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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GAIRY, n.1 Also garry (Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 56). A vertical outcrop of rock, esp. on a hillside, a crag (m., s.Sc. 1869 Athenaeum (13 March) 382, Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 26, rare). Cf. Gerrock, n.2 [′gere]Gall. 1824 “Cincinnatus Caledonius” Lights & Shadows 182:
The Fairies. . . . Their green dress — their gambols among glens and gairies — and their feats about Halloween — afforded much amusement to our Scottish ancestors.
Kcb. 1895 Crockett Moss-Hags xxxix.:
As I came to the little gairy above the trees I looked down, and from the verge of it I saw the strangest contrivance.
Kcb. 1898 Crockett Standard-Bearer xiv.:
The officers that wad keep a man frae brewin' his decent wormfu', or at least gar him tak' the bother o' doin' it . . . on some gairy-face instead o' openly on his kitchen floor.
Dmf. 1899 J. Shaw in Country Schoolmaster (ed. Wallace) 339:
A precipice they aften name a “gairy”.
Kcb. 1901 Crockett Cinderella xliii.:
At last beneath a “gairy” of rock, with the green ivy pouring out of every crevice and crawling laboriously up the perpendicular face, they paused.

[The immediate origin is uncertain but prob. ultimately from Gael. garbh, rough, rugged, stony. Cf. the river-name Garry.]

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"Gairy n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Sep 2023 <>



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