Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YIRD, n., v. Also yerd (Fif. 1710 R. Sibbald Hist. Fife (1803) 33), yerde (Edb. 1852 D. M. Moir Poems II. 133), †yeard, †yeird (Per. 1830 Perthshire Advertiser (28 Jan.); Ork. 1929 Marw.); ¶yard (see etym. note), jerd, jird (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); †yearth (Sc. 1825 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 86; Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds xxxviii.), yerth (Sc. 1825 Jam.), yirth (Slk. 1810 Spy (15 Sept.) 18). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. earth. See also Erd and Y, letter, 2.(2), P.L.D. § 74.1. [jɪrd; em.Sc. (b), s.Sc. jɪrθ]

I. n. 1. The ground. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc. Sc. c.1720  Abd. Univ. Rev. (Nov. 1918) 48:
Doon stots the stane and thumps upo' the yird.
Cai. 1776  Weekly Mag. (25 Jan.) 146:
To bring the faes o' Britain to the yird.
Bnff. 1782  F. Douglas E. Coast Scot. 300:
You might have travelled through them, from one stone head to another, without touching the yeird.
Ayr. 1785  Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. i.:
When lyart leaves bestrew the yird.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
There was a white thing and a black thing new risen out o' the solid yird!
Peb. 1832  R. Brown Hist. Dramas V. 35:
He frae the lift had fa'en Upon his feet, their loaded soles First to the yearth had drawn.
Lnk. 1865  J. Hamilton Poems 133:
Like cracks in the yird in a het simmer drouth.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 119:
Bore throu the yird like a mowdiewart.
Kcb. 1890  A. J. Armstrong Ingleside Musings 50:
This head will be aneath the yird.
Sc. 1947  D. Young Braird o' Thristles 43:
The dernit deid ligg cozy in this yird.

(1) Earth, soil (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; m.Sc. 1974). Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Poems 142:
[He] each social tie that could discard For glancin' gowd, or dirty yird.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xxxv.:
What for a' this fykerie's about a lump o' yird?
s.Sc. c.1830  Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 106:
If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher or fortune.
Clc. 1848  Sc. Journal Topog. I. 398:
I hadna thrown up twa or three shoolfu's o' yird, when three roond things, like bawbees, appeared.
Bnff. 1889  Banffshire Jnl. (31 Dec.):
O' dirt an' yird they wash't ma face.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 13:
He ca'd the yird oot o' his een, an' clawed his raivelt heid.
ne.Sc. 1957  Mearns Leader (10 May):
Tons o' fleein' yird an' steens in a' airts.

(2) Specif. The grave (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 500, the cauld yird; s.Sc. 1882 Jam.). Dmf. 1810  R. Cromek Remains 15:
A bonnier form ne'er went to the yird, Nor frae it will arise!
Edb. 1869  J. Smith Poems 41:
Low doun yon lanesome eerie yird.
Fif. 1897  S. Tytler Witch-Wife i.:
He's for the yird onyway, and as sune dee of pisen as of starvation.
Abd. 1900  C. Murray Hamewith 25:
It seerly seemed unlikely I would see him in the yird.

(3) Phrs.: (i) yird and stane, earth and stone as symbols in the conveyance of property. See Sasine, 1. Used fig. in quot.; (ii) yird and timmer, earth and wood, i.e. a coffin in the grave. (i) Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize II. viii.:
The labours and ministration of John Knox were testimonies that he had verily received the yird and stane of an heritage on High.
(ii) Bnff. 1932  Abd. Univ. Rev. (July) 210:
Wi' sic a wife Beeriet safe in yird an' timmer.

3. In ploughing: depth of furrow; also the angle at which a plough-sock is set to achieve this (‡Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; I., n.Sc., Fif., Lth., Lnk. 1974). Sc. 1748  Scots Mag. (Dec.) 584:
If you want a deeper fur, or more yerd, as we call it.
Rxb. a.1838  Jam. MSS. XI. 222:
Gie the plough yerd and land, i.e. turn the point of the sock downward to the yerd or ground, and by bending it to the land-side of the furrow, it also takes hold of the land.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xv.:
Min' yer wark there, an' gie that sock a grippie o' yird. Clinkies likes his stibbles weel riven up.
Rxb. 1921  T.S.D.C.:
She's got a gey tear o' yird on 'er — spoken of a dipping ploughshare or a heavy-footed female.
Fif. 1954  :
You say of a plough that there's no enough yird on it, when it's not digging deeply enough. It needs mair yird.

