Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SMIRR, n.1, v. Also smir, smur(r); smirn (orig. from the vbl.n. smir(ri)n). Derivs. smurrach, smurack, -agh, smirrle. [smɪr, smʌr]

I. n. 1. A fine rain, drizzle, occas. also of sleet or snow (Ayr. 1808 Jam.), freq. in phr. a smirr o' rain. Gen. (exc. I.) Sc., also in Eng. dial. Dims. smurack, -agh, id., a summer shower (Kcd. 1825 Jam.), smirrle, id. (m.Sc. 1970). Ayr. 1822  H. Ainslie Pilgrimage 156:
There was a fine pirl out frae the Wast, wi' a sma' smurr o' rain.
Ayr. 1866  Trans. Highl. Soc. 27:
Steady moderate showers or thick drizzling smirrs.
Kcb. 1896  Crockett Grey Man xiv.:
A smurr of rain began to fall.
Arg. 1896  N. Munro Lost Pibroch (1935) 23:
A thin smirr of warm rains fell on the glen like smoke.
Kcd. a.1914  Mearns Leader (23 June 1950):
Grey mist ayont Garvock, sma' smurr on the farran.
Cai. 1922  J. Horne Poems 52:
In smirr an' hail an' stoor.
wm.Sc. 1956  Daily Mail (12 May):
Winter was coming to Mull on the smirr from the sea.
Rxb. 1961  W. Landles Penny Numbers 4:
A smir o' rain was fa-in.
Abd. 1963  Huntly Express (1 Feb.) 8:
A smirr o' sleet an' sna'.
Per. 1965  Perthshire Adv. (14 Aug.) 14:
The trips up the burn in the soft smirr.

II. v. 1. Of rain (or snow): to fall gently and softly in fine clouds, to drizzle (Rnf., Ayr. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1910 C. C. Russell People & Lang. 41). Gen.Sc. Also in Eng. dial. Vbl.n. smir(ri)n, a fine drizzle. Mry. 1790  Aberdeen Mag. 31:
At play, 'mid the snaw, While youden-drift smurrachs alang.
Arg. 1898  N. Munro J. Splendid xxviii.:
Wherever rains are smirring.
Per. 1904  E.D.D.:
‘Had we rain last night?' ‘Ay, it began to smirn aboot 5 o'clock'. We had a bit smirn last night.
Ayr. 1912  G. Cunningham Verse 69:
It is smurrin' o' rain.
Sc. 1924  Swatches o' Hamespun 65:
An' sma reid bird, when the blash smurs by.
Abd. 1926  L. Coutts Lyrics 67:
Smirrin ice hid stoppt the mill.
wm.Sc. 1929  R. Crawford Quiet Fields 37:
Wee drummie feet o' rain wis smirrin' On leaf an' leaf ower a' the glen.
m.Sc. 1954  N. B. Morrison Following Wind xiii.:
A smirn of rain which wetted his windscreen.

2. Rarely tr.: to wet as with drizzle. Dmb. 1931  A. J. Cronin Hatter's Castle iii. iv.:
A cold fine rain smirred the dripping panes.

[Orig. uncertain. Poss. imit., with influence from Smore, n., Smuir, n., 2.(2).]

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"Smirr n.1, v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Nov 2019 <>



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