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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SMUSH, v., n.1, adj. Also smusch, smouch, and derivs. smus(c)hach, smus(c)hle, smushlach, -loch; smooshter. [smʌʃ]

I. v. 1. To break into very small fragments, to crush, smash (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 204; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Ork., Abd., Fif., Lnk., Kcb., Rxb. 1970). Also in Eng. dial. Ppl.adj. smushin, puny, insignificant (Bnff. 1920). Cf. II., 3.(2).

2. To eat in a furtive manner, esp. something got by improper means (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Derivs. smuschach, smuschle, id., to nibble food half-heartedly, as in illness (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 171), fig., tr. and intr., to consume or waste away by slow degrees (Id.). Ppl.adj. smuschlin, fond of dainty fare (Id.).

3. To drizzle (Sh. 1970). Freq. form smushle, id. (Ayr. 1825 Jam.).

II. n. 1. A mass of tiny crushed fragments, any substance which has been reduced to pulp or powder, e.g. over-boiled potatoes, coal-dross, etc. (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Sh. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 204, Bnff. (smushach), Per. (smushlach) 1880 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1929). Gen.Sc. Also fig.; semi-liquid snow, slush (Watson). Also in Eng. dial. Adj. smushy, like smush, in a crushed or pulpy state, slushy.Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 64:
A sweein smush O laawirs, ministers, an lairds.
Bnff. 1921 T.S.D.C.:
There's nae lumps here, naething but smooshter.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Smushy coal; smushy roads.

2. A collection of small objects; fragments, leavings, scraps, of food, etc. (Per. (smushlach), Ayr. 1880 Jam.).ne.Sc. 1826 Aberdeen Censor 245:
Plasters of red turneeps and cows' smouch boiled up wi' new milk.
Abd.15 1929:
That's a sod smushloch o' tawties. There's hardly a faisible sized een amon them.

3. Fig. usagus: (1) a slight drizzle, fine rain (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1970), hence smushie, drizzly (Sh. 1970); (2) a small person; “a person of small stature, dark complexion and with a profusion of hair” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 171, smusch(ach, -le), Abd. 1929, smushloch).

III. adj. Broken, fragmentary (Per., Ayr. 1880 Jam.); “of small stature and dark complexion” (Gregor). Cf. II. 3.(2).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 171:
He's got an unco smuschach bodie for a wife.

[From Mush, n.1, v.1 with prothetic s-. See S, letter, 5.]

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"Smush v., n.1, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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