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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.

HAIRSE, adj. Also hearse; herse; haerse (Kcb. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 56); hairsh, he(a)rsh, hyirse, hyirsh (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); hersche (s.Sc. 1859 J. Watson Bards of the Border 106); haiss (Cai. 1902 E.D.D.); harse. Hoarse, used of both voice, etc. and person. Gen.Sc. Also used fig. and adv. [Sc. he:rs, herʃ; Cai. he:s]Ayr. 1786 Burns Earnest Cry ii.:
Alas! my roupet Muse is haerse!
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xxix.:
Weel, Jeanie, I am something herse the night, and I canna sing muckle mair.
Slk. 1874 Border Treasury (19 Sept.) 96:
Then his voice fell low again, an' I could hear what he said, altho' he was quite hersh an' roopit.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 51:
I'm haerser noo, bit still I hae A wy — I'm hed hit aa my time.
m.Sc. 1902 J. Buchan Watcher by the Threshold i. vi.:
I threepit till I was hairse.
Abd. 1931 D. Campbell Uncle Andie 9:
Sma' winner Dooglie's throat's hairse — he's sic a yabbin' crettur.

Hence hairs(e)ly, hairselie; hearslie, hoarsely (Sc. 1825 Jam.); and hairseness, hoarseness (Ib.).Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 1:
Whan hearslie coos, in dell forlorn, The cuckoo just departin.
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 62:
But Daith spak hairsely in a sair alairm, “That chap'll jouk me in the warl' below.”

[For development from O.E. hās, hoarse, see P.L.D. § 32.3. Forms with r are not recorded in either Sc. or Eng. before 1400 but may be due to an O.E. *hārs. O.Sc. hace, hais, hes, c.1470–a.1585, hers, 1513, hairsnes, a.1568.]

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"Hairse adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Dec 2023 <>



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