Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GAR, v.2 Also garr, gaur; gaar (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), gair (Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 100), gare (Abd.4 1931), ger (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Mry.1, Bnff.7 1927), gir (Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 189). Pa.t. and pa.p. gar(r)d, -t, gaur'd, -t, gair(r)t, -d; gert (Jam.2). [Sc. gɑ(:)r, but Ork., ne.Sc., Wgt. + ger, gɛr]

1. To make, cause; to force, compel, esp. to make (a person) do (something). Gen.Sc. (rare in Sh.). Common in n.Eng. dial. Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 68:
He heard the said John Hutchisone answer that he would gar him make that out.
Abd. 1739 in Caled. Mag. (1788) 503:
Nae twa there wadha gart him wallow, Wi' fair play i' the mud On's back that day.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 60:
He gar'd ilk sinner sigh an' groan, And fear hell's flame.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 123–24:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery viii.:
The Sacristan . . . speaks as if he would gar the house fly abroad.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 183:
Geordie was sae mad at Matthew for taigling him, an' garring him tine the fish.
Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems 21:
When foreign foe e'er ventur'd near, To gaur us smart.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 9:
Sheu gar'd a' the servants come i' the ha' afore her. [p. 116, gaird.]
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 68:
“Man's inhumanity to man” Still gars us grue.

Used quasi-adj. in the two following proverbs: Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 119:
Gar Wood is ill to grow. A return to them that say they will gar, that is, force you to do such a thing.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 280:
Gaur gerse is ill to grow.

Phrs.: ‡(1) gar-me-true (trew), n., a hypocrite, a pretender; a philanderer (Abd.13 1933); a make-believe (Abd.4 1929); also used attrib.; †(2) to gar (somebody) as gude, to retaliate, pay (a person) back in his own coin; cf. gie as gude s.v. Guid; ¶(3) to gar-believe, to make believe, pretend. (1) Kcd. 1871 Stonehaven Jnl. (1 June) 3:
The brither an' wife made a gar-me-true mane They yalloched an' sought him through country an' town.
Abd. 1898 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (25 June):
I never was a gweed gar me trew a' the days o' me.
(2) Sc. 1749 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 606:
That's to learn him to meddle wi' me. I'll gar him as good as if he had na cuff'd my lugs.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xv.:
Impertinent coxcombs they are, that thus intrude themselves on the society of their betters; but your lordship kens how to gar them as gude.
(3) Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 67:
We needna gar-believe, Jean; There's things that winna hide.

2. Used without an obj. and followed by the simple inf. without to: to cause, order something to be done, a construction very common in old ballads. Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.T.Misc. (1876) I. 82:
O fy gar ride, and fy gar rin, And haste ye find these traitors again.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxvii.:
An' the Whig Captain, Balfour, garr'd set up a gallows.
Sc. a.1830 Gay Goshawk in Child Ballads No. 96 E xix.:
Gar call to me my seven bretheren, To hew to me my bier.

[O.Sc. has ger from a.1350, gar, from 1386, with reg. change from -er to -ar; O.N. gera, to make, to do, etc., cogn. with O.E. gearwian, to get ready. Cf. Yare.]

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"Gar v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2021 <>



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