Another in the Marvels of the Internet series: the entire Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) and Scottish National Dictionary (SND) are now online and searchable under the rubric Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL). How many times have I wished I had easy access to those magnificent works of lexicography, especially when reading the magnificent Hugh MacDiarmid! I tested the DSL on the vocabulary in “The Eemis Stane” (quoted in the linked LH entry) and was somewhat disappointed to find that neither eemis nor how-dumb-deid was in there, but there was a nice entry for yowdendrift that actually quoted the poem:

YOWDENDRIFT ,n. Also youden-, ewden-, and reduced forms yown-, ¶ en-. Snowdrift, “snow or hail blown directly and forcibly from the heavens” (Abd., Kcd. 1825 Jam., s.v. Erd-drift; Bnff. 1944). See also Erd. Obs. exc. liter.
*Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems 285:
To my Meg I bend my tour, Thro’ Ewden drift, or snawy-show’r.
*Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1873) 34:
The first thing meets him, is a dose Of styth endrift and hail.
*Ags. a.1823 G. Beattie Poems (1882) 199:
As choakin’ thick as yowden drift.
*Crm. 1834 H. Miller Scenes and Leg. 291:
I’ll be lost, I’m feared, in the yowndrift.
*Mry. 1852 A. Christie Mountain Strain 16:
At every shift, Like youden drift, The deals in dizens flew.
*Sc. 1925 H. McDiarmid Sangschaw 23:
An’ my eerie memories fa’ Like a yowdendrift.
*Bnff. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel Fae Hame 18:
Antrin shooers o’ yowden drift.
*Sc. 1947 D. Young Braird o’ Thristles 12:
Skinklan pouther frae a licht yowden-drift o’ snaw.
[O.Sc. ewindrift, id., 1630. The first element is obscure, phs. ad. yowden, pa.p. of Yield, but the sense development is unexplained. Endrift may be a mistake for erd-drift. See also Stife, v., Stith, I.3.]

The words I’ve bolded are linked to their definitions on the dictionary page. Very well done, and I thank wood s lot for bringing it to my attention.


  1. Thanks for the link. How wonderfully useful. I had no idea it was available. I do have access to a copy of the DOST at the Dictionary of Old English project, but unfortunatly not the later volumes. It’s surprising how much Old English vocabulary crops up in the DOST. The DOE regularly cross-references to the DOST for this reason. This is an invaluable online resource.

  2. Yes, thanks from me, too. It’s particularly useful for comparison with northern English dialects which have absorbed some of the terms listed.

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