Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SAIR, adj., n., adv. Also sare, saer, †sar. Gen.Sc. forms and usages of Eng. sore, now chiefly arch. or dial. in Eng. See P.L.D. § 32. Adv. sairly, -lie (Ayr. 1788 Burns Up in the Morning i.; Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xiv.; Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1874) 280; Dmf. 1883 R. W. Thom Poems 21; Abd. 1920 G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 13); sairlies (Abd. 1956 People's Jnl. (28 April)); n. sairness (Sc. 1825 Jam., 1830 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 393). [se(ə)r]

I. adj. 1. (1) Causing physical pain or distress; grievous, oppressive, of an ailment (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick III. iv.:
I'm no that dune gleg i' the hearin', sin I teuk a sair caul', Beltane was a twa year.
Sc. 1823  Fair Janet in
Child Ballads No. 64 A.xvii.:
There's a sair pain in my head, father, There's a sair pain in my side.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays 46:
Those who nursed him Through his sair and weary ill.
Fif. 1929  A. Taylor Bitter Bread 125:
The Major's gotten a sair hoast.

(2) sim. of a task, an activity or the like. m.Lth. 1786  G. Robertson Har'st Rig (1801) cxxx.:
Then to hae sair wark beside.
m.Lth. 1870  J. Lauder Warblings 86:
My wark is sair, and scant the fair, On whilk frail nature has to shift.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 223:
An' late an' ear' his darg be sair.
s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xiii.:
It's awfu' sair on a body to be torn atwae.
Wgt. 1912  A.O.W.B. Fables frae French 15:
Nae pleasure, but sair wark frae day to day.
Sc. 1924  R. W. Campbell Spud Tamson xiii.:
It's sair on the back . . . the hands, tae.
Abd. 1928  N. Shepherd Quarry Wood ii.:
It's a sair brae this.
Slg. 1929  Scotch Readings (Paterson) 9:
Gin she finds that bein' a mannikin is ower sair on her.

2. Causing mental distress or grief. Sc. 1825  Jam.:
“It's a sair matter”, It is a great pity.
Edb. 1866  J. Smith Poems 72:
Sair's the sicht that blin's my e'e.
w.Lth. 1882  Mod. Sc. Poets (Edwards) IV. 200:
For weel I kent 'twad be, mother, A sair, sair stoon to you.
Per. 1899  C. M. Stuart Sabbath Nights 19:
The sairest rug o' it a' was to set him on his ain beast.
Abd. 1923  Swatches o' Hamespun 64:
It was sair seein 'im dwinin awa afore wir vera een.

3. Involving hardship, difficulty, danger, etc., dire (Sc. 1808 Jam., a sair matter, a trying business, a hard affair). Abd. 1786  J. Skinner Amusements (1809) 25:
A' we can do wi' study sair To climb Parnassus?
Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Letter xi.:
Sair wark he had to get the siller.
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Merry Men ii.:
There was nae wind, and a sair run o' sea.
Fif. 1895  G. Setoun Sunshine and Haar 57:
He has ha'en a sair year o't.
m.Sc. 1922  J. Buchan Huntingtower viii.:
This'll be a sair time for ships at sea.

4. Of misfortune, etc.: grievous, hard to bear, oppressive. Ayr. 1786  Burns Twa Dogs 79–80:
When they meet wi' sair disasters, Like loss o' health, or want o' masters.
Sc. 1822  Scott F. Nigel iii.:
A sair life I had wi' Lawrie Linklater.
Sc. 1823  Lockhart Reg. Dalton I. 241:
What a sair turn for the puir lassie!
Abd. 1909  J. Tennant Jeannie Jaffray i.:
That's a sair calamity on oor toon.
Sc. 1923  R. MacRailt Hoolachan 32:
And she'll be fu' o' mainners — they a' are. And that's a sair fash.

