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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FAR, adv.1, adj.

I. Sc. forms: faur (em., wm.Sc., Bnff., Ags., Fif., Gsw., Ayr., Dmf.), faar (Sh.), faer, fer(r) (s.Sc.), ferr Ork., Rxb. 2000s). Compar.: far(r)er, faurer (n., m.Sc.); ferrer (s.Sc.); faurder. Superl.: far(r)est (n., m.Sc.); farmost (Sh., Cai., Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Bwk., Kcb., Uls. 1951). Also (corr. to Eng. farther, -est), fa(a)rder, fardest (Sh., n.Sc., Arg., Uls. 1951), ferther (s.Sc.). Cf. Forder. Derivs.: farness, amount of distance (Sc. 1900 E.D.D.; Abd.27, Ags.19, m.Lth.1, Bwk.2, Uls.4 1951). Obs. in Eng.; fartherward, further (Rnf. 1873 D. Gilmour Pen' Folk 52).Sc. 1701 Acts Parl. Scot. X. 273:
His Majestie farder statutes and ordains. . . .
Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 261:
Nearest the Kirk, farrest from God.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 31:
Ither fock Maun rest themselves content wi' ane Nor farer trock.
Rxb. 1825 R. Wilson Hist. Hawick 22:
But I've seldom seen twae decent fouk differ fer.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Readings 12:
Their hearts are twa inches farder doon than Irishmen's.
Slg. 1885 W. Towers Poems 15:
He sought the barn's farmost end.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 14:
Hit plays wi da die o da peerie waves, Till dey swittle an lap i da fardest caves.
Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 25:
[The Ocean] sings o' hames in mony tunes, Farrer than her farrest boun's.
s.Sc. 1933 Border Mag. (Sept.) 133:
It's rinnin' faer ower hard fur the flee.
Gsw. 1973 Molly Weir A Toe on the Ladder (1975) 59:
It's juist the same as putting, only you hit the ba' faurder.
m.Sc. 1979 William J. Tait in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 37:
A soond
As faur frae music as the wirds frae verse,
An yet a catalyst that cheinged
The doggerel inta poetry.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 25:
Hoi, Ah niver heard sich bliddy nonsense.
You're a daft pair o' articles, ah don't know!
Ah let ye fight, tae see hoo faur ye'd go.
Hoi! Stoap Valère.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 18:
While yer at it, junior, ah taen this photie oot fae unner yer mattress. Yer girlfriend, ah suppose? Faur too good-looking fur you, son.
m.Sc. 1991 William Montgomerie in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 18:
The spring rain rots ma hert
an I am cauld cauld
An autumn bud is faur ower late.
m.Sc. 1998 Lillias Forbes Turning a Fresh Eye 16:
The ba'-faced gowk they cried him
Geordie Pate o the Loan:
Dwelt aye at the back-en o his hoose
Nivver faur frae his neeps.
Gsw. 2000 Herald 16 Sep 18:
This is the sort o attitude we'll hae tae tine if we're gonnae tak oorsels seriously, faur less tak the weys we speak seriously an hae ithers afford us the same privilege.
Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 11:
My lug is aye til a soun
that's farrer back nor memory
but still hauds aa my being
i the space atween the words
I scrieve fornenst the silence.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 60:
I didna pye a bloody sky-high fare
Wi some fower-fittit carnivore tae share
Ma journey frae Steenhaven tae Dundee -
An I will takk this farrer, wyte an see.

II. Sc. usages in phrs. and combs.: 1. far-aff, distant in relationship (Sh., Bnff., Abd., Ags., m.Lth. 1952); 2. far a [on] length, far (ne.Sc. 1950): see Length; 3. faur an' between, = Eng. 'few and far between.'; 4. far and about, from far and near (Abd.27, Ags.17, Uls.4 1945); 5. far-awa, faur awa, remote, distant in space, time or relationship. Gen.Sc. Also absol. Hence farawa skreed, a letter from abroad, foreign news (Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Abd., Ags., Fif., Uls. 1950); 6. far awa wi't, feeble, frail, seriously ill (Sh., Ork., Bnff., Abd., Ags. 1950); mentally feeble (Bwk.3 1951); 7. far back, adj., (a) backward as regards progress, education, etc., ignorant, uncouth (Rs., Abd., Ags. 1950); (b) in bad health (Cai. 1950); (c) in debt (Ags., Per., Fif., Slg., m.Lth., Rxb. 1950); adv., long ago. Gen.Sc.; 8. far ben, (a) intimate, friendly, in great favour (with). Also adv. Gen.Sc. See Ben, adv., phr. (6); (b) of the eyes, look: dreamy, abstracted, distant (m.Lth., Bwk., Uls. 1951). Hence far-ben-fetched, far-fetched (Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 200); †9. far-casting, scheming, shrewd. Obs. in Eng. since 15th cent.; 10. far cry, see Cry, n. 3.; 11. far-drachtit = 9. See Draucht, v. 4.; †12. far-fishing, see quot.; 13. far frae