Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

FLIRD, v., n. Also flyrd. [flɪrd]

I. v. 1. To flutter (Rxb. 1825 Jam.); to flounce, flaunt (Rnf. 1813 E. Picken Poems II. 173); to move restlessly or frivolously from place to place (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 48; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Ppl.adj. flirdin-aboot, gadding, unsettled. Bnff. 1851  R. Sim Leg. Strathisla 62:
For a' her braws, whilk nae doot she maun flird aboot wi' for the sake o' her callin'.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 48:
He's a flirdin'-aboot bodie: he'll nivir come to gueede.
Sc. 1938  Gsw. Herald (29 Jan.):
Are there no thochts in a man's hert That flird as licht as a world on air?

2. To act the flirt (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Deriv. flirdoch, id. (Abd. 1825 Jam.).

II. n. 1. Anything thin and unsubstantial, as a toy, a thin piece of cake, board, etc. (Ayr., Dmf., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Kcb.4 1900), esp. a flimsy, tawdry or worn-out dress (Ayr., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; ‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also fig., vanities, vain finery. Dim. flirdikin (Abd.19 1930). Deriv. †flyr-dome, affectation, ostentation, pretence (Lnk. 1825 Jam.). Rnf. 1788  E. Picken Poems 62:
Thae flirds o' silk, brought owre the seas.
Mry. 1824  J. Cock Hamespun Lays 118:
They pay us for our goods an' wark Wi' flirds ye mith blaw o'er the kirk!
Rxb. 1871  H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. I. 74:
Let manly worth doff the flyrds of folly.
Slk. 1875  Border Treasury (10 April) 419:
He had flirds for the lasses, an' breeks for the men, An' cleadin' for bairns, an' folk three score an' ten.

2. A silly, vain, dressy or fickle person (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 207; Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 48). Dim. forms flirdie; flirdoch, id. (Abd.4 1931), a flirt (Abd. 1825 Jam.), flirdochin (Abd.27 1950). Adj. flirdie, fickle, giddy; skittish, of a horse (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Abd. after 1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 186:
Giglet flirds That eye vain fellows for their airy dress.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 17:
A sma' bit flirdie o' a thing, Wi' cheeks as white's a clout.
Sc. 1928  J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 17:
Sin rimey mornin' dinkt the green The day had been a flirdie quean.

3. A flounce, a petulant impatient movement. Lnk. a.1852  in J. G. Wilson Poets and Poetry Scot. (1877) I. 384:
Though she ne'er learn'd steps. nor to wheel Wi' flirds an' airs newfasont.
Lnk. 1884  J. Nicholson Willie Waugh 66:
Sae oot the door she flew wi' sic a flird, Baith her an' Meg alike had ta'en the dird.

[O.Sc. has flird, to talk idly, flirt, c.1500. Prob. a variant of Eng. flirt and of imit. orig. Conn. with O.E. fleardian, to act wantonly, is unlikely. The inclusion of flyrdome here is doubtful. O.Sc. has flyrdome, mockery, an object of scorn, from c.1470, from Flyre, v.1, n.1]

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

"Flird v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down