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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

FERE, n.1 Also feer, fier(e), feir. Dim. feirie.

1. As in Eng., only in arch. or poet. use: a companion, comrade, spouse, contemporary, equal. Cf. playfere s.v. Play.Sc. c.1725 Lady Wardlaw in Ramsay T. T.Misc. (1876) I. 228:
Yonder, my valiant sons and feirs, Our raging ravers wait.
Sc. 1775 Hobie Noble in Child Ballads No. 189. xx.:
Get up, get up, my feiries five — For I wat here makes a fu ill day.
Ayr. 1788 Burns Auld Lang Syne v.:
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere, And gie's a hand o' thine.
Abd. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 179:
Come choose a fere, my daughter dear, As lang as ye hae me.
Rnf. 1839 in R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 247:
Clock Sorrow Mill has nae feir.
Knr. 1891 “H. Haliburton” Ochil Idylls 87:
Alas! alas! my fellow feres, We may no more deny The pressure of the speeding years.
Sc. 1920 A. Gray From Heine 75:
Am I ower auld to be your fere?
Lnk. 1991 Duncan Glen Selected Poems 34:
The makar stauns alane
without feres
and desires the river flowin past
as me you.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 48:
Norman's fiers micht winner aboot his sexual leanings, bit he was canny eneuch nae tae preen his homosexual colours tae the post.

2. Phr.: †feer for feer, equal for equal, equal in every respect.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 15:
For he's nae boss, six score o' lambs the year, In heartning gueed, the match is feer for feer.
Mry. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 294:
And Bess was a braw thumpin kittie, For Habbie just feer for feer.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 23:
Norval shall match Glenalvon, feer for feer.

[O.Sc. fere, a companion, 1375, a spouse, equal, c.1500, O.E. gefēra, a comrade.]

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"Fere n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2022 <>



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