Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

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

QUOY, n. Also quey, kwy; quay; kwi, quee, quie; whee, whie, hwi (Sh.), why (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh. 1975). [kwɑe, kwi, Sh. + hw(a)i] A piece of land, orig. part of a common pasture, which had been enclosed and cultivated as part of a farm (Ork. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.). Now found chiefly in place-names in Sh., Ork. and Cai. Comb.: quoyland, id. (Ork. 1825 Jam.); ringit-quoy, id. (Ork. 1822 A. Peterkin Notes App. 95); sheep-quoy, a sheep-fold, a Bucht (Ib.).Ork. 1706 W. Mackintosh Glimpses Kirkwall (1887) 47:
They did all mount at the said cross, and did ryde from that forward through the north comon loan about both the quoyes, called St. Katharein's quoyes.
Ork. 1766 R. Fea MS. Diary (18 April):
Had 16 Horses mucking from the Catle quoy to Inglea.
Ork. 1804 Session Papers, Erskine v. Traill (27 Nov.):
What is called a quoy in Orkney, is a piece of ground taken in from a common, and enclosed with a wall or other fence; and its boundaries being thus precisely fixed and ascertained no doubt can arise as to its extent.
Sh. 1822 S. Hibbert Descr. Shet. 209:
Before the time of Earl Patrick, the land which, by being inclosed for culture, became free from scat, was named Quoy land.
Ork. 1825 Jam.:
It is said scornfully to one who has a possession of this kind; “You have nothing but a ringit-quoy”; as signifying that he has as it were stolen what he calls his property; that he has no right to hill-pasturage in common with his neighbours, as not paying Scatt for his quoy, and no right to poind the cattle which trespass on this enclosure.
Ork. 1927 J. S. Clouston Ork. Par. Intro. xv.:
The Skatlands formed the main body of the Orkney lands already in cultivation when skat, or land tax, was first laid on the islands at the creation of the Earldom towards the end of the 9th century. The Quoylands were later additions to the arable area, and having escaped skat at the beginning, continued to escape it.
Ork. 1939 Orcadian (15 June):
Awa' wae gaed, a' makan for the centre spot, the quay, an' drivan the sheep in front o' hiz.
Ork. 1956 C. M. Costie Benjie's Bodle 203:
The ferm o' Little Dyke . . . hid been a quoy o' land aaf o' wir ferm eence.

[O.Sc. (Ork.) qui, 1490, Norw. kvi, O.N. kví, a pen, fold, enclosure for animals.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Quoy n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: