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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LAWER, n. Also law(w)ir, lawooer, lawwar(e); laawer, -ir (Sh.); and with variant ending la(w)vier, -yer, laviar; lyer. Sc. forms of Eng. lawyer (Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; I., n. and em.Sc., Wgt., Rxb. 1960). For the -v- forms see P.L.D. §§ 137, 141.2. [′lɑ:(v)jər, ′lɑ(:)wər]Gsw. 1726 Burgh Rec. Gsw. (1909) 259:
The said John Hamilton had retained lawers for the toun.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 62:
Plagu'd wi' jails an' lawwer's jaw.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1837) II. 300:
Aye, that's nought but slander and ill-will, because I have ta'en the young law-ware frae you baith.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xviii.:
The Presbytery an' the lawvyers concludit the sattlement i' the manse again a' sponsible objections.
Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 103:
The wife's ambition was that he should be a tailor, Robie said, “Na, go me, we mak' a law-war o' him, he'll help to tak' his faither oot o' scrapes.”
Knr. 1891 H. Haliburton Ochil Idylls 61:
Ye lawwers, lay aside your briefs; Ill-named, they ne'er have endin'!
Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. viii. 317:
A' body kens laawers ar' sic scoondrels dey wad hae jeust reuined is baith.
Kcb. 1909 Crockett Rose of Wilderness iv.:
It was people like Andro Freeland who went to “lawvyers.”
Arg. 1914 J. M. Hay Gillespie I. vii.:
A roup means laawers an' unctioneers.
Inv. 1948 Football Times (11 Sept.):
He belonged to the profession known as “laviars”, or “men of business.”
Sh. 1952 J. Hunter Taen wi da Trow 90:
See, dere comes da Foud fae Tingwall, Followed by his lawwir men.

Phr. †pouthered lawyr, a fleecy white cloud, like a lawyer's wig. Cf. Banff bailies.s.Sc. 1885 W. Scrope Salmon Fishing 144:
Ye needna fash yersel the day wi' yer lang wand, for I wudna gie a pinch o' snuff for a' that ye'll get; there are too many pouthered lawyrs aboot.”

[O.Sc. lawer, 1556, lawier, 1568, Mid.Eng. lawiere.]

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"Lawer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 May 2024 <>



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