Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MAIR, n.2 Also maire. Sc. form and usage of Eng. mayor. Sc. Law: an officer of justice with executive functions, known as mair of fee when this office is held by hereditary right. Comb. sheriff-mair, an official who puts the sheriff's writs into execution, a sheriff-officer. Deriv. mairship, the office of mair. Sc. 1703  Morison Decisions Suppl. IV. 564:
The malversations of their mairs or messengers.
Sc. 1707  Morison Decisions 7404:
How his sheriff-mair was insulted in the execution of his office.
Lnl. 1739  Caled. Mercury (6 Nov.):
The Office of Mair of Fee and Serjeandrie of the Sheriffdom of Linlithgow.
Per. 1746  T. L. K. Oliphant Lairds of Gask (1870) 166:
To 2 Sheriff Mairs for summoning 45 Gentlemen to be at Perth, the 1st of January.
Fif. 1812  W. Tennant Anster Fair ii. xxxii.:
And Sheriffs learn'd, and unlearn'd Sheriff-mairs, And messengers-at-arms, (a fearful class!).
Sc. 1827  C. 1. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. ix.:
The officer whistled as he looked about keenly and suspiciously; and in rushed the Sheriff maires from the hallan.
Sc. 1930  I. F. Grant Soc. & Econom. Devel. Scot. 44:
The word mair . . . was still used for an official on Hebridean estates in the middle of the nineteenth century.

[O.Sc. mare, id., c.1420, mayr of fe, 1429.]

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"Mair n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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