Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

ERD, n., v. Also eard, †eird(e), †eerd. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. earth. See also Eart for I.Sc. and Yird for other Sc. forms. [ɛrd]

I. n.

1. (1) Sc. forms; now obsol. or arch. Sc. 1728  Ramsay Poems II. 98:
Now of a' them the Eard e'er bure.
Gall. 1796  J. Lauderdale Poems 45:
Frost binds up the e'rd like flint.
Sc. 1829  H. Miller Poems 96:
Ah Willie! o'er this weary erd Triumphant Crime waves her black banner.
Sc. 1928  Scots Mag. (May) 128:
The erd's true treasures lilt thy praise, O Stem of Life uprisen!

Derivs.: ¶(a) e(i)rthlins, adv., earthwards; along, towards, the ground; †(b) earthly, adv., in phr. not to know earthly, to have no earthly idea. (a) Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 4:
Till erthlins wi' a dunderin' rattle Tummlet the tow'rs o' Troy.
Fif. 1838  W. Tennant Poems 33:
Ten thousand folk to dead were devell'd Ten thousand mair were eirthlins levell'd, Half-dead wi' fractured banes.
(b) Sc. 1745  in Scott Rob Roy (1843) Intro. cxiv.:
For such is my wretched case at present, that I do not know earthly where to go or what to do, as I have no subsistence to keep body and soul together.

(2) Sc. usage. In ploughing: the soil of a furrow in respect of the depth to which it is to be ploughed. Sc. 1765  A. Dickson Agric. 201–202:
The fore part of the muzzle is raised above the beam, and the plough is made to go deeper; or, as the plowmen call it, the plough has more eard.
Lth. 1829  G. Robertson Recollections 129:
There were likewise great improvements made about this time [1770–80] in the muzzle of the plough, by which alone, without altering the set of the culter, either land or earth could, in a mere instant, be given to any extent.

2. Phrs.: (1) by a' the earth, = colloq. Eng. “for all the world”, exactly (Bnff.2, Abd.27, Ags.19, m.Lth.1 1945); †(2) to be long on little erd, to linger unnecessarily over a piece of work; (3) to let the earth big (bear) the dyke, (see quots.); known to Sh.10 1950. (1) Mry. 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xiii.:
A wis nae time fan A hookit a fush; an' michty! fat a monster! He ruggit by a' the earth like a mad stirk.
(2) Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 361:
You have been long on little Erd . . . spoken to those, whose Diligence, about their Business, we find fault with.
(3) Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 235:
Let the Earth big the Dike. Let the Expence that attends a Thing be taken out of the Profit that it yields.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 131:
Let the eird bear the dyke.

3. Combs.: †(1) erd(d)rift, “snow or hail driven violently from off the earth, opposed to Yowden-drift which signifies snow or hail blown directly and forcibly from the heavens” (Abd., Mearns 1825 Jam.2); cf. Yowden-drift; (2) eard-fast, adj., fixed in the ground, earthfast (which is now n. dial. in Eng.) (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Abd.27, Ayr. (per wm.Sc.1) 1949, earth-); see also yird-fast s.v. Yird; (3) earth-house, eird(e)-, an underground walled dwelling, dating in Scot. from the early Iron Age, 1st cent. b.c.; now hist.; also eirde, absol., cf. Yird = cave; (4) earth hun, the name given in ne.Sc. to a mysterious animal supposed to burrow in graveyards (prob. actually a mole); for second element see Hund; cf. yird swine s.v. Yird; †(5) eard hunger, desire to possess land, with a play on yird-hunger, an abnormal craving for food; see s.v. Yird; (6) eardmeal, earth of graves; for second element, see Meel; (7) e(a)rd-nit, an earth-nut (Ags.19, Fif.10 1945); see also Arnit, n.1; (8) erd shrew, shrew mouse, Sorex araneus (Sc. 1818 Edb. Mag. (May) 425); (9) earth titling, meadow pipit, Anthus pratensis (e.Lth. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 45); (10) earth-wind, see quot.; (11) earth-worm, fig., a money-grubber (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.13 1940). (2) Sc. 1802  Scott Minstrelsy II. 370:
An earth fast stone, or an insulated stone, inclosed in a bed of earth, is supposed to possess peculiar properties. It is frequently applied to sprains and bruises, and used to dissipate swellings; but its blow is reckoned uncommonly severe.
(3) Abd. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIII. 182:
At the same place, and also in another part of the parish, are what the country people call eird houses. These are below ground, and some of them are said to extend a great way.
Sc. 1883  J. Anderson Scot. in Pagan Times 290:
These Earth-houses, though ranging in area from Berwickshire to the north coast of Sutherland, are all of one special character.
Mearns 1933  “L. G. Gibbon” in Scots Mag. (Feb.) 337:
She knew it as an eirde of olden time, an earth-house built by the early folk.
Sc. 1943  W. D. Simpson Province of Mar 72:
Essentially, the earth-house, as developed in Mar, consists of a long, low, narrow and curved tunnel, dry-built of undressed surface stones, and roofed over with massive lintels.
(4) Abd. 1891  G. W. Anderson Strathbogie 248:
The kirkyard . . . was also said to be tenanted by a hideous ghoul, termed the “erth-hun” who feasted on the dead, and whose teeth could be heard crunching the coffins ere the mould was covered in.
Bnff. 1950  People's Journal (24 June):
These horrid-looking creatures are really rats and are only found in graveyards. We . . . call them “yird pigs” or “earth huns.”
(5) Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel ix.:
If he has such an eard hunger, wouns! man, we'll stuff his stomach with English land, which is worth twice as much . . . as these accursed hills and heughs, and mosses and muirs.
(6) ne.Sc. 1933  N. Brysson Morrison Gowk Storm ii. iii.:
My skirts swished in the long grasses, which wetted their hems as I moved from stone to stone over the eardmeal that covered molesmen and elders, shepherds and farmers, their spouses, relicts and children who had “departed this life.”
(10) Per. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 IX. 273:
This hurricane, by far the most dreadful we ever had occasion to witness, was termed by the people here an earth wind, and supposed to have been accompanied with some degree of earthquake.
(11) Ayr. 1811  W. Aiton Agric. Ayr. 542:
When the ground, on the opposite sides of a road, happens to belong to two of these kinds of earth-worms, I have seen a public road, in the vicinity of a market town, reduced to eight or nine feet, in width, and both proprietors vying with each other, to make still greater encroachments, at an expense in labour, far above the value of the ground which they gained.

II. v.

1. To bury (Sh.10 1950, obsol.). Vbl.n. earding, interment, burial. Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 12:
An when she dies am to pay the earding o' her honestly, and a' the o'ercome is to be my ain.
Sc. 1820  Scott Monastery (Intro. Epistle) 49:
When he died decently, I wad hae earded him; but, or I gat his grave weel howkit, some of the quality . . . buried him after their ain pleasure.
Ayr. 1913  J. Service Memorables i.:
They'll lie there . . . quhyle he and a' his cursed crew and generation are eardid and damned.

2. To cover with earth, to store in the ground, applied esp. to root-crops. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems 191:
To knit up Dollers in a Clout, And then to eard them round about.
Sc. 1808  Jam.:
Thus potatoes put into a pit under ground, that they may not be injured by frost, are said to be erdit.

[Forms in d are reg. in O.Sc. both as n. and v., from 1375, (n.Mid.Eng. erde), phs. influenced by O.E. eard, land, region. The forms with final -th, not commonly appearing until after 1550, are due to Eng. influence.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Erd n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2017 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down