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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.

SOUSE, v.1, n., adv. Also soos(e), souce; sowse. [sʌus, sus]

I. v. 1. tr. To strike, cuff, thump, box the ears (Uls. c.1840 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924), 1953 Traynor; Cai., wm.Sc., Wgt. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. Deriv. soos(t)er, sows(t)er, anything very large, a “whopper,” a large amount (Cai., em.Sc. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ayr. 1786 Burns What ails ye now ii.:
What tho' at times when I grow crouse . . . Is that enough for you to souse Your servant sae?
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxvii.:
I'll hae him weel soused for that.
Bwk. 1876 W. Brockie Confessional 186:
I wad souce baith them and the heckler.
Edb. 1929 The Student (10 Dec.) 235:
Thon wasnae the May but a muckle whale. Sic a sowster they ne'er had seen.
Cai.9 1946:
'At's a fair sowser 'at should fill him till 'e fettles.
Per.4 1950:
That's a souster o a hay stack.

2. To strike down, to let fall heavily.Rnf. a.1813 A. Wilson Poems (1876) II. 161:
Musk-rats and 'possums in each hand he bore, And soused them down with surly gloom.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xv.:
The deil flew away wi' her; and, soosing her down frae the lift, she landit in that hole.

3. intr. or refl., gen. with doun: to fall or sit heavily (Uls. c.1840 W. Lutton Montiaghisms (1924), 1953 Traynor). Also in n.Eng. dial.Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 78:
Some, unpractis'd or uncautious, fell Sousing with lumpish undefended weight.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 386:
[He] laid his bonnet on the seat, and sousing himself down on it, stared about with seeming indifference.
Cai. 1904 E.D.D.:
To soos doon, to fall of a heap, or as a soft mass would.

II. n. 1. A heavy blow, esp. on the head, a thump (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 432, sowse; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Cai., Ayr., Wgt. 1971), a forcible dash or thrust. Also in Eng. dial. Dim. sousie, a thrashing (Ayr. 1921 T.S.D.C.).s.Sc. 1809 T. Donaldson Poems 13:
I'd daud or gie him weel his souses.
Gsw. 1884 H. Johnston Martha Spreull 105:
Betty clapped him doon on a basket o' wet claes wi' a guid sowse.

2. A heavy fall, the sound of such a fall (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Also in n.Eng. dial.Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) I. 143:
He first fell on a thatched house, Next on a midden, with a souse.
w.Lth. 1834 Poets Lnl. (Bisset 1896) 76:
Till wi' a souce o'er he gaes a', On face or back.
s.Sc. 1847 H. S. Riddell Poems 27:
The stranger marvelled that the house Had no fa'n in, wi' ae sad souse.
Uls. 1897 W. G. Lyttle R. Gordon 79:
A wud wauken up wi' the souse she cum doon on the grun'.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 221:
She cam' doun wi' a sowse on her rump.

3. A load (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 432).

III. adv. Violently, heavily, with a thud (Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ayr., Wgt. 1971). Now chiefly dial. in Eng.Sc. 1814 Carlyle Early Letters (Norton 1886) I. 5:
Boring a hole, right, slap, souse down through the centre of the earth we inhabit.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 2:
Sampson . . . came upon a lion souse, And crush'd him as he'd been a mouse.
Ayr. 1870 J. K. Hunter Life Studies 296:
The tipsy lover fell souse in the dirt.
Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 151:
Da bool gied oot o' da pan, as I wis linkin' 'im up i' da crook, an' soose gied puddin's an' puddin' brü i' da fire.

[O.Sc. sous, to thrash, c.1590. Orig. uncertain, prob. imit. Cf. M.H.Ger. sus, noise, din. Cf. Soss, n.2]

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"Souse v.1, n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2024 <>



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