Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SMEAR, v., n. Also smeer (Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 14), †smeir, smaer (Ags. 1853 W. Blair Aberbrothock xvii.), smair-. Sc. forms and usages. [smi:r, em.Sc. (a) sme:r]

I. v. 1. As in Eng. Intensive forms smairie, to besmear, beslabber (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), smeerich (Abd. 1970), id. Hence smeerichin, slovenly, messy (Mry., Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C.). Combs.: smear-dock(en), smair-doken, smeird-, the mercury-goosefoot, Chenopodium bonus Henricus, used in folk-medicine in ointments for itch (Mry. 1839 G. Gordon Flora Mry. 11); toum-smeared, of buttered bread: spread with the thumb (Ork. 1970). See Thoum. Sc. 1775 J. Moncrief Receipts 12:
Called in Latin Bonus Henricus, others call it the Smear-docken.
Ags. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 XI. 212:
Milk-thistle, dock, smeardock.
Abd. 1877 W. Alexander Rural Life 12:
A slip or two of “smeird docken”, . . in respect of sore fingers or broken shins.
Ags. 1880 Arbroath Guide (9 Oct.) 4:
Oh! to think that gowkit chiel Has smairiet a' our rosy Jean.

2. Specif., to treat a sheep's fleece with a compound of tar and grease to protect it against damp and parasites (Sc. 1825 Jam.), obs. since the introduction of sheep-dip. Derivs. smearer, a person who smears sheep; smeary, a sheep which has been smeared (Slk. 1825 Jam.), “a person all besmeared” (Id.). Combs. smearing-bught, -house, the pen or shed in which sheep were smeared (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.); smearing-stool, “a stool with a spoked bottom, so as to admit the legs of sheep, to keep them steady during the operation of smearing” (s.Sc. 1825 Jam.). Hist. Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s. (S.H.S.) 59:
He had stollen, smeired and disposed upon ane hoge shup.
Dmf. 1755 W. A. J. Prevost Annals Dmf. Dales (1954) 87:
He is to maintain the herd at Greatmoor and the meat to the smearers until all the sheep on the farm are smeared.
e.Lth. 1794 G. Buchan-Hepburn Agric. E. Lth. 103:
All the sheep are smeared, i.e. salved, immediately after the harvest, at the rate of two pounds Tron weight of butter to a Scotch pint of tar.
s.Sc. 1814 Scott Waverley xlv.:
The hovel, which seemed to be intended for what is called, in the pastoral counties of Scotland, a smearing-house.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck vii.:
Ere ever a smeary's clute clattered on't.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 425:
Those who wish to dip into moorland manners, should attend a sheep-smearing bout.
Sc. 1844 H. Stephens Bk. Farm III. 1117:
The sheep should be laid on the smearingstool.
Ayr. 1844 Ayrshire Wreath 45:
They might have been taken to the smearing-bught.
Sc. 1884 United Presbyt. Mag. (April) 156:
He was to maintain the smearers of the sheep.
Slk. 1915 H. J. C. Clippings from Clayboddie (1921) 142:
The “smearin'-hoose” is still to the fore on many farms.
Sc. 1954 Scots Mag. (April) 37:
Staying south of the Border throughout the autumn and early winter, harvesting and smearing sheep.

II. n. 1. A preparation of tar and oil, etc. for smearing sheep. Cf. I. 2. Peb. 1802 C. Findlater Agric. Peb. 190 note:
He proposes a smear composed of butter, train oil, and turpentine.

2. In dim. form smeerich, a thin layer or spread (Abd. 1921 T.S.D.C., a smeerich o butter; Inv., ne.Sc. 1970).

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"Smear v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 26 Sep 2021 <https://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/smear>

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