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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

ARSEVERSE, n. A spell written on the side of a house to ward off fire.s.Sc. 1898 G. W. M. in E.D.D.:
Known by old persons some years ago.
Rxb. 1825 Jam.2:
Arsé-Versé. A sort of spell used to prevent the house from fire, or as an antidote to Arson, from which the term is supposed to be derived.

[Most prob. borrowed from north.Eng. dial. The acute accent in Jamieson's spelling seems to show a confusion between the word and arsy-versy, q.v. in N.E.D. and E.D.D., unless it be the result of an assim. to reduplicated compounds like hurly-burly. Arse from Lat. ars-us, pa.p. of ardēre, to burn + verse = word-spell.]

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"Arseverse n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 22 May 2024 <>



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