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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.

INFARE, n. Also -fair, -far. [′ɪnfe:r]

1. The coming of a bride to her new home and the feast given by the bridegroom to celebrate this, hence often applied more gen. to the day succeeding the wedding (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.). Also in U.S. and Ir. and n.Eng. dials. Infore (Ayr. 1826 Galt Lairds xx.) is a misprint.Abd. 1701 R. Dinnie Birse (1865) 143:
The presbytries act against pypers and abuses committed at pennie bridals, latewaks, and infares.
Rxb. 1703 J. Wilson Hawick (1858) 45:
The session appointed a meeting for enquiry after the scolding and flyting that was at William Olifer and Christian Hart, their marriage feast and infare.
Ags. 1818 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 414:
The day after the wedding is the infare. . . . This may be considered a second edition of yesterday, only the company is less numerous, and the dinner is commonly the scraps that were left at the wedding feast. On this occasion every one of both sexes who has a change of dress, appears in a garb different from that worn on the preceding day.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail xxviii.:
Leddy Grippy having been, as she herself observed, “cheated baith o' bridal and infare by Charlie's moonlight marriage.”
Ags. 1846 A. Laing Wayside Flowers 145:
At blythe-meat an' dredgy, yule-feast an' infare, He's ready aff-hand wi' a grace or a prayer.
Fif. 1893 G. Setoun Barncraig 141:
There'll be neither contract nor infair then?

Comb. infar-cake, a piece of oatcake or shortbread broken over the head of a bride as she enters her new home.Lth. 1882 J. Strathesk Blinkbonny 274:
It wadna be canny, forbye it wadna be wiselike to break the infar-cake till there's some wanters and swankies to scram'le for't.
Sc. 1884 C. Rogers Social Life I. 118:
The custom of the infar-cake had its origin in the rite of confarreation whereby the Romans constituted matrimony.
ne.Sc. 1929 J. M. McPherson Prim. Beliefs 121:
As she approached the threshold, she was met by her mother and one or two of her relatives, carrying a napkin with pieces of shortbread or oatmeal cake, the infar-cake, which was thrown over her head. . . . If the bread was not broken over the bride's head, she would come to poverty.

2. In a more gen. sense: entry into a new situation in life.Sc. 1827 Scott Chrons. Canongate vii.:
His [James VI on his way to England] journey was stopped near Cockenzie by meeting the funeral of the Earl of Winton. . . . It was an ill omen for the infare.

[O.Sc. infair, a housewarming, 1375; O.E. infær, entering, place of entrance, from in, + fær, going, journey. Cf. hame-fare, id. s.v. Hame, III. 7.]

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"Infare n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 5 Mar 2024 <>



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