Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CAR, CAUR, KER, Cair, Caar, Carr, Cawr, adj. and n.2 Also forms with initial k and dims. in -ie and -y. [kɑ(:)r, ke(:)r, kɛr Sc., but m.Sc. + k:r]

1. adj.

(1) Left, left-handed (Abd.22, Ags.1, Fif.10, Edb.1, Lnk.3, Ayr. (per Abd.2), Kcb.1 1938). Sc. 1743 Scots Mag. 524:
It has a meikle maun blue pouch hingin' at the carr side o'd, fou o' mullens and chucky-stanes.
Abd.(D) 1785 R. Forbes Ulysses' Answer in Sc. Poems 29:
That night shaws weil that my cair cleuk Can manage his bra' targe.
Kcb. c.1900 J. Stevenson in Vale of Urr Verses II. 3:
He's ta'en the wan' in his kaurie han'.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (16 March) 2/7:
A writer in a city paper says he never heard the word “caurie.” . . . Apparently he has never been in Kelso.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
He's kerry.

†(2) “Aukward [sic]” (Gall. 1825 Jam.2, s.v. ker).

†(3) “Wrong, in a moral sense” (Sc. Ib.). Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 380:
You'll go the Car Gate yet.
Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. ker:
The car gate is certainly the road to the left, i.e. a wrong way, or that leading to destruction.

(4) Combs.: (a) carhander, left-handed person (Fif.10 1938); (b) car-handit, kaur-, caurry-, ker-, -haun't, left-handed, awkward (Sc. 1888 C. Mackay Dict. Lowland Scotch, kaur-handit; Ags.17, Fif.10, Slg.3, Lnl.1, Edb.1, Kcb.1 1938); (c) carry-mit, “the left hand; a clumsy hand” (e., ne. Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); hence carry-mittit, kerry- (Ib.); (d) car-pawed, carrie-, as (b), lit. and fig.; known to Fif.10 1938; (e) car-sham-ye, “an exclamation used, in the game of Shintie, when one of the antagonists strikes the ball with the club in his left hand” (Knr. 1825 Jam.2). (a) Kcb. 1905 A. J. Armstrong in Gallovidian No. 25, 32:
Broke oot his job wi' his guid richt airm, when he wasna a carhander.
(b) Upper Clydes. 1825 Jam.2:
If you meet a car-handit, i.e. a left-handed person, or one who has flat soles, when you are setting out on a journey or excursion, there is no doubt that it will prove abortive.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 190:
She tells me to steek the trance door and sit doon, no' to be caurry-haun't, and no' to be a perfect Rab Ha', but to eat composèdly.
Ayr. 1928 J. Carruthers Man Beset 101:
He's aye glaikin' wi' weemen, but naebody can say he's ker-handit wi' a coo.
(d) Fif. 1895 “G. Setoun” Sunshine and Haar v.:
Pillan's compliments . . . is a' car-pawed.
e.Lth. 1914 (per Hdg.2):
He's a carrie-pawed chiel.

2. n.

(1) “The left hand” (w.Dmf. 1899 J. Shaw Country Schoolmaster 345, cair, ker; Ib. 324, cawry). Not known to our correspondents.

(2) “A person who is left-handed” (Ayr. 1887 Jam.6, caar, carrie; Ayr.4 1928, carrie, caurrie).

[O.Sc. has car, adj., later form of ker, left (hand or side), earliest quot. c.1550 (D.O.S.T.). Gael. cearr, wrong, left (hand) (MacBain); Irish cearr, wrong, crooked, left-handed (Dinneen).]

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"Car adj., n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Oct 2021 <>



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