5. Of a battle, strife, struggle: hard, severe, strenuous. Adv. sairlie. Common in phr. it's a sair fecht, used sententiously of life in gen. Gen.Sc. Also ironically in phr. sair's your fecht, you have little to complain of (Fif. 1969). Ayr. 1789  Burns Battle of Sherramuir i.:
I saw the battle, sair and teugh.
Per. c.1800  Lady Nairne Songs (1905) 198:
There cam' a wee boatie owre the sea, Wi' the winds an' waves it strove sairlie.
Sc. 1816  Scott Antiquary xxvi.:
Since the time the Great Earl fell in the sair battle o' the Harlaw.
Edb. 1887  Modern Sc. Poets (Edwards) X. 306:
Sair's the fecht, an' hard the scrapin'.
Lnk. 1926  W. Queen We're A' Coortin 28:
It's the sair faucht I hae, in my ain hoose.

6. Of weather, the elements: inclement, stormy, severe. Also fig. Adv. sairly. Lth. 1813  G. Bruce Poems 60:
O sairer the storm that rag'd in my breast.
Per. 1883  R. Cleland Inchbracken ii.:
It's a sore night for the puir beast.
Sc. 1896  A. Cheviot Proverbs 37:
An air winter maks a sair winter.
Ags. 1927  V. Jacob Northern Lights 20:
The winter winds blaw lang and sairly.

7. Of anything unpleasant, untoward or immoderate in gen.: serious, considerable, sad, thoroughgoing. Often used as a simple intensive. Adv. sairlie, -y, very much, thoroughly. Sc. 1776  D. Herd Sc. Songs II. 152:
But I gat ne'er sae sair a fleg, Since I cam' frae my daddy.
Ayr. 1786  Burns To a Louse i.:
Your impudence protects you sairlie.
Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xliii.:
Not to act altogether on your ain judgment, for therethrough comes sair mistakes.
Ags. 1834  A. Smart Rhymes 119:
His like again I sairly doubt We'll never see.
Lth. 1859  M. Oliphant Adam Graeme xix.:
Charlie Graeme did sair ill to this house.
Fif. 1869  St Andrews Gazette (25 Dec.):
Defender “had betters and waurs; but Saturday was aye a sair night wi' him.”
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Merry Men ii.:
But, man, they were sair wonders that God showed to the Christ-Anna.
Edb. 1900  E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 15:
It was a sair come doon to me.
Abd. 1917  D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 14:
They are in sair earnest.
Lnk. 1923  G. Rae 'Mang Lowland Hills 55:
The lan's in a sair disorder.
Arg. 1931 2 :
Ye mak gran oatcakes for ordnary but thir are ower sorely fired for my taste.

8. Of the head: aching, painful, throbbing. Phr. a sair heid, a headache. See 14. (7) below. Ayr. 1786  Burns 2nd Ep. J. Lapraik iii.:
My head is grown right dizzie, An' something sair.
Per. 1835  R. Nicoll Poems 32:
O! mither, mither, my head was sair.
Wgt. 1877  G. Fraser Sketches 322:
A wus fou yestreen, an' mi head's unco' sair.
Abd. 1884  D. Grant Lays 2:
We thocht — we kent na' fat to think, Oor heids wi' thocht were sair.
Rxb. 1921  Kelso Chronicle (25 Nov.) 2:
Their heid's no sair the day that built in thae stanes.

9. Of the heart, etc., fig.: aching, grief-stricken, sorrowful. See also 14. (8). Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 502:
It wad ha made your heart fu' sair, Gin ye had only seen him.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Halloween viii.:
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart To see't that night.
Slk. 1813  Hogg Poems (1874) 34:
Then bonnie Kilmeny's heart grew sair.
Sc. 1824  Scott St Ronan's W. ii.:
My heart is sare to see't.
Sh. 1886  J. Burgess Sketches 30:
Shu'll be in a sair wy aboot it.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 14:
When my wee bairnie hert was sair aboot something.
Ags. 1920  A. Gray Songs 21:
My hert is sair and like to brak.

