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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

'EAR, 'EER, n. Gen.Sc. forms of Eng. year (e.Dmf. 1912 J. and R. Hyslop Langholm 641, 'eer; Abd. 1928 “P. Gray” Making of a King 55, 'eer). [i:r]Rxb. 1874 Border Treasury (8 Aug.):
In many parts of Scotland, and particularly on Tweedside, the word ‘year' is pronounced ‘ear'.

Sc. usages:

1. Sing. used for pl. with numerals. Known to Bnff., Abd., Ags., Fif., Slg., Kcb. and Rxb. correspondents 1942.m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 21:
It's seeventy-sax 'ear came Aprile That I cam here frae Auchentyle.
Lth. 1920 A. Dodds Songs of the Fields 7:
It's six 'ear since I saw him last — Ay, six 'ear past the Dalkeith fair.
Abd. 1929 P. Baxter in Scots Mag. (March) 449:
The Strachans had owned and worked that ferm for mair nor two hunder 'ear.

2. Derivs. in which initial y is dropped: (1) 'earaul, eeral', eeril, a one year old animal (Abd.15 1880; Mry.1 1928, eeral; Ork., Bnff., Abd., m.Lth. and Kcb. correspondents 1949); also used attrib.; (2) eerlin, a yearling (Ork.5 1949; Mry.1 1928; Bnff.4 1926; Abd.27 1949; Fif., Lth. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot.; Ayr.4 1928; Kcb.10 1942).(1) Abd.15 1915:
Hiv ye ony eeril stirks for sale? Ay, Aw hiv ae eeril, a quaick.

3. Phr.: up in 'ears = Eng. on in years (Bnff.2, Abd.27, Ags.18, Fif.10, Slg.3, m.Lth.1, Bwk.2, Kcb.10 1949).Dmf. 1831 R. Shennan Tales, etc. 65:
He married Jenny next, and she Was up in ears as weel as he.

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"'ear ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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