Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FORBY, prep., adv., adj., n. Also for(e)bye, ferby, firby, furby(e); forbyes, -byse (ne.Sc.). [fɔr′bɑe, -′bai, fər-]

I. prep. 1. Besides, in addition to, as well as. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Hence in phr. forby that, elliptically for “besides the fact that” (Abd. 1930 N. Shepherd Weatherhouse 11; Abd.27 1953). Ork. 1720  in P. Ork. A.S. XI. 40:
Aug. 16th. To Incident in Kirk[wa]ll att my Departure ferby ane Hogshead wine.
Abd. 1755  R. Forbes Jnl. from London 27:
There was three i' the coach forby me.
Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 35:
Did I not send you my guid sprittled hen . . . forby a libby o' groats an' a furlat o' meal.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To his Auld Mare xv.:
Four gallant brutes, as e'er did draw; Forby sax mae, I've sell't awa.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xiii.:
I believe Highlands and Lowlands ken that, sir, forby England and Holland.
Slk. 1820  Hogg Tales (1874) 215:
There was maybe ane forbye myself in the wood, and maybe twa.
Sh. 1836  Gentleman's Mag. II. 591:
Wee hed annidder een furbye dat.
Ags. 1891  Barrie Little Minister x.:
There's queer things in the world forby Ezra.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders x.:
No doubt he had many a sin on his soul, forbye murder.
Dwn. 1911  F. E. Crichton Soundless Tide 10:
There's a change over him, Miss Patty! Others has seen it forbye me.
ne.Sc. 1931  I. Macpherson Shepherd's Cal. 84:
He's an old man, Jock, an' it's no use that way. Forbyes that ye were in the wrong.

2. Except (I. and ne.Sc., Fif., m.Lth., Ayr., Uls. 1953). Sc. 1819  Scott L. Montrose iv.:
Deil an unce of siller plate is about the house at a', forby the lady's auld posset dish.
em.Sc. 1894  (a) “I. Maclaren” Bonnie Brier Bush 216:
There's naebody wears a kilt forbye gemkeepers and tourist bodies.
Fif. 1896  D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 26:
The lass [is] left withoot a copper forby some insurance.
Fif. 1951  :
Ye can get naething oot o Fife forby coal.

3. Followed by a noun clause, or gerund or inf.: let alone, not to mention, far from, much less. Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb vi.:
She said she expeckit there wud be some ootgang o' the butter forbye't ye sud say't it's scrimpt wecht.
Abd. 1875  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 16:
“Geordie Paip, they say, never did nae gweed upon't.” “Haud yer tongue! Forbyse to dee gweed, he cudna deen muckle waur.”
Abd.   27 1953:
He wadna even look the wey o ye, forby speak til ye.

4. Beside; beyond, past, more than. Phr. to be forby anesel, to be beside oneself, out of one's wits (Sh.10, Ags.19, m.Lth.1 1953). Sc. 1836  Wilson's Tales of the Borders II. 378:
I didna dread there was onything forbye common aboot her.
Ayr. 1858  M. Porteous Souter Johnny 11:
[The smith had] . . . his snug abode Forbye his smiddy.
Wgt. 1930 3 :
When he saw Sandy “chunnerin' an' chitterin'” in the corner, Caldons thought he was “clean forbye himsel.”

II. adv. 1. Besides, in addition, as well, what is more. Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Sc. 1724  Ramsay T.T. Misc. I. 25:
Forby, how sweet my Numbers chime.
Abd. c.1776  Herd's MSS. (ed. Hecht 1904) 121:
Sandy has ousen, has gear and has kye, A house and a hadden and siller forby.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Capt. Grose's Peregrinations viii.:
Forbye, he'll shape you aff fu' gleg The cut of Adam's philibeg.
Sc. 1818  Scott O. Mortality xxxviii.:
“Na, but,” said Cuddie. “there was another reason forby.”
Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums xiv.:
Ay, an' forby, it was rale threadbare aneath the table.
Sc. 1892  Stevenson and Henley Deacon Brodie Act i. Tab. i. Sc. ii.:
I'se gie ye my free permission, and lend ye a hand in at the window forbye!
Dmf. 1915  J. L. Waugh Betty Grier 108:
An' mair an' forby, it's no' as if ye'll aye be lyin' here.
Sh. 1922  J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 109:
I sall lay me haands apon da moarn, I hae plenty ta dü firby.
Abd. 1930  D. Campbell Kirsty's Surprise 10:
The Milton fa wrote “Paradise Lost” never drove onything mair than a pen; forbyes, he's deid an' beeried mair than twa hunner year syne.

2. Near, beside, hard by; to one side (Uls.4 1953). Sc. 1787  W. Taylor Poems 40:
A bit forby, he did espy A Swain fu' blythely plowin'.
Sc. 1802  Scott Minstrelsy II. 18:
When he cam to his ladye's bour door He stude a little forebye.
Abd. 1828  P. Buchan Ballads I. 24:
The blacksmith stood a little forebye, Wi' hammer in his hand.

3. Unusually, extraordinarily, exceptionally (Uls.4 1953). Clc. 1825 ,
He was forby kind, he was unusually so.
Gall. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 25:
Cuthbert, as a forbye righteous man.
Uls. 1908  A. McIlroy Burnside iii.:
Moreover, from a' I can hear she's a forby thrifty, sensible wench.

III. adj. Uncommon, extraordinary, strange; unusually good, better than most. In ne.Sc. only in phr. something (-body), naething (-body) forby. wm.Sc. 1825  Jam.:
A forby man, one who is singular, or of a peculiar cast.
Ayr. 1838  J. Morrison M'Ilwham Papers 10:
Ye hae gien a kin o' praise to the Humbug in yer ain paper, — a forbye thing, says he, when he has nae parti'cler interest.
Uls. 1879  W. G. Lyttle Readings 74:
“I tell ye that,” sez Sally, “the man has a forbye luk.”
Uls. 1910  C. C. Russell People & Lang. 42:
“A forbye horse,” “a forbye man.” “a forbye wife,” or “a forbye season,” means a horse, a man, a wife, or a season much beyond the common.
Dmf. 1921  J. L. Waugh Heroes 60:
Ye'll be thinkin' ye've landed among a forby unchancy fouk.

IV. n. An addition, appendix. Rare. Ayr. 1887  J. Service Dr Duguid 103:
They would come better in as a kind of addendum or forbye at the hinder end of my book.

[A comb. of for, prep., and by. For the form forbyes, cf. Bye's. O.Sc. forby, beyond, 1375, in addition, c.1575, as well as, 1530.]

Forby prep., adv., adj., n.

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"Forby prep., adv., adj., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Oct 2018 <>



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