4. The earth, the world (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.; Lth., Bwk., s.Sc. 1974, yirth). Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 208:
Phoebus, sair cow'd wi' simmer's hight, Cours near the Yird wi' blinking light.
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 10:
Him who cleads the yeard Wi' sic braw flow'ry dress.
Ayr. 1789  Burns Elegy on 1788 29:
Nay, even the yirth itsel does cry.
Sc. 1818  Scott Bride of Lamm. xxvii.:
The man whom he honoured most upon the face of the yearth.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Catriona xv.:
Sants and martyrs, the saut of the yearth, of which it wasnae worthy.
Uls. 1898  A. Mcilroy Auld Meetin'-Hoose Green xiii.:
Yin says 'at the yirth gaes roon' the sin.
Slk. 1899  C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 18:
For a' the yirth like a bairns' greet.
Hdg. 1903  J. Lumsden Toorle 122:
Lord-hae-a-care-o's-a'! A three-fauld waddin'! Surely the yird will be ‘replenish'd ' noo.
Ork. 1904  Dennison Sketches 19:
A deevil, gin ever de wur een on yird.
Bwk. 1947  W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 39:
For a' the blessins Yirth displays.

5. A heap of large boulders forming a kind of den or small cave (Gall. 1974). Cf. Erd, n., 3.(3) and Eng. fox's earth. Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 24:
Nae place but Casslemaddies yird, Defied the Auld Huntsman.
Kcb. 1893  Crockett Raiders xxiv.:
Specially granted by a kind Providence to afford yirds and secret caves for our Solway smugglers.
Gall. 1904  Crockett Raiderland 63:
These big boulders, heaped up on one another, often make most evil traps for sheep to fall into. These prison-houses are named “yirds” by the shepherds.
Gall. 1932  A. McCormick Galloway 109:
Fox hunting amongst the “yirds” of these mountain fastnesses.

6. Derivs.: (1) yirden, yirthen, earthen, of the world, of soil; (2) yirdie, -y, earthly, earthen, earthly. In combs. (i) yirdie bee, a miner bee, one of the family Andrenidae, that burrows in the ground. Also in reduced form yirdie (Peb., Lnk. 1974); (ii) yirdi(e) tam, yirdy-, a mound of earth and weeds, a compost heap (ne.Sc. 1974). See Tam, n.; (3) yirdlins, yerd-, adv., earthwards, down to or along the ground. See -Lins, suff.; (4) yirdly, yerd-, yirth-, yearth-, earthly. (1) Gall. c.1800  Bards Gall. (Harper 1889) 45:
Ye powers wha rowe this yirthen ba'.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Entail xxxv.:
I'll no wrang Betty Bodle for ony sic outlay on her auld yirden garment.
Rxb. 1871  H. S. Riddell Poet. Wks. I. 198:
Ane whiles could trow this yirthen globe Began to bash and forret thraw.
Bwk. 1880  T. Watts Woodland Echoes 174:
She'd dunt her little heid Upon the yirthen flair.
(2) Edb. 1928  A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 17, 55:
Peter's a yirdy man wi' senses five, . . . The feck o' me is yirdy, I ken.
(i) Slg. 1829  G. Wyse Poems 19:
No honey dug from yirdie bees.
(ii) Abd. 1905  Banffshire Jnl. (18 April) 7:
Jollie, by the back road creepin' Wi' “yirdie Tam”.
Abd. 1965  Huntly Express (18 June) 2:
The hillock had been formed by weeds from the field being tipped there to form what the farm folk called a “yirdy-tam.”
(3) Abd. 1739  Caled. Mag. (1788) 499:
Sometimes the Ba' a yirdlins ran, Sometimes in air was fleeing.
Sc. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 148:
Yirdlins he daddit him and birr'd him.
(4) Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
It was naething like my master, nor nae yerdly creature that ever was seen.
Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 233:
I fear my business wi' Curwhang, was the headsheaf o' her yirdly dool.
Edb. 1866  J. Inglis Poems 88:
Oor hope, oor yirthly stay.
s.Sc. 1885  W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 218:
The mickle rowaner, that I was sure eneugh was a yeithly [sic] thing.
Ayr. 1896  H. Johnston Dr Congalton x.:
He had tried traps, but the cunning “yearthly deevils” had learned to give them the go-bye.
Sc. 1926  H. M'Diarmid Drunk Man 7:
And in the lift, heich, hauf-averted, The mune looks owre the yirdly roon'.
s.Sc. 1938  Border Mag. (Sept.) 136:
But a' things yirthly come to an end.

