Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SER, v.2 To preserve. Arch. in quot. Obs. in Eng.
wm.Sc. 1937 W. Hutcheson Chota Chants 2:
He sairt sweet airs o' Caledon.
Now surviving in exclam. phr. ser's, sair's, serse, sirs(s), sirce, -se, surce, -se, short for God, etc. (pre)serve us, used in expressions of surprise, pain, weariness, grief, annoyance (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Cai. 1904 E.D.D.; n.Sc., em.Sc.(a), wm. and sm.Sc. 1970). Also in variant forms (o) sirs (me), ah, sirse, eh sirs, (o) sirs a day (Sc. 1825 Jam.), — the day, my surse, sairs a', sircy (Gall. 1900 R. J. Muir Mystery Muncraig xix.). In 1847 quot. used as a n., the exclamation sirs, a sigh.
Sc. 1704 J. Clark Picture of Present Generation 11:
O Sirs hath not this with a Witness frequently been our Guilt and gate. Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 19:
Poor kindly Beast. Ah Sirs! how sic should be Mair tender-hearted mony a time than we! Sc. 1753 R. Shirra Remains (1850) 191:
O Sirs! all the men on earth, and all the Angels in heaven, cannot supply your many and numerous wants. Ayr. 1789 Burns Elegy on 1788 4:
A Towmont, sirs, is gane to wreck! Rnf. a.1810 R. Tannahill Poems (1900) 113:
Serse! how your tail an wings are dreepin! Ye've surely been in piteous keepin. Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xvi.:
As nothing was to be got from this distracted chorus, excepting “Lord guide us!” and “Eh sirs!” Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 176:
The Lord be praised for a' his mercies, Nae mair we're grainin' whows or sirses. Sc. 1867 N. Macleod Starling v.:
Oh! it's a pity! Sirs a day! Waes me! Sc. 1886 Stevenson Kidnapped xxix.:
O sirs me! that's no kind of language! Edb. 1892 J. W. McLaren Scots Poems 13:
Hech surse the day! when dowgs protection Are forced to claim frae foul dissection. Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders vii.:
But the seven bauld brithers, sirce me, but they'll be wild men when they come hame. Ayr. 1896 H. Johnston Dr Congalton vi.:
My surce, he'll leeve a heap less than a hunner years gin he be na taught to keep a ceeviller tongue in his haed. Arg. 1912 N. Munro Ayr. Idylls 82:
“About that period,” says I; “ah, sirse! I must allow it was a long one.” Abd. 1941 Bon-Accord (27 Nov.) 6:
I min' aboot Luther, eh ay, fine, he had thirteen bairns. Sair's a', thirteen's eneuch.
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"Ser v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jan 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/ser_v2>
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