the heart, slight, trifling; 14. far-frem't, far off, distant (Uls. 1951); 15. far-hand, see Hand; †16. far-hie-an-atour, at a considerable distance (Abd. 1825 Jam.); 17. far in, = 8. (a). Gen.Sc. See also In, prep., adv.; ¶18. farkeeker, a telescope; 19. far-kent, -kend, known far and wide, famous (Sh., Ork., Cai., Abd., Ags., Per., m.Lth., Rxb., Uls. 1951); ‡20. far-leukit, far-seeing (Abd.27 1950); 21. far north, astute, “wide-awake” (Abd.27, wm.Sc.1, Rxb.4 1951); 22. far oot, (a) on bad terms, the opposite of 17. (Mry., Abd., Ags., Fif. 1950); (b) remote, distant in relationship, = 5. Gen.Sc.; (c) of time: infrequent, rare (Ayr. 1950); 23. far oot aboot, out-of-the-way, remote (Ork., Abd., Ags. 1950); 24. far seen, far-seeing, far-sighted (Ags.19, Uls.4 1950), sometimes applied to those with second sight; deeply-skilled; †25. far-socht, scheming; 26. far-thochted, far-sighted, perceptive, shrewd (I.Sc., Cai. 1975); 27. far-throw, (a) nearly finished; worn out, of clothes, etc., (b) very ill, at death's door. Gen.Sc.; †28. far yaud, yaw, a call to a dog to drive away sheep at a distance (Slk. 1825 Jam., far yaw); 29. like the far (awa) end o a (French) fiddle, see Fiddle, 3.; 30. nae far(r)er gane, no earlier (than), as recently (as). See Gae, v.; 31. to see (someone) far enough (first), to wish that someone were out of the way, had not appeared or interfered in some way, used as an emphatic expression of exasperation, repugnance or defiance. Gen.Sc.1. Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 36:
But just he was a far-aff frien' Of the bonny lad Prince Charlie.
Knr. 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 14:
We saw them like a far-aff frien', — They were anither Ochils!
2. Abd. 1898 J. R. Imray Sandy Todd 7:
I've five shullins laid by already, bit that winna gang far a length.
3. Lnk. 1890 H. Muir Rutherglen 63:
Wha is't believes that, Their num'er, I'm dootfu', is faur an' between.
4. Kcd. 1933 “L. G. Gibbon” Cloud Howe (1937) 84:
Folk came to Segget Show far and about, from Fordoun and Laurencekirk, Skite and Arbuthnott.
5. Sc. 1735 Ramsay Proverbs:
Far away Fowls have fair Feathers.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xii.:
I am no misdoubting that you wuss us weel — your wife's our far-awa-cousin.
Kcb. 1890 A. J. Armstrong Ingleside 107:
Spier . . . Gane they min' o' the far-awa' days.
Fif. 1898 “S. Tytler” Mrs Carmichael's Goddesses x.:
My friend and far-awa' cousin, Miss Mysie Dalgleish.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 19:
Fin Nell gaed oot tae feed the chukkens, he'd wauk aside her, wi braw tales o farawa airts an fremmit fowk. Syne, Nell's een wad grow roon as ashets.
Dundee 2000 Ellie McDonald Pathfinder 11:
Sangs fae the faur awa
are nocht tae you that 'ud
raither haud cannles
up til a hantit gless.
6. Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 126:
Fan ye're far awa' wi't like that, . . . there's naething that'll tak' ye back sae natrally's a drappie speerits.
Abd. 1932 D. Campbell Bamboozled 65:
Yer auntie here could crack ye mony a bar gin only her mimry wisna sae far awa' wi't.
7. (c) Edb. 1881 J. Smith Habbie and Madge 92:
She was thrang speakin' to this Pepper aboot her being sae far back — some four pound ten, I think.
8. (a) Sc. 1725 Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
Yet I am tall, and as well built as thee, Nor mair unlikely to a lass's eye, … And should, as ane may think, come farer ben.
Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess II. ii.:
She is a sly and cunning quean I ken, And wi' the Knight is rather o'er far ben.
Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet xii.:
You have been ower far ben with us for that.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xli.:
They war raither farrer ben wi' the laird nor some fowk't we ken wus awaar o'.
Sc. 1896 Margaret Oliphant, ed. Margaret K. Gray Selected Short Stories of the Supernatural (1985) 221:
"Ah!" she said, with a little tone of keenness and of surprise: and she half rose up, throwing down her work hastily, as if she meant to come to me: then, perhaps seeing the bewildered look on my face, she paused and hesitated - "Ay, honey!" she said, "have you got so far ben as that?"
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 31:
Whaur yer leal hairt stands unswervin', As ye wrax in love far ben.
(b) Rxb. 1918 Kelso Chron. (8 Nov.) 3:
The Auld Dune Man of the country . . . his thin scanty streaks of hair and beard, his far-ben lack-lustre eyes.
Sc. 1930 T. R. Barnett Autumns in Skye 13:
Plough his way through the crowd with a far-ben look on his face.