7. In combs.: (1) yird-born, earth-born; used subst. in quot. = mortal man. Liter.; (2) yird-bun, earth-bound, fixed firmly in the ground; ¶(3) yird-creeper, one who creeps on the earth, man as opposed to the birds; (4) yird-din, yirdin, -en, “earth-din,&c.. thunder, a rumbling in the atmosphere (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. Erddyn), orig. an earthquake [O.E. eorðdyne, id.]; (5) yird-drift, snow blown from the surface of the ground, drifting snow (Bwk., Slk. 1825 Jam.), also of a sandstorm (Abd. 1974). Hence vbl.n. yird-driftin, id.; (6) yird-eldin, turf and moss used as fuel. See Eldin; (7) yird-fast, -faist, -fest, yar(d)-, yer(d)-, (i) adj., of large stones: firmly embedded in the earth (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; ne.Sc., Rxb. 1974); (ii) n., a stone of this description (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 500, “that the plough cannot move”; Mry., Bnff. 1974); in Sh., one of several heavy stones suspended over hay- or corn-stacks to weigh them down during a gale or, later, chains or straw-ropes thrown over the stacks and anchored to the ground for the same purpose (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., yerfast, yar-, 1908 Jak. (1928), jar(d)fast); (iii) v., to secure (stacks, etc.) to the ground by weighting them with heavy stones (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1974), to fasten down in some manner; also fig. to root to a particular spot. Cf. O.N. jarðfasta, id.; (8) yirde-house, an underground dwelling of a kind found in Scot. in the Early Iron Age, a souterrain. See Erd, n., 3.(3) and Weem, 2.; (9) yird-howkin, tunnelling, burrowing. See Howk, v.; (10) yird-hunger, (i) a strong desire to possess land, acquisitiveness in regard to landed property. See also Erd, n., 3.(5); (ii) an abnormal craving for food sometimes noted in dying persons and “viewed as a presage that the yerd or grave is calling for them” (Sc. 1825 Jam.), voraciousness in gen. (Lnk. Ib.). Hence yird-hungry, voraciously hungry, often in the ominous sense above (Id.); (11) yird-laigh, level with the ground. Liter.; (12) yird-meal, -meel, grave-mould, the dust of the churchyard (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems Gl.). See Muild, n.1, 2.; also fig. applied to brown spots or freckles on the body, taken as a sign of an early death; (13) yird-midden, a compost heap of earth, weeds, etc., a yirdie-tam (see 6.(2)(ii)); (14) yird-mouse, the field-mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus (ne.Sc. 1974); (15) yird pig, a mythical small animal supposed to burrow in graveyards. Cf. (18) below and earth hun s.v. Erd, n., 3.(4); (16) yearthquawk, yirthquake, an earthquake; (17) yird stane, an earth-fast stone. See (7); (18) yird swine, as pl. of (15) above; (19) yird-taid, -tead, the common toad, Bufo bufo, so called as being freq. found under leaves, stones or the like. (1) Sc. 1871  P. H. Waddell Psalms xliv. 3:
Lord, what's the yird-born, ye suld heed him?
(2) s.Sc. 1845  E. Aitchison Poems 86:
The yird bun' sleeping rocks o'erhing.
(3) Wgt. 1877  G. Fraser Sketches 184:
Some craters — puir unfeathered yird-creepers.
(4) e.Lth. 1825  Jam.:
I'se warran ye're rawn for the yirdin.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 213:
Yird-din. Thunder in the bowels of the earth; the notion being that there are two kinds of thunder, one kind in the heavens, and another in the bowels of the earth.
Bnff. 1953  :
He cam in stampin like yird din.
(5) Sc. 1820  Blackwood's Mag. (Feb.) 568:
A penetrating and even suffocating yird-drift.
Sc. 1823  Scots Mag. (March) 289:
The yird-drift formed or unformed, in an instant, large waves, as it were, of fluctuating snow.
Abd. 1961  Huntly Express (10 Feb.):
It was a day of “yird drifting”, and visibility was not of the best.
(6) Sc. 1822  Scots Mag. (Dec.) 659:
A fire of turf, and other preparations of moss, known by the generic name of yird eldin.
(7) (i) Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 10:
Where now thy groans in dowy dens The yerd-fast stanes to thirle.
Sc. 1783  Child Waters in
Child Ballads No. 63. B. xi.:
