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.

ROWAN, n. Also row(e)n, roun (Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems 118); †roan(e), †rone; raw(e)n, raun (Bnff. 1767 Caled. Mercury (6 April)); raan, ran (Abd. 1767 Abd. Jnl. (5 Oct.); Lth. 1825 Jam.), rane. See also Rodden. [′rʌuən, †ro:ən; ne.Sc. †rɑ:n]

1. The mountain ash, Sorbus aucuparia. Gen.Sc. Also attrib. and in n.Eng. dial.Sc. 1751 Chrons. Atholl and Tullibardine Families III. 404:
The Rones, Water Alder, &c., &c., was as full of frute as they could hang.
Mry. 1767 Abd. Journal (6 April):
Some Rane or Mountain Ash.
Rxb. 1802 J. Leyden Remains (1819) 88:
In Keeldar's plume the holly green, And rowan leaves, nod on.
Sc. 1808 Scott Marmion ii. Intro.:
How clung the rowan to the rock, . . . With narrow leaves and berries red.
m.Lth. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 11:
The briar and the rowan.
Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped i.:
The big rowans in the kirkyard.
Bnff. 1902 Trans. Bnff. Field Club 10:
Over the byre doors and along the eaves you would see “raan” or rowan sticks and red thread.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray Songs 57:
A rowan stood by the waterside.

2. The fruit of the mountain ash (Lnk. 1832 W. Patrick Plants 139). Gen.Sc.Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 129:
There aft I the mountain ash reeved o' the rowans.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 3:
The rowans, and other berries.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 52:
The wee dyvour loons . . . speel the trees for rowans and geans.
Dmf. 1899 Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 11:
The red rowans were withering on their stems.
Sc. 1923 R. Annand End of Fiammetta 35:
Red as the rowan bade she still.

3. Combs.: (1) rowan berry, roan(e) —, the fruit of the mountain ash (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Also attrib. Gen.Sc.; (2) rowan-buss, bush, the mountain ash (Uls. 1953 Traynor); a bough of the tree; (3) rowan jelly, a tart-flavoured preserve made from the fruit of the mountain ash and served as an accompaniment to game or meat. Gen.Sc.; (4) rowan tree, row(e)n-, rountree, rowntrie, roan-, rone-, ra(u)ntree, raantree, raw(e)n tree, rantiree, rantry, ranty (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.), also double form rantry-tree (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 143), the mountain ash (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial.(1) Abd. 1723 Monymusk Papers (S.H.S.) 98:
I have gathred a quantity of roanberries.
Sc. 1759 J. Justice Br. Gardener's Cal. 385:
The Quickbeam or Roane Berry Tree.
Sc. 1814 Scott Diary (23 Aug.):
Like round red rowan-berries.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister iv.:
A twig of rowan berries stuck carelessly into her black hair.
(2) Lnk. 1806 J. Black Falls of Clyde 108:
Rax yon row'n buss to me.
Sc. 1843 R. Nicoll Poems 141:
The bonnie rowan bush In yon lane glen.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet xix.:
That picturesque Glenkens warrior, who set a rowan bush on his bare head for a helmet plume.
(3) Sc. 1883 Cookery Bk. Lady Clark of Tillypronie (Frere 1909) 176:
Rowan Jelly. Wash the Rowan berries well.
Sc. 1929 F. M. McNeill Sc. Kitchen 221:
Rowan jelly is an excellent accompaniment to grouse, venison, and saddle of mutton.
(4) Ork. 1721 P. Ork. A.S. XI. 41:
20 Roan trees from Rot Mclelland in the Goos Dubb to be sett ther . . . £1 16 0.
Sc. 1734 J. Cockburn Letters (S.H.S.) 13:
Have you any rawen tree Berrys laid in earth?
Crm. 1756 Caled. Mercury (9 Nov.):
Geen, Laburnum, and Rone or Ran Trees.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 12:
The jizzen-bed wi' rantree leaves was sain'd.
Per. a.1800 Lady Nairne Songs (1905) 258:
Oh! Rowan Tree, Oh! Rowan Tree, thou'lt aye be dear to me.
s.Sc. 1820 Letter Bks. Sir W. Scott (Partington 1930) 322:
Straight opposite this rowntreegutter on the other side of the Glen.
Dmf. 1826 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 277:
Black luggie, lammer bead, Rowan-tree, and red thread, Put the witches to their speed!
Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. X. 108:
Gude, or Sweet or Peace be here and rowntree [A saying to bring good luck].
ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk-Lore 188:
The rawn-tree in the widd-bin Haud the witches on cum in.
Abd. 1945 Scots. Mag. (Feb.) 378:
The nyaakit ra'antree's gapin' for the snaw.

[O.Sc. rountre, mountain ash, 1584, E.M.E. rountree, id., from Scand., rantrie, 1650. Cf. Norw. dial. raun, id., O.N. (with mutation) reynir. The form roan is prob. from n.Eng. dial. and the ra(a)n forms seem to have developed on the analogy of rawn: rowan s.v. Rawn. The root is prob. *raud-, red.]

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

"Rowan n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: