Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
FIR, n. Sc. usages, mostly with special reference to fir wood from stumps dug out of peat-mosses for light or fuel (Bnff. 1715 in J. F. S. Gordon Chron. Keith (1880) 88, Crm. 1852 H. Miller Schools xiii.):
†1. A fir stick used as a candle. See Cannle.
Abd. 1813 W. Beattie Parings 31:
Little Pate sits i' the nook, An' but-a-house dare hardly look, But had, and snuff the fir. Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 179:
With a blazing “fir” in his hand, to give light for the operations about to commence on the floor below him.
2. Combs.: †(1) fir-candle, = 1. (Abd. 1825 Jam.; Bnff.2 1942); (2) fir cleaver, a small hatchet for splitting fir for candles. See quot. under (6); †(3) fir-crap, a fir-cone (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., s.v. crap); (4) fir-feckit, see Fecket; †(5) fir-futtle, a large broad-bladed knife used for splitting candle-fir (Abd. 1825 Jam.). See Futtle; (6) fir-gullie, -y, id.; (7) fir-stock, the block of fir from which fir candles were made (Bnff.2 1942); (8) fir-tap, a fir-cone (Lnk. 1860; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Ayr.4 1928; Fif. 1951); (9) fir tether, a kind of rope made from strips of moss fir plaited together; (10) firwud, a fir wood. Also firwood for fuel or light. Gen.Sc.; (11) fir-yowe (Kcb. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags. 1951), -ewe (Abd. 1867 Mrs Allardyce Goodwife 9), a fir-cone. Dim. -yowie (ne.Sc. 1951). See Yowe.
(1) ne.Sc. 1874 W. Gregor Olden Time 20:
Light was given either by pieces of bog-fir laid on the fire, or by fir-can'les — that is, thin splinters of bog-fir, from one to two and a half or three feet long, fixed in a sort of candlestick, called the peer-man. Sc. 1935 I. Bennet Fishermen ix.:
The ceremony of the fir candle brought prosperity and luck to the young couple. (6) Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xl.:
Samie 'imsel' cuttit feckly, bit aifter bit, on a muckle ashet, wi's fir gullie. Abd. 1910 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. III. 98:
The production of fire by artificial means being established, various materials were used for maintaining the light. Among the first was the fir candle. . . . The fir cleaver, fir gully, peer-man, and the kilchin were the articles used for preparing and burning the fir. Abd. 1923 J. R. Imray Village Roupie 10:
A roosty fir gullie — 'twas jimp o' a han'le. (7) Abd. 1906 Banffshire Jnl. (26 June):
Wha in the aumrie stowed their trock And keepit aye a fine fir stock. (8) Sc. 1736 Mrs McLintock Receipts 44:
Lay them close to an earthern Pot, with a little Dill and Fir-tops. Sc. 1773 Dmf. Weekly Mag. (23 March):
On Saturday last, about seven o'clock at night, a kiln at Camlachie, where fir-tops were a-drying, unluckily took fire. Rxb. 1802 J. Leyden in Scott Minstrelsy II. 345:
The fir-tops fall by Branxholm wall. Edb. 1851 A. Maclagan Sketches 237:
When 'mang the whins an' hedges We marched in whistlin' raws, An' bickered ither wi' fir-taps. Ayr. 1913 J. Service Memorables 18:
When the big fir-tap and green mossy nests adorned the leafy June. Fif. 1946 J. C. Forgan Maistly 'Muchty 10:
I'd row in the heather and gether fir taps, Gin I were a laddie again. (9) Abd. 1794 J. Anderson Peat Moss 31:
These ropes of a proper length are sold ready made, under the name of fir tethers. (10) Sc. 1899 W. Andrews Church Life 194:
A lighted slip of fir-wood was whirled three times round the bed [of a new-born child], with the superstitious idea of averting evil influences. Lnk. 1923 G. Rae 'Mang Lowl. Hills 23:
Oh, world o' firwuds, fields, an' great hill-faces! My hairt is yours, an' it evermair will be. (11) Abd. 1923 Banffshire Jnl. (30 Jan.):
I wonder how many picture frames there are still in the vicinity, composed in the main of “fir yowes” from the “widdy” in front of Willie Smith's door.
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"Fir n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Apr 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/fir>
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