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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.

PUSHION, n., adj., v. Also pooshion (Abd. 1957 Bon-Accord (25 April)), -in (Ags. 1892 Arbroath Guide (27 Feb.)), -en (Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 263), -an (Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 26), -un; poosion (Ayr. 1786 Burns Holy Fair xvi.), pushen, -in (Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 107), -on; pueshin (Sh. 1900 Shetland News (17 Nov.)), pous(h)in (Knr. 1925 H. Haliburton Horace 76); pusn (Sc. c.1800 Queen Eleanour in Child Ballads No. 156. B. x.), puson (Sc. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 205), -en, -ion (Abd. 1857 G. MacDonald Songs (1893) 3), pusjon, -jin; puzen (Bwk. 1823 A. Hewit Poems 95), -ion, puzhen (Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize II. xix.), -un (Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie xii.), puzhon (Ags. 1920 A. Gray Songs from Heine 23), puzhion (Per. 1895 I. MacLaren Auld Lang Syne 28), puzyon (Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption xxii.), puzzhion (Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 44); pussen (Rxb. 1954 Hawick News (18 June) 7), puzzen (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); puizhun (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 55), puishon (Kcb. 1911 G. M. Gordon Clay Biggin 8), -un (Fif. 1894 J. Menzies Our Town 127); posion (Sc. 1756 M. Calderwood Journey (M.C.) 130); pashyen (Bnff. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (19 June) 8), paazyen (Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 16); poishon (Sc. 1826 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 139); pisen (Sc. 1926 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 98), pisin (s.Sc. 1894 J. Cunningham Broomieburn 113); pizion (Sc. 1875 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 158), pishion.
Sc. forms and usages of Eng. poison. [m.Sc. ′pʌʒən, Fif. ′pe-, Lth. + ′pɪ-, ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a), Ayr. ′pu-; Lth., sm. and s.Sc. ′pʌʒ-; + anglicised forms ′pɑeʒ-. See Fushion.]

I. n. 1. Also pizen. Sc. form of Eng. poison. Deriv. pushionish (Sc. 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1864) III. 138), pooshinous (Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains & Hilly 91), pooshenous (Abd. 1950 Scots Mag. (July) 273), poisonous.Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 166:
Biend-rig an sun's licht,
tak thou frae me the fear o thon yird-ritter,
the pizen o thon plant.
ne.Sc. 1993 Ronald W. McDonald in A. L. Kennedy and Hamish Whyte New Writing Scotland 11: The Ghost of Liberace 69:
They haed a gran hidey-hole doon inside th'aul water-mul an nae trap or pizen seem't tae faze them ava.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 19:
"Snoovin, scomfishin snakes that ye are,
The hiss o yer music gars me grue;
Yer dooble tung's praise is ill tae thole
Wi its tip aw weit wi pushionous dew. ... "

Combs. and phr.: (1) pyock o' pushion, n., a very bad-tempered and testy person, a curmudgeon (Crm. 1921 T.S.D.C. 26). See also Pock, n.; (2) pushion-berry, the nightshade or bitter sweet, Solanum dulcamara (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 150; Rxb. 1915 Jedburgh Gazette (17 Sept.) 3; Lnk. 1967); (3) pushion-ramper, the hag fish, Myxine glutinosa (Mry. 1852 Zoologist X. 3488). See Ramper.

2. An unpleasant person or thing, a “horror” (Sh., n.Sc. 1967). Hence pooshinous, pusjonous, unpleasant, detestable, horrible (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., n.Sc. 1967).ne.Sc. 1893 W. Gregor Dunbar's Wks. (S.T.S.) III. 40:
“He's a pusion o' a craitur,” and “He's a perfit pusion.”
Sh. 1898 Shetland News (30 July):
A fantit ting o' a grice aboot a hoos is shürely wan o' da greatest pushens 'at can be seen.
Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.:
Sees du whatna pusjon av a bonnet wir Meggi is gotten on.
Cai. 1934 John o' Groat Jnl. (19 Jan.):
Ye could fa aff o' Princie an' no mak' sic a pooshinous foosum mess o' yir jaikad as ye wid in 'is guttery w'ather.
Abd. 1934 D. Scott Stories and Sk. 27:
He's jist a rale pooshin wi't.
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 97:
A baand a ellit oorlie pooshins, Shargin, njirlin, lipper tings.

II. adj., from n. used attrib.: of persons or things: unpleasant, detestable, cursed, foul (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 177, pooshin, 1908 Jak. (1928), pusjin; Cai.3 1931; I.Sc., Fif. 1967). Also used adv. in combs. pushion-faced, having an ugly or badtempered face, pusjin-shaped, deformed, misshapen (Jak.).Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.:
A poushin crater, a sneaking, contemptible fellow.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 43:
Here's the strae that yin puishan ill-skinned tyke o a man ca'd a shaef o corn.
Sc. 1883 Stevenson Letters to Baxter (1956) 126:
Up comes yon red-heedit, pishion-faced creeter.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 240:
He's a pooshin wadder-head, a dirty söal i' da sea.
Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (14 Jan.):
“A pushion, fusom, moniment” expressed the lowest stratum of worthlessness.

III. v. 1. As in Eng., but in Sc. often used in a weaker sense: to render unpleasant, spoil, cause discomfort to; of food: to make unpalatable or nauseating. Gen.Sc. Deriv. pus(h)ionable, adj., poisonous, unpleasant (Per., Dmb. 1967). Ppl.adjs. poushin't, puzzen't, poisoned; by extension, of persons: unpleasant in character, spiteful, malicious; of things: having an unhealthy or unwholesome appearance, dingy, discoloured, freq. of badly washed linen or the like (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., puzzen't, Rxb. 1967), unpleasant, unpalatable, nasty; pushioning, unpleasant, horrid, nasty.Sc. 1806 Scots Mag. (March) 205:
What's a' the med'cines that are ta'en, An' Doctors' puson'd stuff.
Mry. 1828 J. Ruddiman Tales 63:
What can we expect from brocks but a poosioning flavour.
Ags. 1833 J. S. Sands Poems 95:
Ye've pushioned a' the kail wi' sute.
Sc. 1840 G. Webster Ingliston xxviii.:
Sic a meltooth as micht . . . gie ony body the gulsheuch, as ye micht weel ken frae the pushionable smell that it sets up.
Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 211:
The peat-diggers appease their thirst by chewing the sapid culms of this grass, for the water of the peat-bog they reckon “pushonable.”
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xvii.:
Johnny in his heat, even defined Dawvid Hadden as a “pushion't ted.”
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 56:
That weaves a windin'-sheet for mirth, That pusions bread wi' leaven.
Dmf. 1891 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 81:
Toads, again, are considered “pushionable beasts.”
Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 107:
Hit's a mercy, an' a fairly ta preeve a crumb o' tae bread noo-a-days, 'ats no pushined wi' suggar.
Edb. 1994:
Ah've bin pizened!
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 16:
Guid neebor Will, - his case at last
has Brickwork boss's blootert
an proves that reek,
thir fug an smeek,
can pizen aa wir rhubert.

2. To plague, annoy, harass (Bnff. 1967).Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize xlii.:
“O Lord,” cried the curate, “we're puzhened wi' speeders!”

[O.Sc. pusoune, n., 1375, poisonable, poisonous, c.1470, Mid.Eng. puison, O.Fr. puison.]

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



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