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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

THOROW, prep., adv., adj., v., n. Also thorrow; thoara (Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxi.), thorra, thorie. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. thorough. Hence thorraness, thoroughness (ne.Sc. 1957 Mearns Leader (7 June)), thoro'-gaein, thorough-going, out-and-out (Ags. 1899 W. F. McHardy Bonnie Montrose 30). For the monosyllabic forms see Throu. [′θorə]

I. prep. Through, from one side or end to the other of. Now only dial. in Eng.; on account of. Comb. thorrow out, throughout.Abd. 1700 Burgh Rec. Abd. (B.R.S.) 327:
Thorow the sloath of her servants.
Bnff. 1702 Rec. Bnff. (S.C.) 112:
When they goe thorow the forementioned list.
Bnff. 1703 Ann. Bnff. (S.C.) II. 178:
Thorrow out the haill week days of the year.
Sc. 1725 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) II. 189:
If ye search all thorow Mearns, Buchan, Mar, nane better are Than Leader-haughs and Yarrow.
Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 22:
A' those Wha pass the Parish thorow.

II. adv. Through, so as to traverse.Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 116:
Napping hammers, Mak dense and hard the highways thorough led.

Combs. (1) thorough-band, a stone which goes through the whole thickness of a wall to give it added strength. Gen.Sc. See also Throu, II. 5.(2); (2) thorough-go-nimble, a jocular name for thin weak beer, ascribed by Scott to St Andrews University usage, though this has not been confirmed. The expression is an extended usage of slang or dial. Eng. thorough-go-nimble, diarrhoea, presumably from its effects.(1) Fif. 1800 J. Thomson Agric. Fif. 136:
Thorough-bands, or large long stones passing quite through the dike.
(2) Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate iv.:
With sad remembrances on his father's ale, for which the small-beer of the college, commonly there termed “thorough-go-nimble,” furnished a poor substitute.

III. adj. 1. Mentally alert, sane, “all there” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (11 Dec.) 13; Bwk., sm. and s.Sc. 1972).Gall. 1930:
He hasna had the life o' a dog an' it's nae wonner he's no jist thorough.

2. In comb. ¶thorough-handed, capable, efficient, industrious.Ayr. 1832 Galt Stanley Buxton I. i.:
He looked out for a managing, thorough-handed wife.

IV. v. 1. To prosecute (a matter) to its end, to further, carry forward.Sc. 1751 Rec. Conv. Burghs (1915) 368:
To use their interest to thorow the bill into a law.

2. To clean thoroughly (n., em., wm. and s.Sc. 1972).Sc. 1938 M. Innes Lament for a Maker 28:
Only once a week was she allowed up to his bedroom for the thoroughing of it.

3. To finish off, “do for,” kill, esp. of a fish on a hook, by inserting a stick in its throat and whirling it round so as to detach the hook and choke the fish at the same time (Fif. (Pittenweem) 1949).

V. n. A thorough clean or tidying. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Cf. IV. 2.

[Thorow, thorough, is the dissyllabic form of Throu, q.v., through, O.E. þurh, þuruh.]

Thorow prep., adv., adj., v., n.

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"Thorow prep., adv., adj., v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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