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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HAIR, adj., v.2 Also har(e)-, hear-; and hairy by confusion with the adj. from Hair, n. Sc. forms of Eng. hoar.

I. adj. Hoary, covered with mould or rime, found in following combs.: †1. hair-frost, hoar-frost (Ags. 1825 Jam.); 2. hair-hound, black horehound, Ballota nigra (Bwk. 1853 G. Johnston Botany E. Borders 162); 3. hair moul(d), the mould which appears on cheese, bread, jam, etc. when exposed to a damp atmosphere (Sc. 1808 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Hence hair-moul(e)d (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Slg. 1956), -mouldit (Abd., Ags., Slg. 1956), -mouldy, -moully, covered with mould. Also fig.; 4. hairstane, a large grey, moss-covered stone, specif., a conspicuous fixed stone serving as a boundary mark (Abd.16 1953), common in place-names from c.1320 (see J. B. Johnston Place-Names Scot. (1934) 200 and cf. gray stone s.v. Gray, adj., A. 1. (27) and Eng. hoar-stone). Also fig.1. Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxii.:
When the rails were covered wi' hairfrost, “the wheels gaed roond but didna move.”
3. (2) Gall. c.1740 Bards of Gall. (Harper 1889) 109:
Naething wad be reserved for them But hair-moul'd books to gnaw, laddie.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (1925) 3:
I vow my hair-mould milk would poison dogs, As it stands lapper'd in the dirty cogs.
Sc. 1795 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 720:
As I gaed to my poor fill'd bink, Saw stan'in there my hair-mould ink, I sich'd fell sair.
Sc. 1809 Ib. (Aug.) 608:
It's true, I've nae gryte heart to sing, Foushtit in aul' hairmoully garret.
Sc. 1874 W. Allan Hamespun Lilts 39:
Sae is oor lyre, Hair-mooldit noo, low in the grun', Bereft o' fire.
Ags. 1892 Brechin Advertiser (16 Aug.) 3:
Tho' some fouk said it widna ta'en Twa hairmould notes to buy her.
4. Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 506:
The Harestone (now erected in the Park Wall, . . . near the Borough Moor-head).
Sc. 1828 Scott Tales Grandfather II. 221:
Orders were given to assemble all the array of the kingdom of Scotland upon the Borough-moor of Edinburgh, a wide common. in the midst of which the royal standard was displayed from a large stone, or fragment of rock, called the Hare-stone.
Sc. a.1831 Archæologia (1834) XXV. 25:
In many parts of Great Britain are to be seen certain upright rude Pillars, or massive blocks of Stone which in England are called Hoar-Stones . . . in Scotland . . . Hare-Stane.
Sc. 1880 Chambers's Encycl. IX. 81:
Another possible purpose [for standing stones] is preserved in the Scottish name of “hair stane,” or boundary stone, by which they are occasionally known.
Ags. 1927 L. Spence Weirds and Vanities 3:
The harstane o' the year was white As I gaed owre the burn o' Braid.

II. v. To turn grey; hence to dry, used of the surface of ground after it has been ploughed preparatory to sowing.Abd. 1923 MS. Diary per Abd.31:
The drills was a bit haired and the sun shone all afternoon.
Bnff.2 c.1930:
There wis a lot o' dryin' last nicht, for I notic'd that the ploo'd ley wis hairin up fine.
Abd. 1955 Huntly Express. (25 March):
Many fields, or parts of fields, ploughed recently and between the two major storms, were rale weel hair't (that is dried out by sun and wind) during the few fine days.

[O.Sc. hare, hair, hoary, grey or white with age, from 1438, of ground, rocks, stones: grey, greyish, 1513–30, O.E. hār, O.N. hárr, hoary; O.Sc. hayrfrost, from c.1639; for hair-hound cf. O.E. hāre hūne, id.; O.Sc. hair-moule, a.1568, to become mouldy, and hery mowldnes, 1595, the state of being covered with mould. The common spelling hare- in hairstane is due to assoc. with Hare, the animal.]

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"Hair adj., v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jul 2024 <>



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