10. Of persons, with (up)on, †for: harsh in discipline, treatment or judgment, stern, severely censorious (towards); niggardly, driving hard bargains. Abd. p.1768  A. Ross Works (S.T.S.) 180:
Nae other bairns are here about but he, 'Cept Rory, and he's ay aur sair for me.
Sc. 1808  Jam.:
A sair master, a sair merchant, etc.
Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. xi.:
And some that made the maist by him — they're the sairest on him e'en now.
Abd. 1865  G. MacDonald Alec Forbes vi.:
The faimily's rather sair upo' her.
w.Lth. 1892  R. Steuart Legends 41:
I dinna think outral folk need be sair on the lad.
Kcb. 1893  Crockett Stickit Minister 29:
Some o' the auld yins o' the presbytery micht be ower sair on the young man.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters xxvii.:
Maybe the Lord Jesus Christ'll no' be owre sair on me.
Abd. 1956  G. S. Morris Bothy Ballads I. 17:
Tho' I wis bit a plooman chiel, I thocht he wis some sair.

11. Destructive, harmful, injurious, given to hard wear or usage, with on. Kcb. 1901  R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 165:
The deer an the greyhens an the grouse is sair on them.
Arg. 1931 2 :
She's a throoither lassie an' wild an sair on her claes. Ye nuvver saa onybody that wuz as sair on the butter as her.

12. Sorry, paltry, puny, pitiful. Dmf. 1825  Jam.:
A sair neebour, one of a diminutive appearance.
Ayr. 1891  H. Johnston Kilmallie I. 36:
[He] gave but a sair personal illustration, in his life and character, of the doctrine regarding the perseverance o' the saints.
Abd. 1964  :
He made a sair soss o' the job.

13. Of something pleasant: great, tremendous. Rare. Wgt. 1877  “Saxon” Gall. Gossip 200:
It was a sair relief to mony a faintin heart.

