Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

GLAUR, n.1, v.1 Also glar, glaar, †glawr, †glair, †glare. [gl:r, †glɑ:r, gle:r]

I. n. Also in n.Eng. dial. Dims. glaary, glairie.

1. Soft, sticky mud; ooze, slime. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1716  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 67:
Then took his Bonnet to the Bent, And daddit aff the Glar.
Gsw. 1764  Gsw. Past & Pres. (1884) III. 129:
Where he was in use to see the channel and clean bed of the burn for the distance above mentioned, there is nothing now but glare, rubbish, and nastiness.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Parish i.:
Poor old Mr Kilfuddy of the Braehill got such a clash of glar on the side of his face, that his eye was almost extinguished.
Sc. 1829  R. Chambers Sc. Songs I. 54:
And syne she has drucken my bonnie grey mairie, That carried me through the dub and the glairie.
Bch. 1832  W. Scott Poems 76:
When lo a dreadfu' show'r o' mud an' glare, Bespatter'd Gibbie's snotter-box right sair.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.:
Doon he plumpit into a peat hole, up to the very shoothers amang water an' rotten glaur!
Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 100:
Some says 'at Time is craalin laek a wirm Troo da tik glaar dey caa Eternity.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxiii.:
Eppie saw nae mair but the oily bubbles rising oot o' the black glossy glaur o' the wall-e'e.
Mearns 1933  “L. G. Gibbon” Cloud Howe i. 32:
But the Spring was coming . . . The glaur and the winter dark near gone.
Gsw. 1937  F. Niven Staff at Simson's iv.:
They're a nuisance these long dresses, gathering a' the glaur and stour.

Comb.: †glaur-hole, †glair-hole, a muddy spot, a mire (Twd. 1825 Jam.). e.Lth. 1840  P. McNeill Tranent (1884) 44:
Pushing and dragging [a coal-slipe] through glaur-holes innumerable.

2. Green seaweed (Per.3 1947, glar). Cf. Gar, n., 1.

3. Used fig. as a term of opprobrium or abuse (Knr.1 1954). Cf. similar use of Eng. scum. Also attrib. Dmf. 1831  T. Carlyle Letters (Bliss 1953) 83:
Jack and I at least laughed . . . at the answer I wrote his base glar of a Letter: he has written again in much politer style.
Dmf. 1835  T. Carlyle Life (Froude 1884) I. 24:
But must booksellers, able editors, and the glar company of suchlike individuals be a new set of middlemen between me and my task?
Abd. 1879  G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie I. xxi.:
Ye deil's glaur! . . . I s' lat ye ken what comes o' brakin' into honest hooses, an' takin' what's no yer ain!

4. (1) The white of an egg (Sc. 1808 Jam., glair s.v. glar); (2) “the substance that gathers in a shot of herring caused by the emission of milt and roe” (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (17 Feb.); Sh., Cai. 1954).

5. A daub, a coating of something moist (Abd. 1936, glaary). Cf. Clary, n., idem. m.Lth. 1954 1 :
Pit a glaur o' honey on yer breed, man.

6. Slippery ice (Bnff.2 1927): slipperiness (Abd. 1880 Jam.). This may phs. be a separate word: cf. obs. Eng. (16th c.) glare = frost, icy condition, in U.S.A. = a sheet (of ice), and Sh. Glerel, id. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 65:
The thow an' syne the frost's made the rod a' ae sheet o' glaur.

II. v. 1. To dirty, soil, esp. to dirty or cover with mud; to make slimy or slippery (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh.10 (rare), Bwk.3 1954). Also fig. = to besmirch. Now in gen.Sc. use as ppl.adj. Also in Nhb. dial. Abd. 1739  in Caled. Mag. (1788) 504:
Just whare their feet the dubs had glaar'd And brew'd them a' like brine.
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 137:
The critics! . . . . . . muddy-handed, try to glaur Some bardie's wark.
Abd. 1946  Scots Mag. (Dec.) 227:
Instead o' liftin' tatties in mornin's glaured and cauld.
m.Lth. 1954 1 :
The bairns came hame a' glaured up.

2. To mess about (in mud). Abd. 1904  Abd. Wkly. Free Press (11 June):
We glaured in mud when the tide was down.

[O.Sc. has glar(e), v., c.1470, n., from c.1500. Of uncertain origin.]

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

"Glaur n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Nov 2018 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND:

Browse Up
Browse Down