Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.
SPRUSH, n.1, adj., v. Also sproosh, sprooch; spruch; spruish. Sc. forms of Eng. spruce. [spruʃ, sprʌʃ]
I. n. 1. As in Eng.: (1) now obs.: Prussia. Used attrib. in Sc. comb. sprush ston, a weight formerly in use in Prussia, given as 28 lbs. Troy weight or approx. 25 lbs. avoirdupois.Inv. 1727 Steuart Letter-Bk. (S.H.S.) 274:
60 sprush ston of best bareband flax in three bealls.
(2) the spruce fir (Ayr. c.1780 Scotsman (5 March 1960) 7; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 268; Abd. 1932 Dieth Bch. Dial. 104; Per., Lnk. 1971).
2. Specif. Sc. usages: (1) from II.: a sprucing or smartening (up), a tidying or setting in order (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 179; Ayr. 1929; Sh., Ags., Per. 1971).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 179:
His wife's geen 'im a sprush, he leuks twice as weel sin he got 'ir.
(2) lemonade (ne.Sc. 1966, sproosh), prob. ad. Eng. spruce beer, a beer flavoured with spruce juice. Cf. also II. 2.
II. adj. 1. = Eng. spruce, as fine and elegant as Prussia leather, trim, smartly turned out (Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 155; Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 13, spruch; Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 49; Rxb. 1826 A. Scott Poems 45; Edb. 1897 W. Beatty Secretar xxvii.; Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1923–6 Wilson; Uls. 1953 Traynor; n., em.Sc.(a), Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 1971). Also adv. (Ayr. 1791 Burns Johnie Lad ii.). Comb. and deriv. sprush new, brand-new; sprushie, dressy (Slg., Ayr. 1971).Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 114:
That when the Pride of sprush new Words are laid, I like the Classick Authors shall be read.Gsw. 1777 Weekly Mag. (23 Oct.) 88:
His bonnet he, A thought a-jee, Cock'd sprush when first he clasp'd me.m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 45:
Hou braw he wes, hou braw he wes an crouse,
nae coorse-lik orra burd had claes sae sprush.
2. Brisk, smart in one's movements, spry (Sh., Bnff., Ags., Slg. 1971).Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 16:
Lads brisk an' sprush as bottl'd ale.Fif. 1897 S. Tytler Witch Wife vi.:
A fine young gentleman like you, let him be ever so braw and sprush.Bnff. 1954 Banffshire Jul. (23 Nov.):
Sin' we were young, sprush chiels.
III. v. As in Eng.: to smarten up, to tidy, make trim (Ags. 1858 People's Jnl. (30 Jan.) 3; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 179; Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 23, spruish; Ayr. 1929; Fif. 1939 St Andrews Cit. (12 Feb.); Sh., n. and em.Sc.(a), Lth., Lnk. 1971).[O.Sc. has Spruce, Prussia, 1503, spruse wecht, 1511, sprusse stane, 1548, in sense I. 1.(1), sprush, = II. 1., 1681.]
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"Sprush n.1, adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Sep 2023 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sprush_n1_adj_v>