could hae wrung every stitch o' me, even tae my very shamees. It was a perfect powr.
Abd. 1964:
It's gaun to be a pour in a meenute.

3. A steady flow of any liquid, a stream, cascade. Also fig. of people.Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 23:
O'er her nose the sweat in sooms, In pours began to tumble.
Kcb. 1898 Crockett Standard Bearer xiv.:
There cam' a pour o' men-folk frae 'tween the lintels.

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



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