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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

VIRR, n.1, v., adv. Also vir; ‡wir. [vɪr]

I. n. 1. Vigour, energy, briskness, gusto, force, impetuosity (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Mry. 1930, wir; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Ork., Abd., Kcd., Ags., Per., Lth. 1973). Hence virrless, without vigour.Abd. 1738 Caled. Mag. (1788) 498:
They yowph'd the Ba' frae dike to dike Wi' unco' speed and virr.
Abd. 1748 R. Forbes Ajax 4:
[I] slocken'd out that gleed, Wi' muckle virr.
Dmf. 1808 J. Mayne Siller Gun 35:
Wi' double vir the drummers drum.
Sc. 1828 Leesome Brand in Child Ballads No. 15. A. xvi.:
To carry them baith wi might and virr.
Ags. 1842 Whistle-Binkie 92:
Bedeen the spokes she eident tirled, Wi' virr the rim an' spinnle span.
e.Lth. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheep-head 246:
With terrible virr and energy.
Abd. 1923 in H. Beaton Benachie 128:
Syne ta the wark wi' muckle vir.
Sc. 1947 D. Young Braird o' Thristles 14:
Breckans and maithie yowes and virrless stots.
Bnff. 1958 Banffshire Jnl. (28 Jan.):
The water-wheel that binnert on wi' sic virr.
Sc. 1983 John McDonald in Joy Hendry Chapman 37 44:
tak tent o the ae life threidin
frae aiglet tae aiglet, the ae life
dirlin in ilka pynt - a pynt whaur
stentless virr comes fair saucht,
whaur life comes daith and daith life.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 69:
Words arena horses, nor auld men
hirplin, hoastin, tuim o virr.
Gin I caa, see them rin!
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 30:
Up tae noo, yer Eminence, ma virr his won me ten thoosan medals. A fu hunner o them I cairry preened tae ma jaiket, as ye see.

2. The noise made by an object in swift motion, a whirr (n.Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis).

II. v. To move or walk with force (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 204).

III. adv. By force (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 204).

[O.Sc. virre, = I., 1., c.1575, of echoic orig., from the noise made by any vigorous activity (cf. I. 2.). Cf. Birr, n.1, Birr, n.2]

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"Virr n.1, v., adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



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