O about the midst o Clyden water There was a yeard-fast stane.
Sc. 1829  G. Robertson Recollections 25:
Another cause of sterility was a great number of yird-fast stones.
Bnff. 1891  W. Grant Anecdotes 101:
We gaed oot ower tae a yird-faist stane, an' the man took it witness, that he would meet me at such a time an' place, an' gi'e me the munie!
Ags. 1901  W. J. Milne Reminiscences 289:
A big yird-fast steen.
Abd. 1951  Huntly Express (8 June):
The accomplishment of dislodging a yirdfest steen.
(ii) Bwk. 1887  Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club XII. 41:
Most of the hill-stones were “yird-fasts,” but the loose ones were considerably rolled and rounded.
Bnff. 1902  Trans. Bnff. Field Club 15:
Even in the cultivated land, the yird fests were frequent enough.
(iii) Sh. a.1838  Jam. MSS. XI. 221:
To secure a stack of corn, in a gale of wind, by ropes passed over the top of it, and fixed to the earth by heavy stones.
Sh. 1899  J. Spence Folk-Lore 126:
Every time she returned from sea this boat was yerd-fasted in the winter noost.
Sh. 1928  Shetland Times (14 July) 3:
Hitwis aa yardfasted annunder da bedseck.
Sh. 1964  New Shetlander No. 71. 7:
Yardfasted ta da ben-end sofa, glowerin in da face o yon dwined television.
(8) Inv. 1876  Trans. Inv. Scientific Soc. I. 9:
On most of our moors, hill slopes and plains, we may find many of the varieties of their ancient dwellings and graves — in the pit dwelling, the hut circle, the yirde-house or earth-house.
(9) Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 290:
The yird-howkin' mole is a jollier soul Than a bachelor lairdikie livin' alane.
(10) (i) Mry. 1729  Lord Elchies Letters (MacWilliam) 57:
My yerd hunger must be very strong when I proposed to contract new debt to buy land.
Sc. 1765  Letter in Atholl MSS.:
I have no sort of yeard hunger, so shall never be in danger of giving more than the value for any land.
Sc. 1823  Scott Letters (Cent. Ed.) VIII. 49:
I have something of what is called the yeard-hunger.
Sc. 1847  Lord Cockburn Journal (1874) II. 171:
What the Scotch call “a yird hunger” is a very strong passion.
Abd. a.1881  W. Geddes Mem. J. Geddes (1899) 89:
The ruling passion which he himself felt of “yird hunger”.
(11) Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 145:
Fire-flaught and hail, wi' tenfald fury's fires, Shall lay yird-laigh Edina's airy spires.
(12) Abd. 1754  R. Forbes Journal 28:
Ye wou'd hae thought that the yerd-meel had been upo' their face.
Abd. 1847  Gill Binklets 39:
Some remarking that he would be but short lived for he had “yerd meal” upon his legs.
(13) Abd. 1912  Buchan Ass. Mag. (Jan.) 1:
I was thinkin' o' gain' doon to Peterhead the morn for dogs and herrin'-guts to mix into the yird-midden.
(15) Bnff. 1950  People's Journal (24 June):
These horrid-looking creatures are really rats and are only found in graveyards. We in Scotland call them “yird pigs” or “earth huns.”
(16) Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 374:
There'll may be a yirthquake come ere then.
Mry. 1873  J. Brown Round Table Club 68:
Riven as gin a yearthquawk had sunder't them.
(17) Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 13:
An yirdstane fast lat ilka keel be set.
Abd. 1878  J. Davidson Inverurie 94:
Oppressed by a presentiment of death in the expected conflict, and sitting down on a large “yird stane” in Skene, made his “tesment.”
(18) ne.Sc. 1881  W. Gregor Folk-Lore 130:
A mysterious dreaded sort of animal, called “the yird swine,” was believed to live in graveyards, burrowing among the dead bodies and devouring them.
Abd. 1913  J. Allardyce Byegone Days 247:
In Aberdeenshire a considerable number of people believed in the “yird swine” or “earth hound.” George Sim, writing in the Aberdeen Free Press, says “he met with a mole-catcher who described the animal as a half-rat half-mole.”
(19) Ayr. 1821  Galt Annals x.:
When we came to the spot, it was just a yird toad.
Ayr. 1833  Galt Eben Erskine I. iv.:
I put up with him, as we're obliged to thole yerd-teads and kail-worms.
Lnk. 1893  J. Crawford Verses 35:
'Tween dirt, fernietickles, he was black's a yird taed.