9. Ayr. 1835 Galt in Tait's Mag. (Dec.) 779:
The crows are wily and far-casting, but wha ever heard of them, or any of God's creatures, making marriage-settlements?
11. Cai. 1986:
Far-drachted, having a shrewd eye to one's own future interest.
12. Sh. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XV. 15:
The ling-fishing is called the haaf or far-fishing.
13. Fif. 1912 D. Rorie Mining Folk 403:
Any injury, however slight, near the heart, is looked upon as dangerous. “Far frae the heart” is used to mean not dangerous, not of much importance, trifling. “O that's far frae the heart!” not worth bothering about.
14. Abd. 1916 Abd. Book-Lover IV. 127:
Were ony like the lads we ken For far-frem't lands the road that heild?
17. Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf iv.:
He's ower far in wi' the Auld Ane to have a shadow.
18. Sc. 1828 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 86:
A . . . callant wi' bauld, bricht een, like far-keekers spyin into futurity. [Also 1834 Ib. IV. 72.]
19. Ayr. 1786 Burns To the Deil iii.:
Far-kend an' noted is thy name.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays 13:
But wae's my hairt for aul' Meg Mill, Far kent as “Birlin' Meg.”
20. Bnff. 1787 W. Taylor Poems 65:
Bell, quo' they, is nae far-leukit, She'd need an owk to think thereon.
21. Sc. 1861 C. Rogers Sc. Character 105:
“Ah!” said the Professor, “we're too far north for them [Jews] here.” The phrase “far north” is a Scottish mode of indicating the being wide awake, or alive to the detection of error.
22. (a) Abd. 1924 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 442:
To be “far ben” with a friend signified the best of friendship, just as “far oot wi 'im” implied the opposite.
(b) Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr Duguid 84:
Mr Chaps, a faur out freen of John Paiks' father.
Kcb. 1895 S. R. Crockett Bog-Myrtle 232:
He was not a drop's blood to me, though him and my wife were far-out friends.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle iii.:
He'll wear tartan when he has the notion, I'm supposing, though, after all, he was no Gael, or a very far-out one.
w.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 111:
At the wedding he met a far-out cousin of whom he had little previous knowledge.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 48:
In hyne-aff Embro, or far-oot Lunnen, twis fair the dab tae tell the warld an its mither ye were gay - faith! ye micht roar it frae the reeftaps in yon cosmopolitan hotch-potch o fowk...
(c) Kcb.6 1916:
We only get dyuke's eggs by a far-oot time.
23. Bch. 1929 Abd. Univ. Review (March) 130:
Bit this destric's gey far oot aboot an' lang seen news traivelt naeder fast nor far.
24. Ayr. 1786 Burns To J. Smith viii.:
There's ither poets, much your betters Far seen in Greek, deep men o' letters.
Sc. 1846 J. Grant Romance of War xli.:
Sir, I am farer seen than maist folk, and so was my faither before me.
25. Per. c.1890 D. M. Forrester Logiealmond (1944) 5:
Men and women who were “true, leal, and aefauld”, had no “brew” of people described as “loopy, lang-drachtit, and far-socht”!
26. Cai. 1902 J. Horne Canny Countryside 122:
Weel, 'at's far-thochted o' ye, Liz: but fat'll 'e fowks say?
27. (a) Ags. 1834 Dundee Advertiser (14 Feb.):
The turnips are now far through, and what remain in the fields are in many instances considerably run to flower-stem.
wm.Sc. c.1850 in R. Ford Vagabond Songs (1904) 66:
Noo, auld Tam's hat's nae ord'nar hat, Though unco bare and gey far through.
Abd. 1922 Swatches o' Hamespun 56:
The hairst wis ower, the tatties up, an' Jocktober geyan far throwe.
(b) Ags. 1860 A. Whamond James Tacket xiii.:
A' safe; an' Mary, though she was far throo, puir thing, has been recovered.
Per. a.1890 D. M. Forrester Logiealmond (1944) 198:
I'm far throw this time, sir, and I'm feared I'm no' to get owr't.
m.Sc. 1917 “O. Douglas” Setons iv.:
“Oh! Father, how is Mrs Morrison?” “Very far through.”
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 128:
" ... His other cravin's for the lassies but he's no' indulged himsel' that way this while back, for he's been far through wi' the fever. ... "
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 27:
Ay but he's faur through. He'll hae to be cairrit.
28. Sc. 1803 Scott Minstrelsy III. 116:
Hey! Batty, lad! far yaud! far yaud. [Also 1815 Guy M. xlviii.]
31. Fif. 1894 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxix.:
I wad see them a' far eneugh afore I wad fornyauw mysel' at that rate.
Abd.27 1951:
I'll see him far eneuch first afore I pey aa that siller. An' jist as I was needin ilka meenit, in he cam wi a great langamachie. I could hae seen him far eneuch.

III. As a n.: a great measure or degree, the greater part. Nonce usages.Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess Act i. Sc. ii.:
Lasses full as likely to the e'e, And handsomer by mony fars than me.
Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Lilts 91:
The Season was simmer, and weel thro' the faur o't.

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"Far adv.1, adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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