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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SCOUR, v.3, n.3 Also scoor, skoor, skour. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. scour, to scrub, cleanse, purge, etc. [sku:r]

I. v. 1. As in Eng., to scrub, rub off dirt with detergents. Vbl.n. scourin. (1) Combs.: (i) scoorin blot, a water prepared from soda or an alternative substance used for washing clothes, wool or the like, suds (I.Sc. 1969). See Blot; (ii) scour-bairn, = scour-the-buggie s.v. (vi) (Ork. 1975);  (iii) scourin clout, a rag or rough cloth for washing floors, etc. (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc.; (iv) scourin-dud, id. See Dud; (v) scourin thing, gen. in pl.: metal ornaments, sc. which require to be cleaned and polished regularly; (vi) scour (scoor)-the-bugg(h)ie, skourdaboggie, skur-debogi, jocularly for the youngest member of a family, the last child to be born to two parents (Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 193, 1908 Jak. (1928), Sh. 1969). See Bogi and cf. the sim. fig. use of pockshakins s.v. Pock; (vii) skoor-the-bogy-an'-run, see 4. below; (viii) scour-the-huddie, lit. one who polishes the Hud, q.v., a lazy fellow who loafs at the fireside.Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 1:
Fairmer's fingers - braid, an hakkit, an roch, an swalled o the jynts, far seeventy winters dellin the grun in the Howe at the fit o the fite glimmers o Morven hid scoored an wheeped an birssled him inno the wyce nippick o grissle an smeddum that he wis.
em.Sc. 1999 James Robertson The Day O Judgement 11:
"Faw doun, ye craigs, upon oor heids,
An crush us wi yer stanes an scree!
O scoor oor presence frae the yirth:
The Lamb cums that we canna see."
(1) (i) Sh. 1964 Sh. Folk Book IV. 7:
The only effective “scoorin-blot” capable of removing the fish-oil “creesh” from hand-spun worsted.
(iii) Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 8:
His wobs o' wincy dawdlt waur Nor any scoorin' cloot.
(iv) Abd. 1865 W. Anderson Howes o' Buchan 11:
The servant girl just run off from her half-washed lobby with her “scourin'-dud” in her hand.
(v) Gsw. 1863 W. Miller Nursery Songs 56:
The scourin'-things aboon the brace Were bright as ony han's could mak'.
Ayr. 1886 J. Meikle Lintie 147:
In his scarf and at his vest pocket he had scooring things, anglice, gaudy ornaments.
(vi) Sh. 1898 Shetland News (19 Feb.):
Are we, the “latest nephews”, the last “scoorda-bugghies” of the age?
(viii) Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 74:
Tammie Dewdrap, plump an' ruddy, Was ance a smeekit scour-the-huddie.

(2) deriv. scourin, scowring, scorin, -an. (i) clothes which are to be or have been washed, a washing; (ii) a kind of coarse woollen cloth, of the flannel or serge kind, a variety of plaiding (see Plaid, n., 2.) (Cai. 1904 E.D.D., Cai. 1969), a blanket made of this (Cai. 1969). Also attrib. Combs. ‡scourin bootie, a small shawl or headsquare of this material (Ork. 1969). See Bootie; scourin coat, a woman's coarse petticoat (Cai. 1969).(i) Lth. 1885 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 9:
The “scourin” was drying on the hedges early in the day.
(ii) Ork. 1775 J. Fea Present State (1884) 108:
A coarse kind of cloth called Scowrings.
Cai. 1812 J. Henderson Agric. Cai. 207:
Any surplus was sold at the country fairs, either in yarn, blankets, scourins (a kind of flannel).
Ork. 1894 W. R. Mackintosh Peat-fires 252:
On her head and “shuthers” was a “scoorin' bootie”.
Cai. 1916 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April):
A great deal of the guidman's underclothing was made of scourings.
Cai. 1969:
Off till 'e scoorans = off to bed.

