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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.

ORDINAR, adj., adv., n. Also ordinare, -air, or(d)nar. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. ordinary. [′or(d)nər]

I. adj. 1. As in Eng. (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. Adv. ordinarly. Phrs. nae ordinar, following the word governed: unusual(ly), extraordinar(il)y, in no ordinary manner (I. and ne.Sc., Ags. 1964). Cf. nae handy s.v. Handy, I. 4.; nor or than ordinar, than usual. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1700 Atholl MSS. (22 May):
In this and all other Courts the ordinar and natural way was to begin with calling the rols.
Bte. 1712 Session Bk. Rothesay (1931) 280:
Since his return from Ireland he had attended ordinarly when he was at home.
Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 284:
Else there's mair than ordinar be the matter.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxiv.:
It's no an ordinar grave that will haud her in.
Dmb. 1844 W. Cross Disruption v.:
He was lookin' grimmer than ordnar.
Ags. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxx.:
There was a steerie i' the hoose nae ordinar'.
Rnf. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls 122:
The ministers, for they're no ornar folks.
Ags. 1889 Barrie W. in Thrums ix.:
Speakin' in the ord'nar meanin'.
Abd. 1890 Bon-Accord (1 Nov.) 20:
The bairn . . . begood tae yowl nae ordinar.
Abd. 1915 H. Beaton Benachie 133:
He his a kinallie o' sisters nae ordinar.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 10:
Dis I said wi mair dan ordinar sikkerness.
Abd. 1922 Weekly Press (28 Jan.) 3:
It'll tak' ma langer t' ploiter throu' that snaw nor ord'nar'.

2. Sc. Law, of a judge: having a fixed and regular, i.e. not ad hoc, jurisdiction “in all actions of the same general nature” (Sc. 1838 Erskine Institute i. ii. § 15), freq. following the noun governed, specif. judge ordinary, now gen. applied to the Sheriff-substitute of a county, or to a Lord Ordinary, one of the eight judges in the Outer House of the Court of Session, who deal with cases of first instance (Sc. 1946 A. D. Gibb Legal Terms 61), and preside in the Bill-chamber, i.e. over applications for signet letters. See also Lord, 2. (28).Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 84:
Magistrats of burghs and other judges ordinar.
Sc. 1722 W. Forbes Institute ii 194:
The ordinary Lords are all imployed on the Session Days in different Capacities, according to the Nature and Import of Business attached to them.
Sc. 1753 W. Maitland Hist. Edb. 425:
One of the Macers attends the Lord Ordinary in waiting in the Outer-house.
Sc. 1754 Erskine Principles i. ii. § 12:
On the border between Scotland and England, warrants are granted of course by the judge ordinary of either side, against those who have their domicile upon the opposite side.
Sc. 1818 Scott Rob Roy xiv.:
Things that were competent to the judge ordinar o' the bounds.
Sc. 1838 W. Bell Dict. Law Scot. 690:
In the Court of Session, the judge before whom a cause depends in the Outer-House, is called the Lord Ordinary in that cause. So also the judge who, in the course of rotation amongst the Outer-House judges, (Permanent Lords Ordinary), calls the weekly roll of new causes, is called the Lord Ordinary for the week. And the judge who . . . officiates weekly in the Bill-Chamber, is called the Lord Ordinary on the Bills.
Sc. 1866 P. Fraser Parent and Child 94:
In cases of emergency, the judge ordinary of the bounds can, on a summary petition, regulate the interim custody of the children.
Sc. 1960 Session Cases 462:
The proper practice when a reclaiming motion is brought against an interlocutor pronounced by a Lord Ordinary.

3. In the Universities of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, applied in the Faculties of Arts and Science to the first-year or general course in any particular subject, passes in a certain number of which qualify the candidate for an Ordinary as opposed to an Honours Degree in these Faculties. The term arose from the Ordinances passed consequent on the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858. St. Andrews returned to the old form General for the subject in 1912 but uses Ordinary for the Degree.Sc. 1864 Edb. Univ. Cal. 86:
Students who have passed the Examination in each one of the seven subjects embraced in the Course of Study prescribed for the Degree of Master of Arts, may, before taking the Degree, offer themselves for a further Examination, with a view to Graduation with Honours; and that either in the same year in which they have completed the Pass or Ordinary Examinations, or in a future year.
Sc. 1922 Abd. Univ. Cal. 390:
A Candidate for the Degree of Bachelor of Science (Ordinary or Honours).
Sc. 1961 Gsw. Univ. Cal. 117:
The Curriculum for the Ordinary Degree of Master of Arts shall consist of five subjects. Two of these subjects shall each be studied by attendance during two sessions on qualifying courses therein.
Sc. 1965 St. Andrews Univ. Cal. 188:
All candidates for the Ordinary Degree of Master of Arts shall be required to pass the General Examination.

II. adv. Ordinarily, usually, in the usual way; fairly, somewhat but not excessively.Sc. 1829 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) II. 205:
What's mair nor ordinar extraordinar in that?
Lnk. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 64:
I was mair than or'nar glad.
Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken xxxiv.:
She liket ye rael weel ance, an' she may again, gin ye're juist ordnar gude til her.
Arg. 1901 N. Munro Doom Castle xv.:
It was mair ordinar the ink-horn at their belts and the sporran at their groins.
Cai. 1903 E.D.D.:
He's ornar tired.

