Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology Cite this entry

QUEER, adj., adv., n. See also wheer. Sc. forms and usages:

I. adj. 1. As in Eng., odd, peculiar, strange; unwell, queasy. Hence derivs. (1) queersome, somewhat queer; (2) queerways, adv., in not quite a normal state, slightly unwell (Ork., Kcb. 1967); (3) que(e)ry, (i) adj., rather strange, oddish (Ags., Per. 1967); (ii) n., an oddity, a queer thing (Rnf. 1902 E.D.D., query; Ags., Edb. 1967). (1) Mry. 1865  W. Tester Poems 78:
We've tripped through mony a queersome reel.
Abd. 1900  J. Milne Poems 3:
Ye a' hae heard how famous Neil Gaed stoiterin' hame a queersome reel.
(2) Rnf. 1827  W. Taylor Poems 43:
When wee things there are making din In their fathers' arms. It maks me queer ways.
Edb. 1876  J. Smith Archie and Bess 46:
I'm beginning to feel queer ways mysel'.
(3) (i) Ags. 1889  Barrie W. in Thrums ix.:
Ou, losh, ay! it made me a kind o' queery to look at her.
Ags. 1900  Barrie Tommy and Grizel xxvi.:
There's something queery about her though I canna bottom't.
(ii) Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 150:
It's strange to tell their fligmagaries, Their patent netts and catgut queries.
Ags. 1856  W. Grant Poet. Pieces 36:
An' playin' at the bools an' peeries, An' hunders ither frisky queeries.
Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 249:
This warld's a queery — its freits an' its fykes.

2. Amusing, funny, entertaining (Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 74, 1825 Jam.). Deriv. querish, rather comical. Sc. 1784  G. Caw Poet. Museum 61:
He'd gi' a punk, and look sae queer, Without a joke.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Tam o' Shanter 49–50:
The soutar tauld his queerest stories, The landlord's laugh was ready chorus.
Sc. 1799  H. Mitchell Scotticisms 69:
Queer, in English means odd, strange, singular. — In Scotland it is used in the sense of witty, humorous, comical. But a man may be queer who has not wit, and one may have wit without being queer.
Ags. 1823  Scots Mag. (July) 30:
Whene'er this queer and comic lass But hinted up her keeking glass, They throng'd in bourachs at her ca'.
Kcb. 1848  J. Hughan Poems 16:
Ye at them turns your head gay sly Wi' querish wink.

3. As an intensive: considerable, very great (Wgt. 1950), freq. in phr. a queer lot, a large amount, a considerable quantity. Gen.Sc., appar. of Irish origin. Kcb. 1916 6 :
There's a queer draught comes in at your door.
Rxb. 1921  Hawick Express (12 Aug.):
There must bei a queer lot o' money in th' world yet — notwithstandin' short time an' bad trade.
Mry. 1959  Bulletin (23 May):
Seven cats, all with kittens, can perish a queer lot of the stuff.

II. adv. 1. In an odd manner, in a peculiar way; as an intensive: very. Combs. queer-gotten, of a child: of uncertain parentage; queer-ta'en, taken aback, surprised, disconcerted. m.Lth. 1858  Dark Night 222:
I saw the queer-ta'en look ye gi'ed; but I daursay ye wadna think I flang't oot as a jibe.
ne.Sc. 1894  A. Gordon Northward Ho 66:
Auld MacDowall's queer-gotten bairn had turned oot tae be a real nait'ral.
Kcb. 1916 6 :
My heid's queer sair.

III. n. In pl.: something strange and surprising, news (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). s.Sc. 1897  E. Hamilton Outlaws ix.:
The Lord kens it's queers to Archie Simpson, that there's any harm in kissing a lassie.

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Queer adj., adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Jun 2019 <>



Try an Advanced Search

Browse SND: