Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FORFAIRN, ppl.adj. Also fore- and erroneous forms forfairn'd (Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 30), forforn (Per. 1816 J. Duff Poems 85).

1. Undone, ruined, gone amiss; destitute, forlorn. Sc. 1724  Ramsay Ever Green I. 217:
We are sae forfairn with Faction.
wm.Sc. 1788  R. Galloway Poems 205:
Syne I can ne'er be sair forfairn, When I ha'e a plaid of haslock woo'.
Bwk. 1801  “Berwickshire Sandie” Poems 55:
Whan Aughteen-hun'er was a bairn, His dad had left us fair forfairn.
Lnk. 1865  J. Hamilton Poems 35:
A widow woman, sair forfairn, Was Mysie's mither — for her bairn.
Ags. 1880  J. E. Watt Poet. Sk. 80:
She looked sae forfairn, and sobbed sic a mane.
Kcb. 1890  A. J. Armstrong Musings 70:
[She] left me sae weary an' sadly forfairn.
Hdg. 1908  J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 113:
'Deed, Nanny, was I! Sair forfochen lass, An' maist forfairn, tae, wi' my ill-luck.

2. Exhausted, worn out, freq. with old age, decrepit. Sc. 1750  Scots Mag. (March) 113:
Ae night as I gade peghing up the hill, Forfairn wi' driving a' day at the still.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 57:
Upo' her face look'd the auld hag forfairn, An' says, ye will hard fortun'd be my bairn.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Brigs of Ayr 109–10:
And tho' wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfairn, I'll be a brig, when ye're a shapeless cairn!
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
I hae puttin the gudeman to his bed, for he was e'en sair forfairn.
Bnff. 1869  W. Knight Auld Yule 61:
Wi' a' the pith the storm had left me, I Made for the place, and crawl'd forfairn in by.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 225:
Forfairn at length, at the close o' the day, They reisted their naigs by the Haw Burn brae.
Kcb. 1912  W. Burnie Poems 108:
He daundered hame richt sair forfairn, Nor gaed back ony mair.
Rxb. 1913  Kelso Chron. (16 May) 3:
An' when I see the blythsome bairns, The auld folk restin gey forefairn.

[O.Sc. forfarn, undone, like to perish, a.1500, pa.p. of O.Sc. forfare, to go amiss, ruin, a.1400, O.E. forfaran, to destroy, perish. For -forn, see note to Fare.]

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"Forfairn ppl. adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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