Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SER, v.1, n. Also serr (s.Sc.), ser(')e, sair, saer (Sh.), sare, sir-. Sc. forms of Serve, v.1, which also see (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 67, sair). See P.L.D. § 70.1. [ser, sɛr]

I. v. 1. As in Eng., to be of service or advantage to, to prosper one's fortunes, in phr. luck sair —, good fortune attend, good luck to —! Bnff. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 541 note:
Thus, to prevent what is called forespeaking, they say of a person, God save them; of a beast, Luck sair it.
Abd. 1920  A. Robb MS. ix.:
Luck sair him to wide this weary warld I hae widden through.

2. Of clothes: to fit, be large enough for. Sc. 1808  Jam.:
The coat does na sair him, i.e. it is too little.

3. To give alms, esp. food and drink, to (a beggar). Vbl.n. sairin, food so given (wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.). With out: to distribute as charity. Sc. 1825  Jam.:
I canna sair ye the day.
Sc. 1887  Jam.:
To ser out the puir-silver.

4. tr. To satisfy or content: (1) specif. with food or drink. Gen.Sc. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 32:
I'm sure ye are na sairt, There's fouth o' meat, eat on.
Lnk. a.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 93:
I'll neither sell butter, bread, nor milk, it's a' little enough to sair my ain family.
Sc. 1825  Fair Janet in
Child Ballads No. 64 B. ix.:
If ae nurse winna sere her son, It's I'll provide him five.
Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 6:
Losh to see the big serpent devouring As meikle meat's sairt for a year.
Mry. 1888  J. McQueen Beauties 126:
Syne ga'e't a feed o' hackit corn An, hay tae sair't until neist morn.
Sh. 1916  J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Jooly 2):
A bark-kettle o broth canna still saer a glutton.
Dmf. 1937  T. Henderson Lockerbie 16:
Frae the kye that we hae, we dinna get eneuch milk to ser' oursels.
Lnk. 1951  G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 90:
That an' a bit shortbreed had to ser us as muckle thocht o' denties till anither New Year.

(2) more gen. and emphaticallv: to satiate, glut, fill one to repletion, lit. and fig. (n.Sc. 1970). Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 92:
He peching on the cawsey lay O' kicks and cuffs weel sair'd.
Abd. c.1812  Bards Bon-Accord (Walker 1887) 328:
They saired them o' fighting wi' very few blows.
Abd. 1868  G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. xx.:
I s' warran' a day o't 'll sair her.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 343:
I saw them like swinies waumlin' amo' ither, an' that sair't me o' mity cheese.

(3) (i) pa.p., ppl.adj. saired, sairt, having one's appetite satisfied, replete, full up (of food or drink), satiated, sated (Sc. 1808 Jam., sair'd; Sh., n.Sc., Ags., Per., wm. and s.Sc. 1970); fig. given one's deserts. Comb. Ill-sair'd, not having a sufficiency of food at a meal (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1970); phr. to be cheap saired o'd, to get one's deserts, to serve one right (em.Sc. (a) 1970). Edb. 1772  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 93:
But gin a birkie's owr weel sair'd, It [drink] gars him aften stammer.
Fif. 1806  A. Douglas Poems 148:
Whan sair'd o' beef, they get a roast O' dainty rare sweet mutton.
Sc. a.1830  The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter in
Child Ballads No. 110 M.xxxiii.:
I wud sup file I am saerd.
m.Lth. 1857  Misty Morning 106:
He was sair'd, tae my mind, when the doctor gied him sic a guid hearty chirtin'.
Ags. 1892  Bards Ags. Reid (1897) 203:
Then when we're saired an' mither lays The tea things in their place.
Abd. 1901  Banffshire Jnl. (19 March) 3:
He “chawed” till his chafts were sair, and yet gaed to bed half-saired.
Abd. 1927  E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 51:
He's suppert an' slockit, an' sairt for a day.

(ii) vbl.n. sairin, -an, †sairn (Slg. 1862 D. Taylor Poems 11), one's fill (of food, or in gen.) (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Lnk. 1970), “the quantity of turnips, straw or hay, etc., given to cattle at one time” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147), fig. one's “bellyful”, enough to satiate one, enough of something unpleasant as not to wish for more, a thorough beating or trouncing (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1970), one's deserts. Comb. hert-sairan, enough to fill one's heart with joy, mirth, etc., one's heart's content. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 16:
You coud na look your sairing at her face, It was so cheary an' so fu' of grace.
Sh. 1815  Shetland Advert. (6 Jan. 1862):
Dee slokkin o' tae, an dy sairin o' butter an bread.
Sc. 1817  Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
I hae been waur mistrysted than if I were set to gie ye baith your ser'ing o't.
Ags. 1827  Justiciary Reports (1829) 94:
She had a tea-spoon — said “she would let them taste it — that she had had her ser'ing o't before she cam but the house.”
Slg. c.1830  J. Love Antiq. Notes (1910) II. 111:
The Lairds cam' first and got a drap frae the barrel; syne the Commonalty got their sairings.
Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie iv.:
For baith beast an' bodie aye gat their full sairin.
Per. 1864  J. M. Peacock Poems 25:
Though we a' may frown or fret, We ha'ena gat our ser'ns.
Bnff. 1893  Dunbar's Works (S.T.S.) III. 98:
There is a mode of expression at the present day in Banffshire, “He lewch his hert sairan.”

5. intr. To be satisfactory, to gain approval, pass muster. Peb. 1836  J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 27:
Their sermons winna ser' wi' me.

6. To treat, adopt a certain attitude towards (Sh., Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1970). Also in colloq. Eng. Dmf. 1820  Blackwood's Mag. (June) 288:
I think the hale was nonsense, and sae I saired it, for I smashed it into seven pieces.
Abd. 1879  G. MacDonald Sir Gibbie xxii.:
No your enemy, an' sair a bairn like that!

II. n. One's fill, enough, satiety (ne.Sc., Ags., Rxb. 1970). Cf. sairin above, I. 4.(3) (ii). Sc. 1812  Popular Opinions 79:
And here's the kebbuck, tak' your sair.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 15:
Ye wad'a' thocht some had nae ser'.

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"Ser v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Oct 2018 <>



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