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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SER, v.1, n. Also serr (s.Sc.), ser(')e, sair, saer (Sh.), sare, sir-. Sc. forms of Serve, v.1, which also see (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 67, sair). See P.L.D. § 70.1. [ser, sɛr]

I. v. 1. As in Eng., to be of service or advantage to, to prosper one's fortunes, in phr. luck sair —, good fortune attend, good luck to —!Bnff. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 541 note:
Thus, to prevent what is called forespeaking, they say of a person, God save them; of a beast, Luck sair it.
Abd. 1920 A. Robb MS. ix.:
Luck sair him to wide this weary warld I hae widden through.

2. Of clothes: to fit, be large enough for.Cf. Serve, v.1 2.Sc. 1808 Jam.:
The coat does na sair him, i.e. it is too little.

3. To give alms, esp. food and drink, to (a beggar). Vbl.n. sairin, food so given (wm.Sc. 1880 Jam.). With out: to distribute as charity.Sc. 1825 Jam.:
I canna sair ye the day.
Sc. 1887 Jam.:
To ser out the puir-silver.

4. tr. To satisfy or content: (1) specif. with food or drink. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 32:
I'm sure ye are na sairt, There's fouth o' meat, eat on.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 93:
I'll neither sell butter, bread, nor milk, it's a' little enough to sair my ain family.
Sc. 1825 Fair Janet in Child Ballads No. 64 B. ix.:
If ae nurse winna sere her son, It's I'll provide him five.
Rnf. 1835 D. Webster Rhymes 6:
Losh to see the big serpent devouring As meikle meat's sairt for a year.
Mry. 1888 J. McQueen Beauties 126:
Syne ga'e't a feed o' hackit corn An, hay tae sair't until neist morn.
Sh. 1916 J. Burgess Rasmie's Smaa Murr (Jooly 2):
A bark-kettle o broth canna still saer a glutton.
Dmf. 1937 T. Henderson Lockerbie 16:
Frae the kye that we hae, we dinna get eneuch milk to ser' oursels.
Lnk. 1951 G. Rae Howe o' Braefoot 90:
That an' a bit shortbreed had to ser us as muckle thocht o' denties till anither New Year.

(2) more gen. and emphaticallv: to satiate, glut, fill one to repletion, lit. and fig. (n.Sc. 1970).Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 92:
He peching on the cawsey lay O' kicks and cuffs weel sair'd.
Abd. c.1812 Bards Bon-Accord (Walker 1887) 328:
They saired them o' fighting wi' very few blows.
Abd. 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer i. xx.:
I s' warran' a day o't 'll sair her.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 343:
I saw them like swinies waumlin' amo' ither, an' that sair't me o' mity cheese.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 16:
an' tho it maun be saired by ither words
gin they hinna the lear they're but dautit cage-birds
freed tae fend wi the sanshach craws
that ken the wun's airt afore it blaws;
thae winsome craturies peeplin a tune
'ill be an houlet's denner gey soon.
Abd. 1995 Flora Garry Collected Poems 13:
Sair't o the hull of Bennygoak
An scunnert o the ferm,
Gin I bit daar't, gin I bit daar't,
I'd flit the comin term.

(3) (i) pa.p., ppl.adj. saired, sairt, having one's appetite satisfied, replete, full up (of food or drink), satiated, sated (Sc. 1808 Jam., sair'd; Sh., n.Sc., Ags., Per., wm. and s.Sc. 1970); fig. given one's deserts. Comb. Ill-sair'd, not having a sufficiency of food at a meal (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1970); phr. to be cheap saired o'd, to get one's deserts, to serve one right (em.Sc. (a) 1970).Edb. 1772 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 93:
But gin a birkie's owr weel sair'd, It [drink] gars him aften stammer.
Fif. 1806 A. Douglas Poems 148:
Whan sair'd o' beef, they get a roast O' dainty rare sweet mutton.
Sc. a.1830 The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter in Child Ballads No. 110 M.xxxiii.:
I wud sup file I am saerd.
m.Lth. 1857 Misty Morning 106:
He was sair'd, tae my mind, when the doctor gied him sic a guid hearty chirtin'.
Ags. 1892 Bards Ags. Reid (1897) 203:
Then when we're saired an' mither lays The tea things in their place.
Abd. 1901 Banffshire Jnl. (19 March) 3:
He “chawed” till his chafts were sair, and yet gaed to bed half-saired.
Abd. 1927 E. S. Rae Hansel fae Hame 51:
He's suppert an' slockit, an' sairt for a day.

(ii) vbl.n. sairin, -an, †sairn (Slg. 1862 D. Taylor Poems 11), one's fill (of food, or in gen.) (Sh., ne.Sc., Ags., Lnk. 1970), “the quantity of turnips, straw or hay, etc., given to cattle at one time” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 147), fig. one's “bellyful”, enough to satiate one, enough of something unpleasant as not to wish for more, a thorough beating or trouncing (Sc. 1825 Jam.; ne.Sc. 1970), one's deserts. Comb. hert-sairan, enough to fill one's heart with joy, mirth, etc., one's heart's content.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 16:
You coud na look your sairing at her face, It was so cheary an' so fu' of grace.
Sh. 1815 Shetland Advert. (6 Jan. 1862):
Dee slokkin o' tae, an dy sairin o' butter an bread.
Sc. 1817 Scott Rob Roy xxv.:
I hae been waur mistrysted than if I were set to gie ye baith your ser'ing o't.
Ags. 1827 Justiciary Reports (1829) 94:
She had a tea-spoon — said “she would let them taste it — that she had had her ser'ing o't before she cam but the house.”
Slg. c.1830 J. Love Antiq. Notes (1910) II. 111:
The Lairds cam' first and got a drap frae the barrel; syne the Commonalty got their sairings.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie iv.:
For baith beast an' bodie aye gat their full sairin.
Per. 1864 J. M. Peacock Poems 25:
Though we a' may frown or fret, We ha'ena gat our ser'ns.
Bnff. 1893 Dunbar's Works (S.T.S.) III. 98:
There is a mode of expression at the present day in Banffshire, “He lewch his hert sairan.”

5. intr. To be satisfactory, to gain approval, pass muster.Peb. 1836 J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 27:
Their sermons winna ser' wi' me.

6. To treat, adopt a certain attitude towards (Sh., Abd., Ags., Kcb. 1970). Also in colloq. Eng.Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (June) 288:
I think the hale was nonsense, and sae I saired it, for I smashed it into seven pieces.
Abd. 1879 G. MacDonald Sir Gibbie xxii.:
No your enemy, an' sair a bairn like that!

II. n. One's fill, enough, satiety (ne.Sc., Ags., Rxb. 1970). Cf. sairin above, I. 4.(3) (ii).Sc. 1812 Popular Opinions 79:
And here's the kebbuck, tak' your sair.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar Whiff o' Doric 15:
Ye wad'a' thocht some had nae ser'.

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"Ser v.1, n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 25 May 2024 <>



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