Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FEARSOME, adj. Also -sum; faersome (Sh.).

1. Frightening, terrifying, awful (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 200). Now adopted into Eng. from Scott's usage (e.g. 1815 Guy M. xxxix., 1816 Antiquary xxxix., O. Mortality xxxii.). Adv. fearsomely, -ie (Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 240). Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 115:
A knott of men advancing at full dreel, An' O the foremost looks a fearsome cheel.
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Aye as Sir Robert girned wi' pain, the jackanape girned too, like a sheep's head between a pair of tangs — an ill-faured fearsome couple they were.
Rxb. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 6:
But sure ye've had a fearsome day, Rode ye, or rather swam ye?
Ayr. a.1878  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage (1892) 187:
A fearsome glowre our doctoring Caird Set out, as she brought ben the Laird.
Ags. 1889  J. M. Barrie W. in Thrums viii.:
He was a fearsomely outspoken man, the doctor.
Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 2:
Whin “Seemun” gets oot wi da faersomist growl, It wis maistly anyoch ta pairt boady an sowl.
Fif. 1897  “S. Tytler” Witch-Wife xiii.:
I thought I witnessed a fearsome sight.

2. Frightened, timid. Also adv. Rare. Wgt. 1877  G. Fraser Lowland Lore 211:
What gars ilk ane sae fearsome start?

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



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