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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ACRE, ACKER, ACKRE, Accre, Awker, Aacre; ‡Yicker, n. [′ɑ(:)kər n.Sc; ′ekər m.Sc.; ′èkər + ′jɪ̢kər + ɛ s.Sc.]

1. An acre, of square measure. Hence awcrage, acreage (ne.Sc. 1915 W. S. Bruce Nor'-East 135).Sc. 1793 G. Robertson Agric. of Midlothian 7:
The English acre contains 4840 square yards of 36 inches each, and the Scotch acre 5760 square yards of 37 inches each; hence the proportion between the Scotch and English acre is very nearly as 5 to 4.
Sc. 1799 J. Robertson Agric. in Perth vi.:
A Scotch acre commonly = 6084 square yards. If the differences of inches were narrowly attended to in making the Scotch chain, a Scotch acre would be equal to 6150.7 square yards.
Mry.(D) 1873 J. Brown (ed.) Round Table Club 250:
Fat think ye o' a man biggin' a hoose in a muir, an' takin' in maybe therty awkers o' lan'.
Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie vi.:
Till there was hardly an accre left upo' haill Daurside.
Abd.(D) 1915 Mrs H. Beaton At the Back o' Benachie 79:
The other farmer “would not be seen in a twal aacre park wi' a crater o' a loon fa hid pitten his legs ower far throu' his breeks.”
Ayr. 1786 Burns The Twa Dogs ll. 201–202:
A country fellow at the pleugh, His acres till'd, he's right eneugh.

2. As a lineal measure: in compounds acre-breeth, acre-braid, acre-length, or alone, acre (a) of breadth, 4 poles or 22 yards; of length, a furlong (see N.E.D.); (b) (see Bnff. ex. below).(a) Rnf. 1788 E. Picken Poems, etc. 104:
Sax acre-braid o' richest pasture grass.
Ayr. 1787 Burns Tam Samson's Elegy ix.:
In vain the burns cam down like waters, An acre-braid!
[O.Sc. c.1425 Wyntown Cron. vii. iv. 162:
And fra it a spere was drawyn . . . Large thre akyre leynth of Land.]
(b) Bnff.2 1931:
A'm gaun t' shaave (sow) aboot an acker-breeth o' tares alang the ditch-side. — This means that, the length of the field being assumed known, a breadth is roughly measured off so that the area in tares will amount to an acre.

3. A piece of ground, extending to a Sc. acre or more, rented by a villager from a neighbouring proprietor. Cf. Acrer, Burgh, n.1, below. Combs. acredale, adv., of land: rented in varying proportions under this system. Also in n.Eng. dial. For the form cf. rundale s.v. Rin, v., 1.(2), Dale, n.1, 1.; acreman, a tenant of an acre.Per. 1795 Stat. Acc. XIX. 497:
All the small farmers, acre-men, and every village-house, formerly paid so many fowls as a part of their rent.
Bwk. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 III. 112:
The rest are possessed by the inhabitants of Eyemouth in small parks and acre-dale.
Bwk. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 II. 233:
Almost every householder along with his house, rents from one to two acres of land. These are locally denominated an acre.
Per. 1886 S. Carment Mem. Rev. J. Carment 137:
The fields, known by the neighbours as "the acres".

[From O.E. æcer, field, tilled land. Cf. O.N. akr. Cogn. Lat. ager.]

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"Acre n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 Apr 2024 <>



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