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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HEERE, n. Also hier, hear, heir, heer, here; hair (Sc. 1748 Caled. Mercury (25 Feb.) A spinning term denoting a length of 600 yards of linen yarn, the sixth part of a hank (Sc. 1808 Jam., heer, hier). Gen. in spinning areas. Also used attrib. [hi:r]Kcd. 1700 J. Anderson Black Book (1843) 125:
She did sell ten or twelve hears tweedlin yarn.
Abd. 1749 Abd. Estate (S.C.) 137:
She is to spin 18 heirs of dry yearn each day and instruct 2 or 3 schollars besides.
Rnf. 1766 W. Hector Judicial Rec. (1876) 252:
The crime of theft, or of reset, of a number of bobbins and some spindles and “heers” of thread belonging to several manufacturers.
Sc. 1799 Prize Essays Highl. Soc. 75:
The yarn most suitable for the Linen manufacture of Scotland, and what will find the readiest market, is from 8 hiers, or 16 cuts of yarn, out of the pound of Flax, to 18 hiers, or 36 cuts.
Ayr. 1823 Galt Entail lxxx.:
Ye might as soon hae tried to mak a dinner o' a hesp o' seven heere yarn, for it was as teugh as the grannie of the cock that craw't to Peter.
Ags. 1893 Brechin Advertiser (31 Oct.) 3:
Sax threads were ca'd a cut, twa cut was a here, an' sax here was a hasp.

Hence †heirin-band, herrin- (Ags. 1808 Jam.), a string dividing cuts or heeres of yarn into separate bundles (Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. X. 189).Abd. 1902 E.D.D.:
See that ye tak' the richt en' o' yer yarn after brakin' the herrin-band, an' nae mak' a snorl.

[O.Sc. her(e), heire, c.1420, hair, 1595, id. Appar. a specialised development of O.E. hǣr, hair.]

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"Heere n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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