Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LEAR, v. Also leir. [Sc. li:r, em.Sc.(a) le:r]

1. To teach, instruct. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 112:
God's Bairn is eith to lear.
Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 182:
Lears him to read an' featly wyre his claise. . . An' gin he likes, can lear him too to write.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 193:
Nae dominie, or wise mess John, Was better lear'd in Solomon.
Mry. 1806  J. Cock Hamespun Lays 18:
It's wrang to lift worth, wi' a bla', And lear it prots it never saw.
Rxb. 1821  A. Scott Poems 73:
Deep, deep he's lear'd, ilk kittle phrase he kens.
wm.Sc. 1832  Whistle Binkie (1853) 44:
'Twas then we sat on ae laigh bink, To leir ilk ither lear.

2. To learn, acquire knowledge, ascertain. Phr. †not to lear, not to be, or incapable of being, learned. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 13:
As the old Cock crows, the young Cock lears.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 51:
Frae her I lear't poor Nory's chance an' yours.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 154:
Ye're come to town to lear' good breeding.
m.Lth. 1801  H. MacNeill Poet. Wks. II. 143:
'Twas then my native strains ye lear'd.
e.Lth. 1885  J. Lumsden Rural Rhymes 32:
Sin syne, auld comrade, I am here; But this by thee seems not to lear.
Sc. 1927  L. Spence Weirds & Vanities 3:
Ye can speir, ye can speir … But ye never shall leir.

[O.Sc. lere, to teach, to learn, a.1400, becoming obsol. in 17th c., O.E. lren, to teach, the verbal deriv. of lār, lore. See Lair, n.3, v.3 The ambiguity of the spelling lear however makes it difficult to distinguish some instances from those of Lair, n.3, v.3, q.v., with which it has been confused.]

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"Lear v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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