III. n. 1. The usual state of things, what is customary or habitual, one's ordinary way of life, or manner of doing things, one's accustomed routine or skill, usual state of health, dress or the like (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 121; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 209; Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Per. 1964). Freq. one's auld ordinar, id.Gall. 1707 Session Bk. Penninghame (1933) I. 205:
There was a base and scurrilous pack of the meanest sort in Glasgow whose ordinary it was to be drunk twice a week or oftener and man and wife to curse, fight and beat on another.
Sc. 1818 Scott H. Midlothian xviii.:
Our minnie's sair mis-set, after her ordinar.
Sc. 1863 J. W. Carlyle Letters (1903) II. 289:
I am not even up to the mark of my “frail ordinar” at present.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xii.:
Oor pluck maun hae exceedit the common ordinar'.
Sc. 1884 J. Taylor Curling 93:
If he just plays his auld ordinar', I think the odd shot and the game will be our ain yet.
Ags. 1895 Arbroath Guide (5 Jan.) 3:
We just gaed to the occasion dressed in oor ordinar'.
Bnff. 1903 E.D.D.:
“Fou's a' yir fouck?” “They're i' thir aul' ordinar.”
sm.Sc. 1925 R. W. Mackenna Flood & Fire xiii.:
I'm in my frail ordinar.

Phrs. aff (o), by, past (the) ordinar, unusual(ly), out of the ordinary, extraordinar(il)y (I. and ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Ayr. 1964). See also By-ordinar; for or †in ordinar(y), normally, usually, as a rule (Sc. 1799 H. Mitchell Scotticisms 37; ne.Sc., Lth., wm.Sc., Gall., Slk. 1964); as for ordinar, as usual.Sc. 1700 R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 35:
This is but a slender twigg to hang on, because for ordinary the post is secure enough.
Sc. 1737 J. Dunbar Industrious Country-Man 1:
The Country Farmers for ordinary live upon their Crop of Meal and Barley.
Sc. 1816 Scott Black Dwarf vii.:
Her that never stirs a gun-shot frae the door-stane for ordinar.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Provost xxii.:
Michaelmas-day was, both for wind, and wet, and cold, past ordinar.
Sc. 1858 D. Webster Scotch Haggis 90:
He had on, as for ordinar', his Heeland dress.
Rxb. a.1860 J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 100:
Your auld creeshy weaver breeks, that ye dicht aye ye're fingers on in ordinary.
Kcb. 1885 A. J. Armstrong Friend and Foe 265:
It's queer to say't, there hasna a thing happened off the or'nar'.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 63:
I'll wear for ordinar' a roond hard hat.
Cai. 1932 John o' Groat Jnl. (28 Oct.):
A thocht they wir something aff o' 'e or'nar fan A saw yir best horn-rims on.

2. One's regular allowance of food or pay. Obs. in Eng. from 17th c.; a usual share or amount of anything.Ags. 1718 R. Finlayson Arbroath Documents (1923) 25:
Pay to Robert Davidson cou herd three pound sex shilling and eight pennies Scots, and that as his ordinary for his skeath for keeping of the toun's kine.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxviii.:
Ye'll be haein' nae ordinar' o' mairraiges amo' ye in a han' clap.
Sc. 1894 Stevenson Letters (1899) II. 344:
Add an egg to her ordinary.

3. (One of) a series of sermons given by a minister on one text (Abd. 1949).Sc. 1704 R. Wodrow Analecta (M.C.) I. 53:
That week Mr Crauford, on Saturnday, was thinking on his sermon, in his ordinary, but it would not goe.
Sc. 18th c. J. Macleod Sc. Theology (1943) 112:
One text furnished the starting point of a series of discourses. From the text the preacher would work out a veritable treatise in Theology as he opened it up and followed it in its ramifications. Such a series of Sermons was what went by the name of the minister's “ordinary”.
Sc. a.1814 J. Ramsay Scot. and Scotsmen (1888) I. 541:
He contrived to introduce into his “ordinary” some severe strokes of irony against the light of nature.

4. = Lord Ordinary, which came into gen. use about 1740 (see adj., 2.).Sc. 1714 W. Forbes Decisions Pref. xi.:
Each Lord is called the Ordinary, with respect to Affairs that come in before him.
Sc. 1738 Session Papers, Biggar v. Scot. (19 June) 1:
Upon advising the Debate, the Lord Strichen Ordinary did upon the 19th July 1737, advocate the cause.
Sc. 1749 Morison Decisions 8974:
That he re-employ the money in the same terms as devised by the bond at the sight of the Ordinary on the bills.
Sc. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 I. 713:
The party aggrieved by this has an appeal to the Inner-House by a note, printing along with it the record, the cases prepared by the advocates, and founding upon the preliminary papers and pleas given in to the Ordinary.

[O.Sc. ordinare, adj., of a judge. 1456, = III. 4., 1587, adv., 1586, ordinary = III. 3., 1667.]

Ordinar adj., adv., n.

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"Ordinar adj., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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