Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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OORIE, adj. Also ourie, -(e)y, owrie; and dim. forms oorich(ie), oorickie. [′u:ri]

1. Of persons and things: dismal, gloomy, miserable-looking from cold or illness, cold and cheerless, depressing, dejected (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1905 Uls. Jnl. Archaeol. 125; Sh., ne.Sc., Fif., Arg. 1964); “having a debauched or dissipated look” (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 164); “having the hair on end, like a horse overcome with cold” (Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.); of weather: dull and chilly, raw, black (Fif. c.1850 R. Peattie MS.). Also adv. Ayr. 1785  Burns Winter Night iii.:
I thought me on the ourie cattle, Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle.
Rnf. 1806  R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 312:
The lasses a' leugh, an' the carlin flate, But Maggie was sitting fu' ourie an' blate.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayrshire Legatees 245:
She returned to her husband, who felt already some of the ourie symptoms of a henpecked destiny.
Edb. 1822  R. Wilson Poems 48:
But ance a week its dinner cookit, — Nae wonner that it oury lookit!
Per. 1842  R. Nicoll Poems (1855) 100:
Where ance the cozie fire was bien, The winter rain-drap owrie fa's.
Bnff. 1844  T. Anderson Poems 90:
Whare achin' pain, or owrie sorrow Winna come to vex ye mair.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 327:
He daundered doun closes, baith ourie and dark.
Sc. 1865  J. W. Carlyle Letters (Froude 1883) III. 261:
But no amount of mere cleaning could give that room a clean look, with that oory, dingy paint and paper.
Slg. 1898  J. M. Slimmon Dead Planet 173:
O some stood chitterin' ourie As feart to wet their taes.
Abd. 1932  R. L. Cassie Scots Sangs 31:
Seg an' cats'-tail spread a net Owre an ourie, goorie bit, Fleer't wi' fog aye fickle.
Sh. 1962  :
Oorie o' risin' — loath to get out of bed, esp. from infirmity or illness.

Hence (1) oorich(ie), id. (Mry. c.1930); of a child: wise for its years, solemn and sagacious, Auld-farrant (‡Lnk. 1952, oorickie); (2) oorie-like, having a languid, exhausted appearance (Dmf. 1808 Jam.); (3) ooriness, chilliness, a shivering (Sc. 1825 Jam.). (1) Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 268:
I wis cauld an' ourichie comin' doon the glen.
Ags. 1897  A. Reid Bards of Angus 283:
Tho' cauld Winter be oorichie, cauldrife, an' eerie.
(3) Ayr. 1913  “Kissock” Sc. and Eng. Poems 32:
A' as cauld as streaked deid Wi' ooriness did lye.

2. Of persons: lonely and sad, apprehensive, uneasy, affected by a feeling of the supernatural (Sh. 1964). Hence ooriesam, timorous (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.). Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Tales 4:
Ir ye no oorie sitten yoursell doon here?

3. Of things: eerie, uncanny, filled with foreboding, strange and disquieting (Dmf. 1938 Chambers's Jnl. (Nov.) 840; Sh. 1957 Sh. Folk Bk. III. 70, Sh. 1964). Also adv. Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 21:
When, jist as she had spak' the words, oot on the laich door-stap An oorie fit was heard to fa'.
Sh. 1892  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 88:
Noo, oorie ower da stubbly rig, Da waandrin breezes nün.
Dmf. 1917  J. L. Waugh Cute McCheyne 136:
A queer oorie kind o' a feelin' cam' ower me.
Sc. 1926  H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 26:
Your sallow leafs can never thraw, Wi' a' their oorie shakin'.
Sc. 1951  Scots Mag. (Feb.) 410:
Stravaigin in an oorie glen ayont the Wester Sea.

[Etym. somewhat doubtful but the close similarities in meaning point to deriv. from Ool, n., v. (see note s.v. and Oor, v.). In 2. and 3. there has been influence in meaning and possibly in form from Eerie. Association with Mid.Eng. ouri, wet, c.1325 (see Ure, n.2), is hardly likely.]

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"Oorie adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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