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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

BLIRT, Blurt, v.1, n.1 [blɪ̢rt, blrt Sc.; blʌrt Sh., Uls.]

I. v. “To cry, weep, to burst into tears” (Bnff.2, Abd.2, Abd.9, Ags.2 1935). Given in N.E.D. as north. dial. Omitted by Concise and Un. Eng. Dicts.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 397:
I'll gar you blirt wi' baith your een.
Sc. 1808 Jam.:
To blirt and greet, i.e. to burst out a crying.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales, etc. (1837) VI. 118:
When he saw “the bit bonny English callan', that was comed o' sic grand blude, grow sae desperately wae, an' fa' a blirting and greeting, the deil a bit but his heart was like to come out at his mouth.”

ppl.adjs. (1) blirted, tear-stained; (2) blirtin', blurtin', (a) crying, weeping; (b) squally, with short spatters of snow or rain.(1) Fif. 1825 Jam.2:
She's a' blirted wi' greeting.
(2) (a) Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn.:
Blurtin' thing, a crying child.
(b) Sc. 1824 J. E. Shortreed in Cornhill Mag. (Sept. 1932) 274:
Blirtin', snawy weather it was, I mind.

Hence, (a) blirtin'-fou, -fow, adj., “maudlin in drink, ‘greetin' fou'” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.); (b) blirty-eild, n., “extreme old age in which tears trickle as if one were weeping” (Sc. 1790 Grose MS. Add. (C) (E.D.D.)).

II. n.

1. A burst (of weeping). Given as Sc. in N.E.D.n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.2 1935:
“A blirt of greeting,” a violent burst of tears, accompanied with crying.

2. “A term of contempt for a crying useless person” (Uls.2 1929).Uls. 1943 Sam Hanna Bell Summer Loanen (1996) 200:
'Shut it,' he said. 'You've a brass neck, talking to me, lettin' my sister down an' makin' a cod outa me; ye blirt ye.'
Uls. 1951 Sam Hanna Bell December Bride (1974) 32:
'He's a crabbit ould blirt, too,' grumbled the servingman, referring to Andrew, as he and Pentland turned away.

3. (1) “A gust of wind accompanied with rain” (Bnff.2 1935; Lth. 1825 Jam.2; n.–w.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). N.E.D. gives this as Sc. and naut.Sc.(E) 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xli. 16:
Ye sal dicht them, an' syne the win' lift them; an' the blirt, it sal whirl them awa.

†(2) “An intermittent drizzle” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.2; 1923 Watson W.-B.).

Hence blirtie, blirty, adj., “of weather: changeable and showery” (Bnff.2, Abd.22 1935; nw., w.–s.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Slg. 1818 W. Muir Poems 28:
There issued forth a dreary blast, That hard on its foundations press'd Wi' blirty frown.
Lth., w.Sc. 1825 Jam.2:
A blirtie day, one that has occasionally severe blasts of wind and rain.
Rnf. 1807 R. Tannahill Poems and Songs 19:
O Poortith is a wintry day, Cheerless, blirtie, cauld, an' blae.
nw., w.–s.Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Blirty. Of weather, etc.: Marked by the occurrence of a “blirt” or “blirts.”

[Prob. an onomatopœic word nearly identical with blurt: it seems to combine the initial consonants of blow, blast, blash, etc., with the final consonants of spirt, squirt, expressing the forcible emission of liquid (N.E.D.), then the noise accompanying it. See also Blort.]

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"Blirt v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 May 2024 <>



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