14. Combs. and phrs.: (1) sair banes, in phrs. a sarkfu or skinfu o sair (†-wrought) banes, see Sark, Skin; (2) sair een, in phrs. guid for sair een, a sicht for —, of a welcome or diverting sight (wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.). Gen.Sc. and colloq. Eng.; (3) sair face, a pathetic expression assumed to elicit sympathy (Sh., Abd., Ags., Per. 1969); (4) sair fit, a time of need or difficulty, an emergency, “a rainy day” (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Uls. 1904 E.D.D.); (5) sair han(d), (i) a botch, a mess, a piece of unskilful workmanship (Wgt., Uls. 1904 E.D.D.; Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (5 Dec.); Ayr. 1969); (ii) a large thick slice of bread or roll and butter or jam, sc. as if the hand holding it were bandaged (m.Sc. 1969); (6) sair heel, (i) = (4) (Sc. 1880 Jam.); (ii) “a sore spot”, a matter about which one is sensitive or touchy; (7) sair heid, (i) a headache (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 36). Gen.Sc. Cf. 8.; (ii) gen. in dim. — heidie, a plain sponge cake sold with a paper band wrapped round the lower part of it (ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Fif. 1969); (8) sair hert, a sad or sorrowful state of mind; a cause for grief, a great disappointment. Gen.Sc. Cf. 9. Adj. sair-herted, sad at heart; (9) sair leg, = (4) (Ags., Per. 1969); (10) sair-lump, a boil, imposthume; †(11) sair-six, the six-crop rotation system of farming, “two of grass, two of cereals, one of turnips, and one cereal” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147); (12) sair-teeth, toothache (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; Sh., n. and em.Sc.(a) 1969); (13) sair wame, -wyme, colic, stomach-ache (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 265; n. and em.Sc.(a) 1969); (14) sair wye, adv., in a sore manner, seriously (Sh. 1969); (15) to hae (oneself) sair, to straiten or stint oneself, to be hard pressed. (1) Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 125:
A sark fu' o' right sair-wrought banes.
(2) Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xxix.:
This is a sight for sair een!
Sc. 1845  Edb. Tales (Johnston) I. 175:
Bless me, Mr Herries, is this you? — Ye're a sight for sair e'en.
Abd. 1926  M. Argo Makkin' o' John 26:
The sicht o' you is guid for sair een.
(3) Abd. 1964  :
He has on his sair face the day — he is in a self-pitying mood, very sorry for himself, trying to get sympathy.
(4) Sc. 1720  J. Kelly Proverbs 226:
Keep something for the sore foot. Preserve something for Age, Distress, and Necessity.
Sc. 1729  W. MacIntosh Inclosing 60:
A poor Return, when Rent, Servants Wages and House keeping is taken off. What can be laid up for the Sore-foot?
Hdg. 1790  J. Mylne Poems 39:
But tent this: — Feather now your nest, Hain for a sair foot.
Dmf. 1821  H. Duncan S. Country Weaver 16:
You maun just leave your wee pose where it is, for a sair foot, as the saying is.
Ayr. 1836  Galt in Tait's Mag. (June) 393:
I had mair than seven pounds to the fore for a sair foot.
s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xviii.:
We shall yet keep something for a sair foot.
(5) (i) Uls. 1904  E.D.D.:
He fell in the mud, an' made a sore han' o' himsel'. He tried to paint the boat, and made a sore hand of it.
(ii) Gsw. 1958  C. Hanley Dancing in the Streets 39:
A woman . . . lauched at me and said: “My, that's a terrible sore haun you've got!” I couldn't understand why a play-piece should be called a sore hand, but it always is.
(6) (ii) Slk. 1820  Hogg Bridal of Polmood xii.:
It would be presuming too much and touching the king upon the sore heel.
Ags. 1823  A. Balfour Foundling I. v.:
These gibes, according to our national proverb, pressed hard upon the young laird's sair heel.
(7) (i) Fif. 1704  P.S.A.S. LVI. 54:
She found her complaining of a sore head.
Mry. 1716  E. D. Dunbar Social Life (1865) 67:
He drinks lyke a d — l, and I have had many sore heads with him.
Abd. 1791  Aberdeen Mag. 756:
He retained the use of all his senses to the last, and never had, during his whole life, a sore head or sick heart.
Rnf. 1843  Children in Trades Report (2) I 35:
There are not very many complaints; but whiles a sorehead or sickness just.
Sc. 1896  Stevenson W. of Hermiston vi.:
I'll say ye had a sair heed, if ye like.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road ii.:
The only trouble I have, . . . is a right sore head.
Ags. 1930  A. Kennedy Orra Boughs xxiv.:
They've managed to sublimate his sair-heids.
(ii) Abd. 1932  J. White Moss Road 32:
A cake wrapped in paper and called by Betsy a “sair heidie”.
Ags. 1967  Dundee Courier (29 May):
My paris bun, scotch bun or “sair heid”.
(8) Sc. 1727  P. Walker Remark. Passages 20:
I parted o' er easily with thee, which has been many a sore Heart to me.
Sc. 1820  Scott Monastery xxvi.:
Mony a sair heart have the Piercies given to Scots wife and bairns.
Sc. 1834  M. Scott Tom Cringle's Log vi.:
It will be a sore heart to poor Sarah; she has no mother now, nor father.
Ags. 1860  A. Whamond James Tacket xxxv.:
I ken somebody no far awa' that'll hae a sair heart.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff, 43:
He niver sehns awa ony ane wee a sair hairt.
Dmf. 1898  J. Paton Castlebraes 47:
Her mither is unco sair-herted.
Edb. 1900  E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 14:
Mony a sair heart I got by it.
Rxb. 1921  Kelso Chronicle (18 Feb.) 2:
There's ae sair hairt in that train at ony rate.
Abd. 1928  P. Grey Making of a King 46:
I dinna wint Tibby tae get a sair he'rt.
Gsw. 1950  H. W. Pryde McFlannel Family Affairs 77:
You won't ever — do anything that would give her a sore heart, will you, Matt?
(9) Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 22:
Lay Sunkots up for a sair Leg.
Sc. 1827  R. Chambers Picture Scot. II. 10:
Provision being made in days of prosperity for “sair legs,” old age, or bad times.
(10) Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 146:
For curin' me o' my sair-lump, That lang has been my pest.
(11) Mry. 1965  Stat. Acc.3 187:
During the Second World War, and indeed on many farms at the present time, the rotation known as the “sair-six”, was followed — two cereal crops, a root crop, a cereal and two grasses.
(12) Mry. 1922  Swatches o' Hamespun 19:
Fu wis Jamie's sair teeth the day?
(14) Sh. 1959  New Shetlander No. 51. 9:
Nancy . . . got da broonkaidies gey sair wye eftir a sokkin.
(15) Sc. 1816  Scott O. Mortality xxxviii.:
He had himsell sair borrowing siller to stand the law.

