Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FOR, prep., conj. Also fer (Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes lxx.), fir (Sh.), fur (Edb. 1870 J. Lauder Warblings 102, Gsw. 1902 J. J. Bell Wee Macgreegor iii.). [fɔr, for, and in unstressed position, fər, fɪr (n.Sc.), fʌr (m.Sc.)]

Sc. usages, now mostly obs. or dial. in Eng., or used in different contexts or with different words:

I. prep. 1. With the object or purpose of, with the end in view of: (1) corresp. to Eng. of, with the n. use. Gen.Sc. Slk. 1818 Hogg Wool-gatherer (1874) 64:
I am positive it's for no manner of use.

(2) before the inf. with till, tae, to, as in dial. or uneducated Eng. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
I love for to do good. . . . I gave him a pen for till write with.
Lth. 1801 H. MacNeill Poet. Wks. II. 58:
He means for to marry!
Dmb. 1846 W. Cross Disruption xix.:
Wad ye offer for to go for to insinuate ony thing against my character?
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 285:
Then the lasses began to the barn for to thrang.
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken ii.:
She out wi' the auld hugger 'at she keeps the bawbees in, . . . for to buy a creepie o' her ain.
Sh. 1906 T. P. Ollason Spindrift 44:
Is hit ony disgrace or wrang fir ta mak' da baest kirsen?
Lnk. 1915 “Ian Hay” First 100,000 27:
A party told off for tae scrub the floor.
Gsw. 1947 H. W. Pryde McFlannels i.:
That bit was absolutely askin' fur to be laid there.

2. For the sake of, with desire for, esp. with daft. Gen.Sc. Hence by extension, for want of. Abd. 1801 W. Beattie Parings (1873) 36:
The horse are gaen daft for water.
Sc. 1825 Fair Janet in Child Ballads No. 64 B. viii.:
I have a babe into my arms, He'll die for nouricing.
Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 17:
He was tellin' me what a hardship he was in fir meal.
Ags. 1891 Barrie Little Minister iv.:
My father put me out because he's daft for the drink, and was fleid he would curse me.
Abd. 1923 R. A. Taylor End of Fiammetta 84:
The road was lang! I winna dine, But I am daft for sleep.

3. With the verb to be: inclined or intending to, desirous of, freq. in regard to food (Sc. 1811 Edb. Annual Reg. IV. ii. lxxii.). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Tales 141:
Whan I'm for peace, then she's for taukin'; Whan I'm for sleepin', she's for waukin'.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xli.:
You are not for gaun intill Glasgow then?
Sc. 1835 T. T. Stoddart Art of Angling 120:
The feeding hours of the large fish, which are commonly for the fly from half-past ten to half-past one.
Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 55:
Are you for any pudding? I am not for wine. Are you for a smoke?
Fif. 1897 “S. Tytler” Witch-Wife x.:
I'm for no daffing, Babie, at present.
ne.Sc. 1947 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 22:
“It's for weet,” he remarked . . . “I doot we're in for a weet nicht.”
Gen.Sc. 1952:
What are ye for? What will you have (to drink)? What's yours?

4. Because, in consequence of, by reason of, = mod.Eng. through, with. Gen.Sc., obsol. For in Eng. occurs only in neg. sentences. Sc. 1711 J. Kirkwood Hist. 27 Gods Lnl. 30:
Hens and Chickens he had in his House, that were no question starving for Hunger.
Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms 35, 120:
To burst for laughing. He must have died for cold.
Sc. 1806 R. Jamieson Ballads I. 40:
Your young son, that is in my arms. For cald will soon be dead.

5. With words denoting emotion, esp. fear, to indicate its object, where mod. Eng. gen. uses of, see s.v. Fear, Flay, Fricht, etc. Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck xii.:
It was weak and silly for ony true Christian to be eiry for him [a Brownie].
Slk. 1823 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. (1874) i.:
The creature was terrified for him, and made its escape.
Sh. 1898 Shet. News (9 July):
A'm no muckle affeckid fer da folks' tongues ony time.

6. With verbs of asking, implying concern for the health or welfare of, = Eng. after. Gen.Sc. See Ask, v.2, 2. (2). Sc. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 15:
I saw the captain yesterday, he asked for George.
Sc. 1897 “L. Keith” Bonnie Lady vii.:
Raps that came to the door from folk speiring for the laird.
Sh. 1898 J. Burgess Tang 232:
I lippened dee ta ax Hansi for her.
Abd.27 1953:
Tell N. I was spierin for him is equivalent to Eng. “Remember me to N., give N. my kind regards”.

7. With words of naming, = in honour of, after. Gen.Sc. See Ca', III. 11. (2). Also in Eng. and U.S. dial. Sc. c.1760 Coltness Coll. (M.C.) 53:
Their eldest son was born, and named Thomas for Sir Thomas Hope of Craighall.
Slk. 1899 C. M. Thomson Drummeldale 8:
That's an unco big name for sic a wee bodie. Whae was 'e ca'd for?
wm.Sc. 1953 Bulletin (13 Nov.):
[The name Henry] will be “for” his royal great-uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.

8. Used ellipt. in exclamatory phrs. (Sh., Bnff., Abd. 1953), an extension of Eng. usage of for = in the quality or capacity of, as being. For Sh. usage, cf. also Norw. for, id. Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken ix.:
See til her noo! for a braw sonsey lass.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. xiv.:
“Eh,” said little Elsie, . . . “eh, for whaten a lee.”
Sh. 1928 Manson's Shet. Almanac 187:
Acres, ye ax. Fir sic a whestin!

