Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ABER, AABER (Only Sh.) [′ɑ(:)bər]

1. adj.

(1) Sharp, keen — e.g. of an edge-tool. Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
A aber edge, a aber knife.

(2) With sharp outlines; clear and distinct. Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
De land is very aber de day (clear and distinct, seen far off).
A aber sky (a sky with clouds which are in sharp contrast to the deep-blue in between).

(3) Sharp-sighted; keenly observant; watchful. (Jak.)

(4) Eager, greedy. Sh. 1899  J. Spence Sh. Folk-Lore 156:
This disease [“heart-wear”] assumed two forms, viz. the aaber and the feckless. In the former the heart was understood to be too big, and there was a voracious (aaber — greedy) appetite, without doing the body any good.
Sh.(D) 1918  T. Manson Humours Peat Comm. 74:
Forby dat, I'm raelly aaber ta hear dis concert ats bein gottin up.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
Aber aboot or for a thing.
De fish is aber (swallowing the bait greedily).

2. v.

(1) To sharpen, as a knife. Sh. 1931 4 :
Boy, du micht aaber up da tully ta me.

(2) To stir up and make bright, as a fire. Sh.(D) 1916  J. J. H. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr Janniwary 2:
It's for da young ta aaber-up i da birtek o life.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
To aber up de birtek — i.e. to quicken the fire.

[O.N. apr, adj., sharp, hard, bad. Sw. Dial. aber, strong, pungent (mostly of smells). (Fær. apur, severe, great.) Jak.]

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"Aber ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



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