II. n. 1. As in Eng., a sore, lit. and fig. Gen.Sc. Also a wound, a bruise (Sc. 1808 Jam.); sorrow, grief. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. Sc. 1736  Ramsay Proverbs (1776) 18:
Better auld debts than auld sairs.
Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 15:
Back with the halesome girss in haste she hy'd, An' tentyly unto the sair apply'd.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 112:
The brag and glory o' his sairs.
Rnf. 1877  J. Neilson Poems 57:
They're sleepin' Their sairs hale on grandfaither's knee.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 10:
She's aye castin up auld sairs.
Sc. 1931  I. Burnett The Ravens iv.:
Auld sins breed new sairs, they say.

2. A weak part in a piece of metal, a crack. Sh. 1899  Shetland News (11 Mar., 13 May):
Na sorrow a dim o' soda doo's pittin' in. Da sair o' dis ane is as white as can be. . . . I gripped up da faeder an' luiked at da saer o' da iron.

III. adv., with meanings corresp. to those in I. above: 1. sorely, seriously, grievously, so as to cause pain, distress or grief (Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Sore as an adv. is arch. or dial. in Eng. Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 505:
Some grein'd for ae hawf hour's mair fun, 'Cause fresh and nae sair fail'd.
Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 208:
Phoebus, sair cow'd wi' simmer's hight.
Hdg. a.1801  R. Gall Poems (1819) 6:
Wha can see Auld Halyrude wi' tearless e'e? Its polished towers neglected sair.
Sc. 1825  Hind Etin in
Child Ballads No. 41 A. li.:
She was sae sair sunk down wi shame.
Rxb. 1826  A. Scott Poems 98:
He tried to rin, but oh! his legs Forgat their office sair.
Slk. 1829  Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) x.:
My Leddy, I am unco grieved to see you in sic a plight. Ye hae surely been dooms sair left to yoursell.
Sc. 1862  A. Hislop Proverbs 138:
He's sairest dung that's paid wi' his ain wand.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlvii.:
He'll be a sair-miss't man.
s.Sc. 1873  J. A. H. Murray D.S.C.S. 168:
Sayr is used when a degree of pity or regret is expressed, as “the waa was sayr broken doon”.
Bwk. 1880  T. Watts Woodland Echoes 112:
I'm wae tae see ye look sae lean, . . . Hech! man, but ye've fa'en sair o' late.
Sc. 1910  L. M. Watt In Poets'Corner 136:
I'm stricken tae death fu' sair.
Kcb. 1912  A. Anderson Later Poems 5:
An sair, sair, he was hauden doon, Wi' mony a weary wecht.
Rxb. 1927  E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 19:
Matthih's sair altert; hei's no leike the same man.

2. In a distressed or lamentable manner, freq. of weeping. Gen.Sc. wm.Sc. 1865  R. Buchanan Inverburn (1882) 104:
She was greeting sair.
Bnff. 1867  Banffshire Jnl. (8 Jan.) 2:
My wife grat sair an' it whiten'd her hair When forc'd frae the craft we had laboured sae lang.
Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 113:
Shü . . . grat lang an' sair.
Ags. 1891  Barrie Little Minister xxiv.:
I'm no greeting so sair but what I grat sairer when my mither died.
Edb. 1906  Rymour Club Misc. 58:
What is it that hings heich, and cries sair, Has a heid, And nae hair? (A bell).
Dmf. 1920  J. L. Waugh Heroes 131:
The God o' justice an' righteousness will yet set a' things richt, and wipe every sair-begrutten e'e.

3. With great exertion, at the cost of much toil or trouble, hard, laboriously (ne.Sc. 1969). Combs. sair-won, hardly-earned; sair wroucht, hard-worked (Id.). Ayr. 1786  Burns Cotter's Sat. Night iv.:
To deposite her sair-won penny-fee.
Edb. 1795  H. MacNeill Scotland's Scaith xii.:
Will wrought sair; but aye wi' pleasure.
Dmf. 1870  R. Cromek Remains 48:
We've fouchten teuch, an' warstled sair.
Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. xxviii.:
Lang it was ere he died — he strove. and strove sair, and could neither die nor live.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Annals i.:
She had to work sore for their bit and drap.
Abd. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. xv.:
Thae greedy gleds o' professors to pay, that live upo' the verra blude and banes o' sair-vroucht students!
Gsw. 1879  A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 99:
An' mony a sair-fochten battle Wi' pokers an' spurkles we had.
Sc. 1896  A. Cheviot Proverbs 58:
Better hain weel than work sair.
Ags. 1920  A. Gray Songs from Heine 26:
I ettled sair to rise up And meet my love ance mae.
Abd. 1926  L. Coutts Lyrics 6:
My mither badgert lang an sair.
Abd. 1964  :
He vrocht sair aa his days.

