Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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ARSE, ERSE, n. and v. [ers, ɛrs and ɑrs Sc.]

1. n. The fundament, the buttocks, the bottom part or hinder part of a person, animal or thing, as in St.Eng. Abd. 1932 9 :
The erse of a sheaf is the end placed on the ground when set up in stooks.
Ayr. 1786  Burns The Twa Dogs ll. 43–44:
Till tir'd at last wi' mony a farce They set them down upon their arse.

2. v.

(1) tr. Move backwards, push back; hence to baffle. Abd. 1898  G. W. in E.D.D.:
Arse back your horse a little.
Abd. 1929 15 :
He was fair arsed (overcome, stuck, unable to make further progress).

(2) intr. To shuffle, to back out of a promise. Abd. 1898  G. W. in E.D.D.:
He arsed a bit. I heard he meant to arse oot o' his promises. So vbl.n. arsin' = shuffling, evading.
Abd. 1932 2 :
Nane o' that arsin' noo.

3. Combs.: (1) Arse-bare. (See quot.) (2) Erse-board (burd), plough-erse. (See quot.) (3) Sack-arse. (See quot.) (1) Abd. 1746  W. Forbes Dominie Deposed 8:
Though they should pledge their petticoats, And gae arse-bare.
(2) Sc. 1887  Jam.6:
Tail, as in the tail-board of a cart, the tail of a plough, which are called the erse-board, and the erse o' the plough or the plough-erse. Erse is the common form, and represents the pron[unciation] in Scot.
(3) Sc. 1825  Jam.2:
Sack-arse, the bottom of a sack.

[O.E. ars, ears; O.Sc. ars, arse, erse; O.H.G., O.N., Dan., Sw., O.Fris. ers or aars; Ger. arsch; Gr. ορρος + ορσος. Found 1336 in Calender Docmts. Scot. II. Terra vocata, Naked erse (J. B. J.).]

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"Arse n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Oct 2018 <>



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