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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.

SNIRT, v., n. Also deriv. snirtle (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 172; Sc. 1887 Jam.). [′snɪrt(əl)]

I. v. 1. To snigger, to make a noise through the nose when attempting to stifle laughter, to sneer (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl.; Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Rxb. 1942 Zai; Sh., Slg., Lth., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1971). Also in Eng. dial. Phrs.: to snirt(le) (with)in one's sleeve, to snigger surreptitiously; to snirt out a-laughing, to burst out into laughter, after having unsuccessfully tried to stifle it (Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 196). Used exclam. in 1826 quot.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 95:
Now let her snirt and fyke her fill.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. vi.:
Tho' his little heart did grieve . . . He feign'd to snirtle in his sleeve.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 112:
The Dominie . . . fain wad fa' a laughing; He snirtles wi' his neb and snirks.
Dmf. 1826 A. Cunningham Paul Jones I. vii.:
Tee hee, quo' ane, and snirt, quo' anither.
Slk. a.1835 Hogg Tales (1876) 282:
Blushing and snirting, and bits o' made coughs, as if to keep down a thorough guffaw.
Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 38:
The young were snirtin' in their sleeves.
Ayr. 1887 J. Service Dr. Duguid 26:
Her aul' worl' cracks and stories aften mak me snirtle and laugh to mysel'.
m.Lth. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 124:
His naisty, smudgin, snirtin way.
Lnk. 1910 C. Fraser Glengonnar 49:
The ither twal fairly snirted oot when he was tell't that his nose was like the sharp en' o' a pennyworth o' cheese.
Rxb. 1958 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. 25:
You heard of riftin', bowkin'; snirtin' and snorkin'.

2. intr. To snort, to breathe sharply and jerkily through the nose (Lth., Dmf., Rxb. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in Eng. dial.; tr. to eject through the nose, to sneeze out.Slk. 1801 Hogg Sc. Pastorals 22:
When weazels snirtit frae the dykes.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong R. Rankine 12:
Rub the nap aff his breeks, as he snirted and rubbed.
Ags. 1930 A. Kennedy Orra Boughs xx.:
He snirtled in an ecstasy of disgust.
Ags. 1933 W. Muir Mrs. Ritchie v.:
Mary, still choking, snirted tea over the table.
em.Sc. 1988 James Robertson in Joy Hendry Chapman 52 71:
'Come the keek o day, an the first bummer gaed aff - loud eneuch, ye'd hae thocht, tae wauken the deid. But it didna steir our man - na, na, he juist snochert an snirtit an keepit on sleepin. ... '
Fif. 1991 Tom Hubbard in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 142:
That snirtled doun my neb at the fowk I'd 'save',
That racked my lug ti some haveril i the howff:

II. n. 1. A snigger, a suppressed laugh (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.; Slg., Lth., sm.Sc., Rxb. 1971). Also in n.Eng. dial.Ags. 1834 A. Smart Rhymes 28:
The grin of pale-faced envy, and the mere Sardonic ‘snirtle', one can well despise.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong R. Rankine 23:
Geordie replied wi' a snirt that made Leezie a thousan' times waur.
Ayr. 1901 G. Douglas Green Shutters vi.:
Snirt, a continuous gurgle in the throat and nose.

2. A snort (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).Edb. 1791 J. Learmont Poems 2:
They gang by ye wi' sic a huff, An' pridefu' caper, snirt an' snuff.
Sc. 1825 R. Chambers Illust. Waverley 18:
The twangs, soughs, wheezes, coughs, snirtles, and bleatings, peculiar to the various parish ministers twenty miles round.
Rnf. 1876 J. Nicholson Kilwuddie 70:
Sally, wha'd mair sense a hantle Than her maister, gied a snirt.

3. An insignificant diminutive person, esp. a child (Cld. 1825 Jam.), an impudent youngster, an upstart (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Lth., Rxb. 1971).Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 152:
A siller't snirt makes quickest sail To Hymen's port.

[Imit. Cf. Eng. snort and Snort, n.2, 3.]

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"Snirt v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 27 Jun 2022 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/snirt>

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