Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SPARE, n.1 Also spair, spear. An opening or slit in any garment (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., spair; Cai. 1904 E.D.D., spair; Sh. 1914 Angus Gl., spair). Obs. in Eng. Specif.: ‡(1) the opening or slit in a woman's skirt, gown or petticoat, the placket (Ork. 1929 Marw.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; I., m. and s.Sc. 1971). [′spe(ə)r] Gall. 1706  Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 182:
The said Michael M'Cleland sometymes put his hand in at the spare of her coat.
Sc. 1771  The Bonny Hind in
Child Ballads No. 50 x.:
She's putten her hand down by her spare, And out she's taen a knife.
Mry. 1813  W. Leslie Agric. Mry. 446:
Spear — A slit formed in a gown for the pockets; in a petty-coat for the adjustment of its tyers.
Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 18:
Her drugget coat, aye wi' the spare o't ajar.

(2) The opening in the front of trousers (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Cai., Rs., Mry., Bnff., em.Sc. (a), wm.Sc., Dmf. 1971). Cf. Spaiver. Rnf. 1753  Session Papers, Corse v. Cumming (12 June) 11:
He also saw the said Pursuer's Breeches torn from one of the Pocket Lids to the Spair.
Ayr. 1790  A. Tait Poems 233:
Get but your hips owre your breeks' spare, 'Till gar you spout ten fa' and mair.
Dmf. 1817  W. Caesar Poems 125:
When first your spare [of trousers] began to fail.
Lnl. 1880  T. Orrock Fortha's Lyrics 34:
They turned his breeks, as folk did see, The spare jist whaur the seat should be.

Combs. back-spare, a cleft or opening in the back of trousers (Sc. 1825 Jam.), front-spare, a cleft or opening in the front of trousers. Abd. 1898 ,
E.D.D.:
Back-spares and front-spares are not now used in making trousers.

[O.Sc. spair, of a petticoat, 1568, Mid.Eng. spaier, slit in clothing, of uncertain orig., poss. connected with O.N. spjrr, spjarrir, rag(s), tatter(s), Norw. spjœr, a rent, tear, in clothing.]

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"Spare n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 Jun 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/spare_n1>

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