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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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


1. (See first quot.)Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms:
Bearer, A person, usually a woman or girl, who formerly carried the coal in baskets from the workings to the shaft, and in many cases up the shaft on ladders to the surface. The bearer was usually the miner's wife or daughter. When not so she was called a “Fremit bearer.”
e.Lth. 1881 J. Sands Sk. of Tranent in Olden Time 31:
The women [carrying up coal from the seam] were called “bearers,” and a hundred weight and a half was considered a fair burden.
Hdg. 1744 Scots Mag. (Jan. 1897) 152:
To James Dick on day with the birer.

Comb.: bearers' way. (See quot.)Sc. 1886 J. Barrowman Sc. Mining Terms 8:
Bearers' way, an underground road or passage along which the bearers carried their burdens.

2. A horizontal bar or support of a piece of furniture, as of a bed, a bedrail (Sh., ne.Sc. 1975). Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 17:
They prappet up the bed wi' a rake and rippling kame, the bearers being broken.

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"Bearer n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2023 <>



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