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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GIRD, n.1, v.1 Also gir(r); gjird (Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 102), ger (Ayr. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.), and corrupt garrard (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). [Sc. gɪrd, em., wm.Sc. + gɪr; Sh. gjɪrd]

I. n. 1. A hoop of wood (gen. hazel or osier) or of metal, esp. for a barrel or tub. Gen.Sc. Also fig. Also in n.Eng. dial.Bte. 1725 Rothesay T.C. Rec. (1935) II. 681:
Item payed to John Lyon smith for makeing iron girds and handle to the towns furlet . . . 00. 15. 00.
Abd. 1735 Abd. Estate (S.C. 1946) 53:
To Sand 2d. from Do. and 2 Girds for Barrells. 2d.
Ork. 1757 Session Papers, Galloway v. Morton (12 Nov.) 100:
He has seen the Girds or Hoops burst of the Half-barrel.
Ayr. 1796 Burns Cooper o' Cuddy i.:
The Cooper o' Cuddy came here awa, He ca'd the girrs out o'er us a'. [cf. Phr. (4).]
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxv.:
Scarce a chield that had ever hammered gird upon tub but was applying for it.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. xviii.:
Because my resolution was girded as it were with a gir of brass and adamant.
Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) i.:
He followed out his lawful trade of a cooper, making girrs for the herring barrels and so on.
Ags. 1887 A. D. Willock Rosetty Ends 36:
A borrowed washin'-tub aff which a gird had fa'en.
Gall. 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 16:
The toun at yae time had a verra auncient an curious Punch-Bowl. . . . It wus made o' oak stabs, wi bress girds on't.

Comb.: †girr-man, a man who makes girds, a cooper.Lnk. 1728 W. Grossart Shotts (1880) 66:
To the girr-man of the Shotts.

2. A child's hoop. Gen.Sc. Dim. girdie. Also in n.Eng. dial.w.Lth. 1750 W. Hamilton Poems 38:
Laughs, and toys, and gamesome fights; Jolly dance, and girds, and flights.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish xviii.:
Instead of their innocent plays with girs and shintys, and sicklike, they must go ranking like soldiers.
Abd. 1851 W. Anderson Rhymes 183:
Ye'll min' how, like birdies, we flew wi' our girdies.
Mry. 1883 F. Sutherland Memories 158:
Oor draigins, girds, an' ba's, langsyne, Are scatter'd tae the wun.
e.Dmf. 1912 J. & R. Hyslop Langholm 716:
Very often the missing student was found busy at the marbles or the paips, or was “rinnin his gird” down the Kirkwynd.
Slg. 1932 W. D. Cocker Poems 18:
An' fain would flee a kite, Or play at bools, or treel a girr.
wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 148:
Suddenly, Rob erupted round the side of the bothy into the yard, steering his hoop and yelling an accompaniment to the hum of the gird on the hard-baked earth.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 6:
And you ran about with a gird, a cleek. When we went to school we had to walk 3 miles going and 3 miles coming back.
Hebr. 1998 Peter MacNab Tobermory Teuchter 56:
We had intricate games such as marbles, and of course the perennial football, for which we had no playing field, and we trundled 'reelers', hoops, girrs, or whatever - some kind of iron hoop pushed and guided by the crook on a long iron rod.
m.Sc. 1998 Ian Cameron The Jimmy Shand Story 8:
He settled for a gird - a wonderful contraption fuelled by the imagination. A gird was a metal hoop guided and propelled by a cleek, a hand-held metal rod hooked at one end which engaged the gird low down at the rear.

3. One of the set of hoops formerly used to expand a lady's skirt or petticoat.Edb. 1850 J. Smith Hum. Sc. Stories 52:
Unmercifu' big girrs roun' their bits o' petticoaties.
Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 10:
Hoop'd roun' wi' girs till ye can hardly striddle.
Hdg. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 246:
As wenches girrs, in twa-three years, They'll common be!

4. A hoop-shaped frame used when carrying two pails (Bwk.3 1954). See Frame, n., 1.Sc. 1824 S. E. Ferrier Inheritance I. iv.:
She was encompassed by a girr or hoop supporting two stoups, a piece of machinery altogether peculiar to Scotland.
Sc. 1841 Whistle-Binkie 69:
'Twas just i' the gloamin' as our kimmer Nell, Wi' her stoups and her girr, was gaun down to the well.
Ags. 1912 A. Reid Forfar Worthies 74:
A few people had a “neck bit” . . . others used a “gird”, or hoop, into which they stepped, with the cans taut on either side.
Sc. 1931 J. Lorimer Red Sergeant i.:
Oh, I just slippit past the wifie when she gaed wi' her gird tae the wall.