4. Painfully, cruelly, harshly, so as to cause suffering (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. s.Sc. 1784  Jock o' the Side in
Child Ballads No. 187 xix.:
Full fifteen stane o Spanish iron They hae laid a' right sair on me.
Ayr. 1784  Burns Twa Herds xvi.:
That fell cur ca'd “common-sense”, That bites sae sair.
m.Lth. 1870  J. Lauder Warblings 26:
But when she had reach'd the Holly, Troth I prick'd her fingers sair.

5. With vehemence or intensity, with all one's strength, feelings, etc. Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 177:
In vain thro' woods you sair may ban Th' envious treachery of man.
Edb. 1812  W. Glass Caled. Parnassus 8:
The rain rains sair, gae let him in.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 244:
The sheep grow mawket on the hill, And sair themsells they claw.
Bwk. c.1860  Minstrelsy (Crockett 1893) 271:
He prayed her sair to forgi'e him there.
Dmf. 1875  P. Ponder Kirkcumdoon 22:
Wytin' ye sair for drivin' sae muckle vitril an' coal an' lime i' weet wether.
ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 19:
Haud him sicker, haud him sair.
n.Sc. 1916  M. MacLean Songs Roving Celt 38:
As sair she lookit ayont the faem.

6. In respect of need: urgently, direly. Comb. sair-not, badly-needed (ne.Sc. 1969). See Note, v., 2. Mry. 1865  W. Tester Poems 106:
I wat she is a sair-not wife.
Rnf. 1876  D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 35:
Speak a word o' comfort to that poor, broken-hearted, bairnless mother, for she needs it sair.

7. As an intensive simply, with verbs: (1) very much, greatly, to a very considerable degree (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Usu. in neg. expressions when the verb qualified implies liking or pleasure. Extended in 1899 quot. to mean very well, attractive, pleasant. Superl. sairest, most of all. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 19:
Tho' the young fouks liked ither sair.
Dmf. 1808  J. Mayne Siller Gun 42:
Tho' whozzling sair and cruppen down.
Abd. 1809  J. Skinner Amusements 103:
A frien' like you delights me sair.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 289:
A bit fat, dumpy cretur, wi' unco short legs, and stickin out geyan sair.
m.Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 288:
To keep oot o' sicht as sair's we could.
Ags. 1859  C. S. Graham Mystifications 31:
Some o' them didna like it sair.
Sc. 1878  D. Vedder Poems 59:
Tho' cauld, wi' his asthma, is sair to be dreaded.
Slk. 1892  W. M. Adamson Betty Blether 49:
Altho' I didna get an invitation, I haena ta'end that sair tae hert.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Raiders xxii.:
Ye need that lass sair aboot the auld Isle o' Rathan.
Abd. 1899  W. D. Geddes J. Geddes 49:
All the defence or explanation he was able to make regarding the victim [of a witch-trial] was — “Saul, ony way, she didna lyeuk sair”. Thence came the saying, “Jist like Wastha's witch, she didna lyeuk sair”.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo i.:
I'm dootin' sair I'm on the brink o' Jordan.
Ags. 1920  A. Gray Songs from Heine 19:
The thing that fashed me sairest.

