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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GOOR, n., v. Also gur(r), gure, †gour, †gor(e). [ne.Sc. gu:r; I.Sc., Cai. gʌr, gor]

I. n. Slimy dirt or filth of any kind:

1. Mucus, waxy matter, esp. rheum gathered in the corners of the eyes (Sc. 1808 Jam., gore; Cai. 1900 E.D.D.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), gor; Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 151, gur; Abd.4 1932; Sh., Ork., Cai., Ags. 1954); wax in the ear (Ork. 1929 Marw., gurr). Also in Dev. dial.Sc. 1714 W. Fraser Hist. Carnegies (1867) 284:
Tho' your eyes does nott appear red yett, the gore and stifness comes from a watery humour.
Sc. 1741 A. Monro Anat. Nerves 48:
The Gum, or Gore, as we call it, was separated in greater Quantity, . . . and the Eye-ball itself was diminished.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 82:
I wis kinda raamished, an' wisna gotten da gurr oot o' me een.

2. Mud, dirt (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., gur; Sh., Mry., Kcd. 1954); muddy, stagnant water, sediment (Bnff., Abd. 1954). Also in Eng. (mainly n.) dial.Abd. 1865 William Alexander The Laird of Drammochdyle (1986) 69:
... full't wi' the ironeery goor to the vera tap nar han', ...
Bnff. 1876 Trans. Bnff. Field Club (1939) 61:
I went down to Bomakelloch the road being one foot of Gour and Slush.
Bnff.6 c.1920:
When the obstruction was removed, a volume of goor came rolling out of the drain.

Hence goorie, adj., muddy, squelchy, slimy (Mry.1 1925; Mearns 6 1954).Abd. 1932 R. L. Cassie Sc. Sangs 31:
Seg an' cats'-tail spread a net Owre an ourie, goorie bit, Fleer't wi' fog aye fickle.

3. Slush, half-melted snow (Mry.1 1925; Sh., Bnff., Abd. 1954), used only of the broken ice and soft snow on running water (Gregor; Per. 1909 Scotsman (10 May), gure).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 68:
The goor's comin' doon the burn noo, for ass short's the thow's been.

4. Slimy matter scraped from fish (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.; Sh.10 1954); fish refuse such as collects in the bottom of a fishing-boat (Mry.1 1925, goor). Also gouries in combs. fish-gouries (Mearns 1880 Jam.), salmon-, and goorie (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.; Abd. 1954). Adj. goory.Abd. 1825 Jam.:
The refuse of the intestines of salmon is still called salmon gouries, and used as bait for eels.
Bch. 1949 W. R. Melvin Poems 36:
Tae wash their goory, weety claes.

5. “The dark haze which descends over a burn or stream when night is falling giving the water a dark gloomy appearance, referred to by fishermen as ‘the goor comin' ower the water'” (Abd.28 1947).

6. Weeds (Abd.8 c.1920, rare).Cai. 1916 T.S.D.C. II.:
A farmer coming to a new croft described his land as being “foo o' goilk an' gore, soo-thirsel, day nettle an' a' manner o' trash.”

II. v. 1. tr. To defile with mud (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.).

2. intr. (1) Of streams: to become choked up with snow and ice following a thaw (Abd. 1952).Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 68:
The burn's beginnin' t' goor.
Abd. 1923 Swatches o' Hamespun 19:
He forgot the burn wis fell wide, an' geylies goort up.

(2) To do dirty work, to mess about.Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 82:
He's med for sunteen clean, An no ta gurr in parafeen, Black-saep an trash.

[O.Sc. has gor(e), excrement, slime, from c.1420, goury, the refuse of the intestines of salmon, from 1550; Mid.Eng. gor(r)e, dung, dirt, slime, O.E. gor(e). Cf. also Mid.Du. goor, mud, filth, fish-slime; Norw. dial. gor, mud, slush, cud, fish-intestines, O.N. gor, cud. The vowel in ne.Sc. is irreg.]

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"Goor n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 8 Feb 2023 <>



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