Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
SPUIR, v. Also spüir, spure, spüre, spør, spör, spoor, spor-. [spør]
1. To ask, make inquiry, ask for (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), spør, 1914 Angus Gl., spüir).
2. Specif. to propose marriage (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)), esp. to ask for a girl's hand of her parents (I.Sc. 1971). Hence comb. spuirin bottle, the bottle of whisky brought by a young man coming to offer his hand in marriage (Sh. 1962).
Sh. 1898 J. Nicolson Aithstin' Hedder 12:
He wooed and won, and what is more, meant to “spör” and marry before the end of the season. . . . He set out for Hagmark on his blithesome errand, with his “spörin bottle” in his pocket. Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 189:
The spörin' was the occasion when the bridegroom asked in a formal way the consent of the bride's parents. Sh. 1901 T. P. Ollason Mareel 93:
I'm come ower Ta-hem! — ta spüre fir Ellen, — Dat is, shü's promised ta be mine If only ye be willin'. Sh. 1931 J. Nicolson Incidents 44:
The prospective son-in-law was invariably provided with a “spuirin' bottle” probably for the purpose of mellowing the old man's heart. Sh. 1932 J. M. E. Saxby Trad. Lore 179:
When marriage was contemplated, there was the sporeen (asking for the lass), the contract, and the wedding.
3. With out: to seek out, hunt for something lost by inquiring after it (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.).
4. With up: (1) intr. to hunt about to search here and there, look about one; to find one's way, hence to turn up, to be found after searching (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., spure-up, 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1971); (2) tr. to search out and find, to come upon (something lost), to discover.
(1) Sh. 1888 Edmonston & Saxby Home of a Naturalist 222:
Some spoored up as far north as Wick. Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 37:
Da twa boats micht hae spür'd up at some o' da idder Isles. (2) Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
De sheep was spøred up.
5. By extension of the meaning of seeking information: (1) in vbl.n. pl. spüirens, tidings, information, news of anything sought after (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1914 Angus Gl.); (2) to be the fate of, hence to befall, happen to.
(2) Sh. 1879 Shetland Times (13 Sept.):
What spüred o' him dat night I wad laek ta ken. Sh. 1888 B. R. Anderson Broken Lights 91:
O Güde spüre da heim-folk 'at bide by da sea!
You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.
"Spuir v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Oct 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/spuir>
Try an Advanced Search