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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.

CAR, n.1 Also caur, ker.

As in St.Eng; Sc. forms:Ork. 1952 R. T. Johnston Stenwick Days (1984) 23:
"Thir's a ker comin' doon the road," interrupted Henrietta.
wm.Sc. 1979 Robin Jenkins Fergus Lamont 188:
'Whit wad you say a caur like that cost, Wullie?'
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 5:
Haud yir wheesht, he's no the only yin
To be annoyed by a' the gauns-oot-and-in
And the caurs lined up wheel to wheel ...
m.Sc. 1990 Douglas Lipton in Hamish Whyte and Janice Galloway New Writing Scotland 8: The Day I Met the Queen Mother 69:
Gie's fifty-pence tae watch yir caur or Ah'll stick the heid on it.
Sc. 1991 T. S. Law in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 33:
A whylsin back that wasnae faur
as haednae seen the furst new caur, ...
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 15:
Dick Johnston wants, for safety's sake,
caur lay-bys doun Bridgecastle, ...

Specific Sc. uses, now obs:

1. “A rude cart without wheels for bringing in peats and hay” (w.Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 20); “a sledge, car of peculiar make” (wm.Sc. [1835–1837] Laird of Logan (1868) 491, Note). Obs. in Eng. since 15th cent. (N.E.D.).Ayr. 1773 Boswell Tour to Hebrides (1936) 198:
They also have a few sledges, or cars as they are called in Ayrshire, clumsily made. . . . They are made of two crooked trees. Two ends drag on the ground; two lean on a horse, one on each side, like the [thills] of a cart; and for a good way there are cross bars between them and a back of sticks.

2. In combs.: (1) car-graith, the harness needed for a car; (2) car-pillion, a kind of saddle used on a horse drawing a car. See Pillion; (3) car-pin, a bolt or large nail used in a car, prob. for fixing the body to the drawing-shafts; (4) car-rung, the crossbar under a car (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) C. 41); (5) car-saddle, cursaddle, “the small saddle put on the back of a carriage horse, for supporting the trams or shafts of the carriage” (Sc. 1825 Jam.2). Also cursaddle (Upp. Clydes. Ib.); (6) car-stang, “the shaft of a cart” (Rxb. Ib.; 1923 Watson W.-B., obs.); cf. cairt-stang s.v. Cairt, n.1(1) Rnf. 1748 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) C. 41:
Twa auld Cars and Car-graith.
(2) Dmb. 1817 J. Walker Poems 89:
An' carefully collect some rullions, Like hose, or breeks, or auld carpillions.
(3)Sc. 1746 Lyon in Mourning (S.H.S.) II. 167:
one Iorn carpin and two stepls
(5) Sc. 1769 D. Herd Sc. Songs 294:
A timmer tong, a broken cradle, The pillion of an auld car saddle.

3. A tramcar. Also attrib.Sc. 1994 Herald (18 Oct.)  22:
In pursuit of culture, we found ourselves at the Tramway, the old caur depot on Glasgow's South Side which has become a centre of excellence for really obscure art.
Edb. 1938 Fred Urquhart Time Will Knit (1988) 84:
"I came down in the car with Nell Dippy,"
Gsw. 1972 Molly Weir Best Foot Forward (1974) 79:
Hours later we would come trailing towards the car terminus at Bishopbriggs, with arms full of wilting blue-bells, heels blistered and sore, and queue up patiently for a tramcar,...
Gsw. 1988 George MacDonald Fraser The Sheikh and the Dustbin (1989) 25:
"Ah'd sooner hae a cairter lookin' efter me!" wheezed Uncle. "Heh-heh! Aye or a caur conductor! Ma Goad, ma Goad." "Wheesht, Uncle! Whit'll Mr MacNeill think?"
Gsw. 1993 Margaret Sinclair Soor Plooms and Candy Balls 26:
Liftin' oor wee Danny
Get up oan the caur,
Where are ye goin', Missus?
Says the conductor, face that soor.

[O.Sc. has car, caar, carr, a cart or wagon, earliest quot. c.1470, also car-sadil, cart-saddle, 1496 (D.O.S.T.). For meaning 1 cf. Gael. carr, a dray, a sledge (MacLennan).]

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"Car n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Oct 2022 <>



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