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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.

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. forms of Eng. for.wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 16:
But I do nothing of the kind, so why
Would my ain faither wish me to lie?
Because Ah want fur it to be true.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 4:
Hell's bells, if a neebor draps by fur tea
Or Missis asks visitors in for a wee swaree,
Where's the herm?
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 51:
I'm tellt the auncient Celts focht in bare scud...Ye've shairly got tae ken whit ye're fechting fur
tae tak the haill Roman Empire on in yer buff.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 111:
Stanes are fer chuckin; stanes are aye tae haund.
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 4:
Fur me, ivrythin's cheynged ...
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 14:
Efter, bledder taen oot an
Raised tae mooth,
It swelt gin till
They tethered it wae its thairm
An let it dry fur days.
Fif. 1998 Tom Hubbard Isolde's Luve-Daith 7:
Nae yuise remains fir Tristan an Isolde.

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.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 25:
"I ken laird. I've a plank here ready for to mend it tomorrow," and Bryce indicated the wood lying out ready against the wall.
m.Sc. 1989 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay The Guid Sisters 11:
Ah tellt thum fur tae come early.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 103:
'I have just taken Sheelah for to taste my stovies,' Andy said.
Abd. 1990 Stanley Robertson Fish-Hooses (1992) 65:
Then een aifterneen, he spotted Violet and started for tae chat her up.
m.Sc. 1991 William Neill in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 51:
Thir tinks press furrit for tae hear the better:
thay cairry on as if he wesna deid.

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.”
Sc. 1952:
What are ye for? What will you have (to drink)? What's yours?
Highl. 1971 Allan Campbell McLean The Year of the Stranger (1987) 9:
"Well, the Sheriff Officer waved his papers at Domhnull Ban, and said you are for out this time, my bold fellow, and what is more it is you for the jail seeing what happened the last time...."
m.Sc. 1994 Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay Forever Yours, Marie-Lou 15:
It's a long wey tae Steinberg's in the winter cauld and ah'm no fur gettin ma feet frozen jist fur tae save six cents!

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.
Edb. 1999:
I couldn't park for all the other cars in disabled parking spaces.

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. (1) 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”.

(2) = Eng. on, in reference to a call or visit. See also Ca', v.1, IV. 15. (3). Ayr. 1788 Burns Letters (Ferguson) No. 225:
I am engaged to some of the principals of the Excise, so can only make a call for you that evening.

7. With words of naming, = in honour of, after. Gen.Sc. See Ca', v.1, IV. 15. (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!
Edb. 1994 Douglas McKenzie in James Roberston A Tongue in Yer Heid 3:
Then she wad jump up an throw the blazin newspaper in the fire cursin him fer an auld gowk an a nuisance.

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) for-naething, 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) nicht for nicht, night after night; (6) 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) Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock 80:
Nelly was rale antentive till them, an' wad sit up nicht for nicht.
(6) (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 I. 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.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters v.:
I wager, for a' sae muckle as he's made of late, that his balance at the bank's a sma' yin.
(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 16 Jun 2024 <>



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