Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SQUARE, n., v., adj. Also squair; squaar (Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 47), squar (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlvi., Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 23), squarr, squaur(e) (Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes (1892) I. xvii., squawre, 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer (1898) I. ii., squaur); sqwaar (Sh. 1968 New Shetlander No. 86. 16), swaer (Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 117), sware (Sh. 1964 Nordern Lichts 54), see Q, letter, 1., and S, letter, 3. [′skweər; ‡skwɑr] Sc. forms and n. and v. usages:

I. n. 1. Specif. the square, farm buildings, a farm steading, esp. when built so as to form the four sides of a square (Ork., Cai., Inv., Mry., Bnff., Peb., Dmf. 1971). Mry. 1968  H. L. Brereton Gordonstoun 70:
He constructed the famous circle, known ever since as the Round Square. . . . The auxiliary buildings of a Scottish estate were generally in the form of a square and customarily called simply “the Square.”

2. Combs. (1) squareman, a workman who regularly uses a square for adjusting or testing his work, esp. a carpenter or mason, now obs. exc. in Freemasonry; a member of an Incorporated Trade in a burgh which comprised these (Dmf. 1825 Jam.); (2) square work, carpentry, joinery, work involving the use of a square; (3) square-wricht, -wright, a carpenter; specif. one who makes furniture (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc. 1882 Francisque-Michel 30). (1) Ayr. 1744  Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (11 July) 325:
David Anderson present Deacon of the squaremen in Ayr.
Dmf. 1760  Indictment of W. Kirkpatrick 16:
John Gillespie, squareman or joiner there.
Dmf. 1845  Stat. Acc.2 IV. 21:
The squaremen including joiners, cabinet-makers, masons, glaziers, coopers, and slaters.
Edb. 1943  Scotsman (2 Jan.) 3:
The annual meeting of the Corporation of Squaremen was held as usual in the Masonic Hall of Lodge Journymen Masons, Blackfriars Street.
(2) Edb. 1749  Caled. Mercury (16 May):
John Gibson's Manufactory of Square-work, Cast-work, Wheel-work and Barrow-work.
(3) Bnff. 1729  Boharm Parish Mag. (Dec. 1894):
William Lyon, squarwright.
Abd. 1743  Epitaph in Fyvie Churchyard:
James Skinner, Square Wright, sometime in Burnside of Philorth.
Inv. 1797  Inv. Session Rec. (Mitchell 1902) 119:
John McPherson, square wright, and Hugh Suttor, slater.
ne.Sc. 1828  P. Buchan Ballads I. 279:
Your brother is a gallant square wright, Ye'll gar him make a lang ladder.

3. A standard size of brick, esp. fire-brick. Sc. 1971  :
Squares: The English equivalent term is Straights and both terms mean a rectangular brick such as 9 x 4½ x 3 in: or 9 x 6 x 2½ in.

[O.Sc. squareman, a carpenter, 1646, squar wright, id., 1659.]

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"Square n., v., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 10 Dec 2018 <>



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