Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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THIR, pron., adj. Also †thirr (Sc. 1706 Seafield's Letters (S.H.S.) 177), †thire, †their; thur; and, in sense I. when used predicatively, thirs (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.) poss. arising from orig. thir is. [ðɪr]

I. pron. The pl. of this, these (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth., Ayr. 1915–26 Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; Rxb. 1942 Zai; m. and s.Sc. 1972), also in n.Eng. dial. but obsol. or obs. in n. Sc. Sc. 1705  Seafield's Letters (S.H.S.) 165:
There are of those to be laid aside who will be for the succession, and some of thire I know.
Ayr. 1817  H. Campbell Wanderer 21:
O thir ye now sae much disdain.
Abd. 1824  G. Smith Douglas 18:
In kittle times like thir the man might pass.
Kcb. 1861  R. Quinn Heather Lintie 41:
But how thir cam' did I incline, I weel cou'd tell.
s.Sc. 1873  D.S.C.S. 185:
When ‘thir' is used absolutely without a noun following, it generally becomes ‘thirs'; ‘Thirs is meyne.'
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Merry Men ii.:
They're grand braws, thir that we hae gotten.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick 88–89:
Tod Lowrie says thir's kittle times for property in land.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters xxvii.:
I'll make a patch-work quilt o' thir!
Sc. 1923  R. Macrailt Hoolachan 28:
Thir's my best Sawbath breeks, ye ken.
Edb. 1928  A. D. Mackie In Two Tongues 30:
Thir's no the bogles That will haunt me.
Gsw. 1971  M. Burgess Day before Tomorrow 15:
I've read thur, see.

II. adj. These (Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; m. and s.Sc. 1972). Freq. in the 18th c. in legal use in the formula thir presents, the present document. Gsw. 1700  Gsw. Charters (1906) II. 285:
Provideing allwayes that thir presents do no wayes prejudge the said burgh of Dumbartoun.
Sc. 1706  R. Wodrow Early Letters (S.H.S.) 287:
By insisting any further on thir heads.
Sc. 1720  Caled. Mercury (2 Sept.):
Thir Lands to be Sold, have been considerably let down in the Rent.
Bnff. 1729  Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. I. 44:
In witness whereof I have subscribed thir presents.
Sc. 1776  Outlaw Murray in
Child Ballads No. 305 A. xxii.:
‘Thir landis are mine,' the Outlaw said.
Ayr. 1790  Burns Tam o' Shanter 155:
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair.
Sc. 1814  Scott Waverley xxxix.:
The laird there bought a' thir beasts frae me.
Slk. 1818  Hogg B. of Bodsbeck i.:
I heard her wi' thir lugs it's i' my ain head.
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Underwoods 109:
But a' thir things are an emp'y sang.
Mry. 1914  H. J. Warwick Tales 135:
Ye were a richt nickum o' a loon in thir days.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 5:
Thir braes hed seen unco sichts.
Sc. 1931  I. Burnett The Ravens I. iii.:
Thir MacDonalds are ettling for a quarrel.

[O.Sc. thir, these, = I., II., 1375, North. Mid.Eng. thir, id., of doubtful orig. Freq. explained as from O.N. þeir, they, but there are phonological and semantic difficulties about this view (see N.E.D. s.v.). Another conjecture might be that the word is a contracted form of Mid.Eng. thā er, those are, partly from the freq. confusion of North. Mid.Eng. þās, these, with þā, those (see Thae), which ended in the transference of þās to that as its pl. form. After the coalescence of er with thā, speakers would feel that the verb had been omitted and would add the North. form is, hence thirs and, tautologically, thirs is in 1873 quot. under I.]

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"Thir pron., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2019 <>



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