9. To the advantage of, good or proper for (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slg., m.Lth., Bwk., Arg., Uls. 1953). Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 11:
If ee dui'd, A'm tellin' ye it'll no be for ee!
Peb. 1950:
It's no for ye ti gang oot in this weather.

10. With vbl. nouns: for fear of, to prevent, gen. after a neg. or quasi-neg. Gen.Sc. Sc. 1786 Burns Halloween xxiii.:
It chanc'd the Stack he faddom't thrice, Was timmer-propt for thrawin.
Sc. 1810 Scott L. of the Lake v. xxxii.:
Spare not for spoiling of thy steed.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 26:
My lad canna kneel at the Beuk, For fyling the knees o' his breeks.
Ib. 146:
He'll ride nae mair on strae sonks, For gawing his German hurdies.

11. With adjs. implying habit, frequency, as common, ordinar, equivalent to Eng. adv., commonly, ordinarily, usually. (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scotticisms 34; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Ags.19, Slg.3 1953). Sc. 1717 Remarks on Grievances with Respect to Revenue Univ. Gsw. 2:
For ordinary, Precepts to Workmen are given upon the Foot or Back of their Accompts.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf vii.:
Her that never stirs a gun-shot frae the door-stane for ordinar.
Sh. 1879 Shet. Times (22 March):
Whinever he wins a fecht, as he for aftest du's, he's aye fu' o' glee.
Abd. 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 11:
That does not happen for common.
Dwn. 1892 W. Lyttle Ballycuddy 16:
We got a better sermon than we dae for ordnar'.
Edb. 1893 W. G. Stevenson Wee Johnnie Paterson (1914) 3:
I coudna think what was wrang wi't, for it's a guid bairn for usual.
wm.Sc. 1917 “H. Foulis” Jimmy Swan 59:
“Ay, that's the fare for ordinar',” said Mr Macaskill; “but there's a special weekend trip next Saturday at 9s. 6d.”

12. Phrs.: (1) a(a) that's for (somebody), = Eng. “what there is of (someone).” Gen.Sc., in jocular use; (2) for a(a), (a) for all that, all the same, notwithstanding (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., m.Lth., Bwk., Kcb., Rxb. 1953); (b) all the time, for ever, without change or exception (ne.Sc. 1953); (3) fornaething, n., a person or thing of no use or consequence (Abd.15 1928; Abd.27 1953); (4) for that o't, for that matter, for all I care, as far as I am concerned (Cai.7, Fif.10, Arg.1 1945); (5) what for, (a) why. See What; (b) what kind of . . . (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork.2 1953). Cf. Norw. hvad for, Ger. was für, etc., id.; (c) used exclamatorily = how (bad, annoying, etc.) (Ork.2 1953). (1) Sc. 1837 Lockhart Scott III. i.:
“Can it be possible that this is John Lundie?” “In troth is it, your honour — just a' that's for him.”
Abd. 1875 W. Alexander My Ain Folk 35:
“An' ye're Saun'ers Malcolmson?” “It's a' 't's for me.”
(2) (a) Knr. 1887 “H. Haliburton” Puir Auld Scot. 88:
He was a “fine laddie for a'.”
Edb. 1897 P. H. Hunter J. Armiger's Revenge v.:
But she has a bonny face for a'.
Kcb. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 119:
The ersit buddy wudna get better, but dee't for a'.
Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 7:
Lauch at! Eee'll finnd A'm richt for aa.
(b) Bnff.2 1930:
It's brose for aa at this toun.
Abd.27 1953:
He's Tory out-an-out. It's Churchill for aa wi 'im.
(4) Arg. 1936 L. McInnes Dial. S. Kintyre 19:
Ye may lea't tae the morn for that o't. Ye may tak the young horse tae the toon for that o't an I'll work wi' the other pair till ye come back.
(5) (b) Ork. 1929 Marw., s.v. for:
What for a boat is that coman in?
(c) Ib.:
What for a day this is!

II. conj. 1. Phrs.: (1) for-a-be [ for aa (it) be (that)], although, notwithstanding (Fif. 1825 Jam.); (2) for as . . . as, with a concessive clause, = Eng. however . . ., . . . though. Gen.Sc. The 1876 quot. is a conflation of this construction with 12. (2) (a); ‡(3) forasmickle, -muckle, = Eng. ‡for as much as. (2) Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality v.:
I had to sit up for ye mysell for as sair a hoast as I hae.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
I want naething frae nane o' ye, for as grand's ye are.
Lnk. 1858 G. Roy Generalship (1862) 56:
The legs o' our great Kings and emperors would be very spirly affairs, for as handsome as they look in their great robes.
Rnf. 1876 D. Gilmour Paisley Weavers viii.:
Katherine has a gae sharp tongue when she's lowst, for a' as quait's she luiks.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 28:
For as gash as he was amang oorsels, the thocht o' stan'in up an' speakin in the kirk brocht the cauld creep over him.
(3) Ags. 1740 in A. Jervise Memorials (1885) II. 303:
Forasmickle as I have thought fit to setle my small worldly concern in my life.
Sc. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 94:
Salvation has come to this hoose the day — forasmuckle as Zaccheus is a bairn o' Abra'm.

2. Until (Sh. 1953). Sh. 1877 G. Stewart Fireside Tales 108:
Shü cud dü nae mair noo fir daylicht cam.
Sh. 1933 J. Nicolson Hentilagets 20:
I'll keep'm fir da lasses fetch da eggs.

[The construction under II. 1. (2) is found in O.Sc., e.g. Hist. MSS. Comm. Report XII. App. VIII. 9, 1580. Conj. 2. is phs. orig. a corruption of Fill, prep., conj.]

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"For prep., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Dec 2021 <>



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