Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FEER, v. Also feir, fier, fere, fear, †pheer, †veer. To make the first guiding furrow in ploughing. Gen.Sc., obsol. in wm.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Vbl.n. feerin, the act of making the first furrow; the first furrow made. More rarely, the part of the rig ploughed clockwise round the feerin. Often attrib. Abd. 1735  J. Arbuthnot Buchan Farmers (1811) 87:
The best way is to pheer the braes once about and then set the plough betwixt the two furrows.
  Ib. 84:
There will only be a convenient hollow left for the next pheering.
Sc. 1801  Farmer's Mag. 51:
The ploughman . . . pares a furrow slice from the north side of said ridge: turning left about, in returning east he pares a furrow slice from the south side of the same ridge: which ridge we shall therefore denominate the feiring ridge.
Sc. 1846  J. Baxter Libr. Pract. Agric. I. 257:
Spaces for ploughing, called feerings, of generally thirty yards in width are marked off.
Abd. 1877  W. Alexander Rural Life 37:
From the practice of “feering” always in the crown of the rig and “gathering” to the same point, the tendency was to pile up the ploughed land in a series of long narrow mounds.
Rxb. 1918  Kelso Chron. (12 July) 2:
The farmer immediately commenced “feering” to prepare the ground for turnips.
Knr. 1925  “H. Haliburton” Horace 82:
As plooman-lads wi' steady grup Draw oot their feerin!
Rnf. 1953  Port Gsw. Express (23 Jan.):
The prize for straightest furrows, and the prize for best feerings.

Hence feerin pole, one of the poles set up by ploughmen as guides in drawing their first furrow (Sc. 1834 Quarterly Jnl. Agric. V. 446). Gen.Sc. Also fig. Sc. 1862  J. Wilson Farming II. 206:
The ploughman . . . erects his three or more feiring poles perfectly in line.
Hdg. 1889  J. Lumsden Lays Linton 59:
A red and blue table cover attached with cart nails to a pheerin pole.
Rxb. 1917  Jedburgh Gazette (18 May):
Drag Chain, 4 Feering Poles, 5 Hemels.
Sc. 1930  W. Bell Rip Van Scotland 138:
Ye ploughmen of the lea-rigs! — Let your feering poles be directed to Edinburgh at the next election.
Ork. 1931  J. Leask Peculiar People 92:
An inch-tape and feering pole, the one to test the straightness of his furrow, the other its varying depth and width.
Lth. 1949  Scotsman (12 Nov.):
Rig Marker; Feering Poles; Potato Plough.

[North.Mid.Eng. fere, O.E. frian, to cut a furrow, from furh furrow].

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"Feer v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/feer>

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