Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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BISMAR, BISMER, BISMORE, Bysmer, n. [′bɪsmər]

1. (See quots.) Sh. 1821  Scott Pirate ix.:
The new factor is for making a change in the bismars and the lispunds.
Sh. 1866  and
Edm. Gl.:
Bismer, a steelyard, or instrument for weighing resembling it.
Ork. 1793  Stat. Acc.1 VII. 476–477:
The pundlar and the bismar . . . are a standard of weights peculiar to this country, and have been used here ever since the Danes had possession of this country. . . . The bismar is a smaller weight; and weighs from 1 to 24 merks, which last is denominated a setting or lispund. . . . The bismar is used for weighing butter, and other things.
Ork. 1805  G. Barry Hist.Ork. Islands 211:
The bysmer is a lever or beam made of wood, about three feet long. [Used also as in 2, p. 289.]
Ork. 1884  (2nd ed.) R. M. Fergusson Rambles xv.:
Gudewife, gae to your butter-ark, . . . An fetch us here ten bismar mark.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
Bismar . . . Used for weighing butter, oil, salt, wool, cheese, etc.
Ags. 1808  Jam.:
Bismar, bysmer. This term is commonly used in Angus, for a steelyard. [Still known (Ags.2 1934).]

2. (See quots.) Sh. 1932  J. M. E. Saxby Sh. Trad. Lore 201:
“Prigga-troot” and “Bismar” is the stickle-back.
Ork. 1866  Edm. Gl.:
Bismer, a species of stickleback.
Ork. 1929  Marw.:
Bismore, the fifteen-spined stickleback. [Low's Fauna.] “Has its Orkney name from the kind of balance here made use of — called Bismores.” (Gasterosteus spinachia, L.)

[O.N. bismari, steelyard. Sw. besman, Russ. bezmen. May have been borrowed by Slavonic languages from Turkish batman (Falk and Torp).]

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"Bismar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Oct 2018 <>



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