Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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YERB, n. Also yerrib (Uls. 1953 Traynor), yarib (Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 142), yarb (Sc. 1887 Jam.), yirb (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Variant form of Eng. herb (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 238; Ags., Dmf. 1974). See Y, letter, 2.(2). Hence yerbwife, a woman who collects herbs, mainly for medicinal purposes; yirbalist, a seller of herbs, a herbalist (Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 227). s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 36:
To drooket yerbs an' flow'rs how sweet the sun.
Ayr. 1819 Contemp. Burns (Paterson 1840) 246:
The half o' terra firma owre, He trod in quest o' yerb an' flow'r.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 195:
Elf girse — A kind of grass yerbwives find, and give to cattle they conceive injured by elves.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xiv.:
Doctor, you that kens sae weel about the nature of a' kinds o' plants and yirbs.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminiscences 292:
Hoo that foreign yerb it'll sune work me woe.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 19:
A scroochin' sun Had withert girss an' yerbs upon the grun'.

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"Yerb n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Jul 2020 <>



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