2. To flush or wash out with liquid, jocularly in ref. to drinking; to drink off heartily, to gulp down, to drain (a glass), also with aff, out.Sc. 1718 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 78:
[He] scour'd aff Healths anew Clean out that Day.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 52:
Wi' Highland whisky scour our hawses.
Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1873) 15:
Lat's see a drappie o' yer beer, To scour my crap.
Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems I. 158:
Ilka blade had fill'd his wame Wi' monie scour'd-out glasses.
Sc. 1873 D. M. Ogilvy Willie Wabster 8:
But when he scoured anither skite, It gar'd him flyre and flisk and flyte.

3. To scrape or scratch a surface; of a boat: to grate the shore with its keel; to scoop out, to wear away (Sc. 1880 Jam.).Sc. 1892 Stevenson Catriona xiii.:
He was near in, and the boat scouring.

4. To purge, clear out the bowels, affect with diarrhoea, esp. of farm animals. Gen.Sc. and in Eng. veterinary usage. Vbl.n. scourin, diarrhoea (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.). Comb. scooran pell, a tuft of wool on a sheep's fleece matted with the excreta of scour (Cai. 1963 Edb. John o' Groat Liter. Soc. Mag. 8). See Pell, n.1, 1. Phr. skoor-the-bogy-an'-run (Ork. 1929 Marw.), scour-gut (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) S. 25), scour-the-gate, a thin ale which has this effect, usu. the third Infusion of the wort. See Bogy (Suppl.).Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 319:
There's first guid ale, and syne guid ale, And second ale, and some, Hink-skink, and ploughman's drink, And scour-the-gate, and trim.
Abd. 1960 Buchan Observer (9 Feb.) 3:
He mak's a rackin', scoorin' peel An' gars her swallow't hale.

5. (1) To beat with a whip, to lash, esp. of boys playing with a spinning-top (Abd. 1825 Jam.). Obs. in Eng.Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 150:
Look on as their laddies were scourin' their tap.

(2) To reprimand or chide severely. Vbl.n. scourin, a stern rebuke (w.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh., Lnk. 1969).

6. To scatter, throw in all directions, in comb. scoor-oot, the scattering of coins at a wedding for children to scramble for, a pour-out (see Pour) (Ags., Fif. 1969), also in reduced dim. form skoorie, id.Fif. 1952 B. Holman Behind the Diamond Panes 64:
The children who participated in the “skoorie” of coppers thrown amongst them at the door by the best man before the wedding actually took place.
Fif. 1964 R. Bonnar Stewartie 4. iv.:
It'll no' be the first time he'll have lost the knees oot 'is breeks at a scoor-out.

II. n. 1. The act of scouring, a vigorous cleansing or polishing (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. and in colloq. Eng.; in gen., activity, a “go”.Sc. 1928 J. Wilson Hamespun 52:
Belyve the rain will downward pour The lift will tak a reg'lar scour.
Cai. 1969:
Come up 'e nicht an we'll hev a scour at 'e cairds.

2. A large hearty drink, esp. of liquor, a good pull (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Cf. I. 2.Sc. 1726 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 161:
Syne if that her tippony chance to be sma', We'll tak a good scour o't, and ca't awa'.
Fif. 1812 W. Ranken Poems 13:
I whiles o' whisky tak a scour.
Ayr. 1822 H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 65:
A gude chiel or twa Taks a scour o' Usquebah.
Per. a.1825 Donald and Flora 74:
Frae the strait-trailing udder o' some ewe I suck a scour o' milk.

3. (1) A purging of the bowels, applied to human beings (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork., Abd., Per. 1969). Cf. I. 4. In Eng. only of animals. (2) A medicine which purges, an aperient (Bnff., wm.Sc. 1882 Jam.).

4. A severe censure or scolding, a stern rebuke (w.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Dim. scourie, id. (Dmf. 1825 Jam.).

5. A contemptuous epithet for a rascally sort of person. This may, however, be a back-formation of Scourie, n., 1.Ags. 1887 Arbroath Guide (30 April) 3:
A tricky, ill-doin' scoor.

6. In pl.: a type of coal, prob. of poor quality (Sc. 1808 R. Bald Coal-Trade Scot. 118).

[O.Sc. skouring, a kind of cloth, 1580.]

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"Scour v.3, n.3". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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