II. v. 1. tr. To lay in the earth, specif. (1) to bury a dead body, inter (Ayr. 1790 J. Fisher Poems 154, yard; Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), jerd, jird; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Sh., Abd. 1974). Vbl.n. yerdin, burial. Per. 1774  Gentleman and Lady's Weekly Mag. (8 June) 235:
Under that hearth ye'll find my bains — them tak', An' see safe yirded into haly ground.
s.Sc. 1793  T. Scott Poems 366:
The hempie son, to get his horns shot out, Wad wiss his father yerdet hard an' fast.
Gall. 1824  MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 265:
Pack'd up in coffins ane, twa, three, A most infernal farkage, To yird some day.
Abd. 1882  G. MacDonald Castle Warlock lii.:
The nicht afore the yerdin'.
Ags. 1893  Brechin Advertiser (16 May) 3:
They were a' yirdit five feet eneath the heathery sod.
Sh. 1949  J. Gray Lowrie 105:
He taald me ta yird her [a dead cow] at wance, becaas hit wis smittin.
Abd. 1963  J. C. Milne Poems 24:
To be yirdit doon amang granite kirkyaird stanes.

(2) To bury (objects) in the earth for concealment or safe-keeping (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928)); also to overgrow, as with moss. Abd. 1748  R. Forbes Ajax 12:
He howk'd the gou'd which he himsel' Had yerded in his tent.
Sc. 1808  Jam. s.v. Erd:
Potatoes put into a pit under ground, that they may not be injured by frost, are said to be erdit, or yirdit.
s.Sc. c.1830  Hist. Bwk. Nat. Club (1916) 93:
It was a custom with every person in the South of Scotland, when they yirded money, to commit it to the protection of a Dobie, or a Brownie, or any tutelar saint of the family.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (26 March):
Yirdid hit i' da graeff o' ane o' Robbie Scollay's paet-banks.
Sc. 1925  H. M'Diarmid Sangschaw 23:
Had the fug o' fame An' history's hazelraw No' yirdit thaim.

(3) To set (a plant) in the ground (Sc. 1882 Jam.). e.Lth. a.1801  R. Gall Poems (1819) 123:
I yirded a plant in the days o' my youth.

(4) To press or cause to sink into the ground (I.Sc. 1974), ppl.adj. yirdit, bogged down (Sh., Abd. 1974); to grind into the earth with one's heels, in phr. yird-the-cogie, a rhythmic chant accompanied by quick stamping on the ground used by children to warm their feet on a cold day (Abd. 1974), also as v. Variants of the expression are Dird or Gird the cogie, q.v. and Cog. Abd. c.1803  D. Anderson Sawney and John Bull 30:
But leel his guts and ribs did dird, An' in the groun' his nose did yird.
Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 213:
Yird the pleuch.
Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
De coo was jerdet in a jarf.
Abd. 1952  Press & Journal (15 Dec.):
Our boots, with studs, iron heels, and toe pieces, came down with a “yird” and a ring on the frost-bound playground.
Abd. 1956  Bon-Accord (22 Nov.):
The young fowk fox-trottit or gabby-glidet or yird-the-coggied a' ower the fleer.

(5) To soil, cake or bespatter with earth, dirt or other filth, esp. in ppl.adj. yirdit (ne.Sc. 1974). Abd. 1961  P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 46:
Is there plinty o' watter het noo quine? He'll be yirdit wi' scales an' saut.

2. To bring violently to the ground, dash down (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 213); to strike or collide with force, to thump (Abd. 1974). Hence yirder, a knockout blow (Mry. 1974). Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 13:
Hireling swords, and cauld-blooded words, Has yirded the pride o' the thistle.
Abd. 1928  N. Shepherd Quarry Wood xv.:
Bringing her arm down with a thump on the back of the chair, “Yauch!” she cried, “I've yirded ma airm.”

3. To go or drive to earth, of a hunted animal. Slk. 1818  Hogg Wool-Gatherer (1874) 70:
What's come o' my hare now? Is she santit? or yirdit? or flown awa'?
Ayr. 1823  Galt R. Gilhaize I. xiv.:
Ha, ha! tod lowrie! hae I yirded you at last?
Sc. 1845  J. Grant Romance of War xvi.:
Hunted in a hole like a yirded tod lowrie.

[O.Sc. ȝerd, earth, a.1400, yeird, to bury, 1533, ȝerdfast, 1552. The form yard is due partly to confusion with Yard, n., and in Sh. to O.N. jarðar-. For yardfast cf. Norw. dial. jardfest, O.E. eorðfæst, id.]

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