(2) with adjs. and advs.: very, extremely (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc. 1969). Ayr. 1790  Burns Tam o' Shanter 111:
But Maggie stood right sair astonished.
Sc. 1816  Scott B. Dwarf i.:
Your father wad hae been sair vexed to hae seen the auld peel-house wa's pu'd down.
Ags. 1821  D. Shaw Songs 16:
Poor thing, she was lookin sair down.
Ayr. 1824  A. Crawford Tales Grandmother 182:
He was sair out in his reckoning.
Edb. 1828  D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch xv.:
Up cam a chield, sair forfaughten, an a' out of breath.
Abd. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer II. iii.:
I'm sair pleased wi' your playin.
Fif. 1896  G. Setoun R. Urquhart ii.:
I'm no sair pleased at seein' ye out.
Mry. 1897  J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 123:
I cudna see oot intae the square fae the shop winda for aboot fower month, the snaw was that sair bankit up.
Rxb. 1913  Kelso Chronicle (14 Feb.) 4:
“Young man,” quo' she, “Your offer's fair, An' sair am I behauden.”
Abd. 1922  Weekly Free Press (28 Jan.) 3:
Aw'm nae that sair fittet aboot that.
Rxb. 1954  Hawick News (18 June) 7:
Sair dressed — well dressed.
Fif. 1964  R. Bonnar Stewartie 2. i.:
Jack Dickson did not seem very sore pleased that both Stewartie and Alfie were in the other Union.

8. Special combs. and phrs.: (1) sair aff, badly off, in straitened circumstances, very hard up (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ‡Abd., w. and sm.Sc. 1969); (2) sair awa wi't, far gone, worn out by sickness, hard usage or the like, of persons and things (ne.Sc., em.Sc.(a) 1969); (3) sair by wi't, id. (Abd. 1969); (4) sair-come-hame-like, deflated, taken down a peg, brought low in spirit or fortune (Fif. 1969); (5) sair done, (i) of meat: well done, over-cooked (ne.Sc. 1969); (ii) worn out with age or frailty; (6) sair gaun, adverse, hard, unlucky, full of difficulties and misfortunes; (7) sair made, hard pressed, exhausted, sorely distressed, strained to the utmost (ne.Sc. 1969). See also Mak, 19.; (8) sair set, id. (Abd. 1969); burdened with care, tense. Also in n.Eng. dial.; (9) sair socht, very exhausted, enfeebled with illness, age, etc. (Sc. 1825 Jam.); (10) sair ta'en, = (7); (11) sair through (wi't), = (2). (1) Abd. 1889  Bon-Accord (23 Feb.) 9:
The dolman wis sair awa wi't.
(2) Abd. 1929  J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 4:
Aw doot he's gey sair awa' wi' 't. Aw've thocht 'im leukin' ull this fyle back.
(3) Abd. 1895  G. Williams Scarbraes 48:
I'm sair by wi' 't, wad ye lat's hear a bit wordie o' prayer?
(4) Fif. 1930 3 :
She was a braw lass but she got a bad man and noo she's sair-come-hame-like.
(5) (i) Sc. 1825  Jam.:
Meat much roasted, is said to be sore or sair done.
(ii) e.Lth. 1908  J. Lumsden Th'Loudons 234:
To veesit sair-dune Unele Will.
(6) Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 1:
Sheu wus a sair ga'n year amang the gentry.
(7) Sc. 1881  A. Mackie Scotticisms 60:
He was very sore-made carrying the sack up the hill.
Ags. 1896  A. Blair Rantin Robin 19:
Nae ither body's half sae sair made, whether wi' pain or sic like.
Abd. 1964  Huntly Express (10 Jan.) 2:
I ance thocht I wis gyan tae dee mysel' ower the heids o' a quine gyan aff wi' anither lad. Lord, fat sair made I wis.
(8) Abd. 1923  R. L. Cassie Heid or Hert iv.:
A dwaum o' pain disturbs her sair-set face fae time tae time.
(9) s.Sc. 1898  E. Hamilton Mawkin xx.:
The sheep's awfu' sair-sought as it is, and couldna well travel the length of Brankholm.
(10) Cai. 1872  M. Maclennan Peasant Life 42:
Y're sair ta'en, lad! Whaur is't ye feel bad?
(11) Edb. 1887  R. F. Hardy T. Telfer's Shadow 87:
I'm sair through an' unco wakely, or I'd hae come mysel'.
em.Sc. 1912  W. Cuthbertson Dykeside Folk 6:
He's sair through wi't.

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"Sair adj., n., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/sair>

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