Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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LYRE, n. Also lire, layer, lyar (Ork. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 322); lyri(e), lyra, liere (Sh. 1774 G. Low Tour (1879) 124), leirie (Sh. 1861 Zoologist XIX. 7345); leerie, liri (Jak., Sh. 1961); leero (Ork. 1929 Marw.). The Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw., lyr(i)e). Used also as a nickname for the inhabitants of Walls in Orkney (Ork. 1883 J. Tudor Ork. and Sh. 204). [′ləiər mostly Ork.; ′ləiri, ′liri Sh.] Ork. 1701  J. Brand Descr. Ork. 32:
The Lyre is a rare and delicious sea-fowl, so very fat, that you would take it to be wholly fat.
Sh. 1733  T. Gifford Hist. Descr. Zetland (1879) 23:
Many sea fowls, as ember geese, rain geese, scarfes or cormorants, gulmawes. kitiweaks, lires, tarets, &c.
Cai. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XI. 249:
There is a bird, called a layer, here, that hatches in some parts of the rock.
Sh. 1834  Old-Lore Misc. X. v. 202:
The lyra or Manx puffin breeds in its [Lyra Skerry] perpendicular sides.
Sh. 1886  G. Temple Britta 35:
Dere wis a lad frae wir toun drouned this vairy year, when he wis aifter a leerie.

[Lyre is strictly a reduced form of lyrie, Norw. lira, O.N. liri, id.]

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"Lyre n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jul 2019 <>



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