Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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NARR, v. Also nyarr, niarr, nearr. Sc. forms of Eng. gnaw. To snarl (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl., nearr, 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, nyarr; Bnff., Abd. 1963), to growl like an angry cat; fig. of persons: to be discontented or peevish, to fret (Abd. 1825 Jam., Abd. 1963, nyarr); of things: to jar on the senses. Ppl.adj., vbl.n. nyarrin, gnarring, snarling, quarrelling; also in irreg. form nyorned, peevish, obstinate (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (12 May)). Deriv. nyarragh, nagging, spiteful, sharp, bad-tempered. Mainly dial. in Eng. Cf. Nurr. [n(j)ɑr] Abd. 1789  Aberdeen Mag. 505:
Whan ither dogs would raise a wark, And niarr at either in the dark.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 413:
She [cat] nyarr'd when she gat him, as he had been a mouse.
Uls. 1831  G. Brittaine Irishmen 194:
What's come over you, Alice, to be so sharp and nyarragh this morning?
Cai. c.1920 4 :
'At's a nyarrin' moniment o' a bairn.
Abd. 1924  L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 24:
Ye beir the bell at kirk an' ha' Till ilka beauty narrs.
Bnff. 1955  Banffshire Jnl. (14 June):
In the mids' o' the meantime the nyarrin' an' fechtin' amon' the nieces an' ithers o' Kirsten's kin hed come till a terrible heicht.

[Orig. mainly imit. Cf. Mid.Eng. gnar, to snarl, M.L.Ger. gnarren, Mid. Du. gnerren, to grunt O.Sc. nar, id., c.1536.]

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"Narr v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jan 2019 <>



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