5. A landing net used in angling (Abd.21 1916).

6. A saddle-girth (Per. 1825 Jam.; Fif. 1867 Ib.). Cf. Girdin, n., 1.Sc. 1701 Foulis Acc. Bk. (S.H.S.):
Oct. 14. to Jamie Gray to give tonie to get a duzn buckles for girds. . 0. 8. 0.
Abd. 1705 Abd. Jnl. N. & Q. VI. 268:
26 March — For a neu cover to my saidle 1½ libs; and for taggs, girds, etc. to it, 12s.

7. Phrs.: (1) gird-an-girns, see Girn, n.2, 1.; †(2) to break Yeel's gird, see quot.; (3) to ca' one's (the) gird (girr), see Ca', v.1; (4) to cast a gird, lit. = to lose one of the hoops (of a barrel); fig. = to give birth to an illegitimate child (more usu. to cast a lagen-gird, see Laggen) (Sh.10 1954); cf. end-hooping s.v. En, n., 7; (5) to cut (someone's) girds, see Cut, v., II. Phrs.; (6) to slip the girr, = (4) fig., see Slip.(2) ne.Sc. 1881 W. Gregor Folk -Lore 157:
Children were warned against crying on Christmas Day. If a child did cry, it was said “to break Yeel's gird,” and that there would be much crying during the year with the child.
(4) Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 55:
. . . where not a ray Of ardent heat may spoil my whissle-pipe, Or cause my singing-keg to cast a gird.
Sc. 1802 Scott Minstrelsy II. 109:
Has your wine barrels cast the girds?
Mry. 1824 J. Cock Hamespun Lays 137:
She'll ablins cast anither gird, Gin ye creep near her.

II. v. 1. To put hoops on a barrel, etc. (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.10, ne. Sc., Ags.18 rare, Fif.14, Rxb.4 1954): to “shoe” a wheel. Hence girder, a cooper (Lth. 1825 Jam.). Also in Yks. dial.Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet vii.:
The girded cask of brandy that ye drank and ne'er thought of paying for it.
Abd. 1827 J. Imlah May Flowers 121:
O! never drouth — my boozin' bowl! Thy girded ribs shall gizzen.
Slk. 1829 Hogg Shepherd's Cal. I. 229:
One evening in June, John Jardine, the cooper, chanced to come to Knowe-back, in the course of his girding and hooping peregrinations.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 179:
“Donald Cooper, carle,” quo' she, “Can ye gird my coggie?”
Bwk. 1856 G. Henderson Pop. Rhymes 88:
He's faither's better, cooper o' Fogo, At girding a barrel or making a coggie.
Gsw. 1873 A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 24:
Let Rab, the Smith, e'en girr the wheel.
Ags. 1892 Brechin Advertiser (22 Nov.) 3:
We'll fa' in wi' quiet denty auld cooper Mathew, girdin' auld washin' tubs an' chawin' tobacco.

Phrs.: †(1) gird the cogie, n., see quot. and Yird; †(2) hoopers and girders, the name of a tune.(1) Abd. 1890 Sc. N. & Q. IV. 26:
Another game, similar in form [to Jingoring], used to be acted out by boys, and was known as “Gird the Cogie.”
(2) Sc. 1824 Scott Redgauntlet, Letter xi.:
He . . . could play weel on the pipes; he was famous at “Hoopers and Girders.”

2. To strap the saddle-girth on a horse (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), gird). Cf. Girdin, n., 1. Obs. in Eng. since 17th c.Sc. a.1740 Tinclarian Dr Mitchel's Letter to the King of France (Broadsheet):
A Fycking Meir should be well girded.

3. To encircle with some form of band, to fasten, tie, link. Also with tee and up. Also fig.Abd. c.1790 G. Smith Miscellaneous Pieces (1824) 142:
The door was slightly girded tee, Wi' an auld tow and conter-tree.
Mry. 1806 in J. Cock Simple Strains 93:
Fu' mony a canty wordy is ther', there, A' rank and file, and girdet till a hare.
Ayr. 1868 J. K. Hunter Artist's Life 89:
I looted down, girded up the first sheaf o' corn.

[O.Sc. has gird, v., in sense 1. above, from 1375, n., from 1513, girr, girth or hoop, from 1538, variants of girth, O.N. gjǫrð, girdle, saddle-girth. The final aspirate has been either dropped or unaspirated to d: see under D, section 4.]

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"Gird n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jul 2024 <>



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