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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AULD-FARRANT, —FARRAN, —FARRAND, adj. (See Auld and Farrant for other variant spellings and pronunciations.) [′ɑl(d)′fɑrən(t) + ′fɑrənd]

1. Old-fashioned, of persons or things; antiquated; quaint; droll. Often the senses of 1 and 3 are blended.Sc. 1750 Sc. Magazine 113:
For troth it pleas'd me best, To sit and think on his auldfarran tales, That frae's the dreighest time sae saftly steals.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 26:
They deud no' like this auld farrant neem'.
Mry. 1873 J. Brown Round Table Club 82:
Sic a getherin' o' auld farrant things cuttit oot o' stane.
Abd. 1922 G. P. Dunbar A Whiff o' the Doric 30:
He was crammed tae the noddle wi' aul'-farrant lore.
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 5:
Some o the walthier fairmers had cheenged tae roon bales. Even the squar bales she didna care fur. She cud jist min o the auld-farrant stooks at Clashmore, like Sabbath hauns grippit in prayer at the Kirk.
Ags. 1790 D. Morison Poems 77:
Let Matrons round the ingle meet, . . . An' in a droll auld farran' leet 'Bout fairys crack.
em.Sc. 1991 David Angus in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 66:
Figure o computered babe
Tube-conceivit in the lab?
Naw! A bairn tae leuch an sab;
Yae auld-farrant bairn - no modren -
The ingredient o oor caudron.
Per.(D) 1915 J. Wilson L. Strathearn 202:
Hee'z an auld-faarund cheeld. — He's a quaint old fellow.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) xi.:
In a droll auld-farrant green livery-coat.
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 27:
It was naething. Her heid's fou o auld farrant havers. She daesna ken what she's sayin!
Lnk. 1881 A. Wardrop Midcauther Fair, etc. (1887) 238–239:
The ootside o' Johnnie's wee auld-farrant biggin'.
Uls. (Tyr., Armagh) 1929 Uls.2:
Aul-farrant, old-fashioned, droll.

2. Of children or young people having the ways or the shrewdness of older persons; precocious. Also applied to the words, doings, etc., of such young people.Sc. 1722 W. Hamilton Wallace 263:
John was a cliver and auldfarrand Boy.
Abd.7 1925:
Aul'-farrant — showing wisdom of older heads.
Ags. 1899 D. Buchanan Leisure Lays 61:
Fu' mony a herty lauch I've got At your auld-farrant tricks.
m.Sc. 1870 J. Nicholson Idylls o' Hame 28:
Sic an auld head on young shouthers Disna wag the kintra roun'. Gossips lauch when they forgather At her queer auldfarant ways.
Hdg. 1892 J. Lumsden Sheephead, etc. (2nd ed.) 233:
A little, clever, dwarfish, “auld-farrant,” crow-herd boy ready to be pulled out and set to “haud the horse” when needful.
Ayr. 1822 Galt Sir A. Wylie i.:
He's an auld-farant bairn, and kent a raisin frae a black clock before he had a tooth.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 23:
Auld-farrent — Cunning beyond years.

3. (a) Of persons and their ways, sayings, works, etc., sagacious, prudent, knowing, cunning, clever, witty, ingenious. Often blended in meaning with 1. (b) Of proverbs and the like, as being both old and wise, and of dialect, as being both old-fashioned and expressive.(a) Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems 253:
These People [sc. the Dutch], right auld-faran, will be laith To thwart a Nation, wha with Ease can draw Up ilka Sluce they have, and drown them a'.
Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 97:
Auldfarand. Witty, or clever beyond expectation.
Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xlii.:
This auld man, Ochiltree, is very skeely and auld-farrant about mony things, as the diseases of cows [etc.].
Sc. a.1881 in A. Henderson Scottish Proverbs (1881) 146:
Ye're ower auld-farren to be fleyed wi' bogles.
Cai.(D) 1929 “Caithness Forum” in John o' Groat Jnl. (25 Oct.):
He invented an auld-farran roung-backed chair 'at he could whup his tail oot through 'e roungs fan he sat doon.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 141:
Moff's aul' farran' eneugh no tae mudge till she sees the laird fairly stung.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxii.:
'Deed, Geordie, though I canna but say ye're baith pawkie and auld farrant, it's no to be controversed that ye hae gotten your father's bee in the bonnet.
Uls. 1880 W. H. Patterson Gl. Ant. and Dwn. 3:
Auld-farrant, or Aul-farran, knowing; cunning.

Hence adv. auld-farrantly.s.Sc. 1857 Wilson's Tales of the Borders XI. 6:
Sandy used to listen most attentively, and crack to me very auld-farrantly.
(b) n.Sc. 1778 J. Beattie To Mr Alex. Ross viii.:
Our country leed is far frae barren, 'Tis even right pithy and auldfarren.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) v.:
You never heard sic a cratur for thae auld-farrant sayin's.
w.Dmf. 1908 J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo (2nd ed.) 99:
She wad work her wey roon' to the subject o' coortship and mairrage and the auld-farrant proverbs and coothie sayin's.

4. Of animals, sagacious.Edb. 1866 J. Inglis Poems, A Rural Scene xxxviii.:
“She was a sonsy, fine, auldfarrent beast,” Says the guidwife, “as ever speel'd a brae.”

5. An unusual compar. form occurs, aulder farrant.Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller of Deanhaugh 202:
He has brought a new chum wi' him yonder the night; and gin he's no a' the aulder farrant, they'll hae him bare enough or they're done wi' him.

[See Farrand. Also in north.Eng. dial. aud-farrand, etc.]

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"Auld-farrant adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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