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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

ILL-FAURED, adj. Also -faurd, -fared, -fa'ard, -fawrd, -farr(e)d, -fa(u)rt, -faart, -fawrt; ull- (Abd.). Compar. wa(u)r-, ¶ill-faurder, superl. warst-. [′ɪl′fǫ:rd, -t, Abd. ′ʌl′fɑ:rt]

1. Of looks, appearance, etc.: ill-favoured, ugly, uncomely, unbecoming. Gen.Sc. Adv. ill-fa(u)rdly.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.-T. Misc. (1876) I. 82:
O kend my minny I were wi' you, Ill-fardly wad she crook her mou'.
Lnk. a.1779 D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 13:
A gay we'll gawn fallow, right spruch, amaist like an ill-far'd gentleman.
Kcb. 1814 W. Nicholson Poems 90:
But twine thee o' thy trappin's a', Thou'rt war fa'ur'd than a plucked daw.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xiv.:
Ay, ay; a black cast to a' their ill-faur'd faces.
Slk. 1818 Hogg Hunt of Eildon (1874) 234:
She didna only change me intil an ill-faurd he-sow, but guidit me shamefully ill a' the time I was a goossy.
Ayr. 1826 Galt Last of the Lairds xi.:
But whereas is an ill-farr'd beginning to a billydoo.
Abd. 1881 W. Paul Past & Present 127:
He insisted on my looking at his leg which he said was “very ill faurt twa or three days syne but wasna that oonbonny noo.” The country people here used to call a healthy wound a “bonny sair.”
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 87:
There's naething worse faured than a curler comin' oot for his first spell wi' an auld scrunt o' a cowe.
Rxb. 1917 Kelso Chron. (9 Sept.) 2:
It was a shilpit, illfaured gude-for-nathing kind o' brute — he offered me tenpence for't.
Abd. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 62:
Wi an ull-faurt foumart o' a cat, as cankert as 'ersel.
ne.Sc. 1996 Phyllis J. Goodall in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 11:
Ah'm nae aat ull-faurt,
Ah suppose Ah cwid get a lad
Aat wid tak mi ti
Rose-reid cities
Half es aul es time.
Abd. 2004:
Miss Turra 2004 wis a nae ill-faart quine.

2. In regard to behaviour or speech: ill-mannered, impudent, ill-tempered, coarse (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ork., Abd., Ags. 1958). Also used adv.Sc. 1816 Scott Antiquary xxxviii.:
He, the ill-fa'ard loon! . . . there wad hae been little speerings o't had Dustansnivel kenn'd it was there.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 64:
The warst fard language at a tinkler's feast, Compar'd wi' his, for court-bred style, wad past.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin xxxiv.:
The blacksmith, wha . . . let aff an ill-faured aith at times.
Dmb. 1894 D. Macleod Past Worthies 173:
Did ye, ye ill-faured loon, an' frail stoop o' the Kirk, gang and tell Mrs Malagrowther that I was oft'ner than ance o'erta'en wi' liquor?
Bnff. 1949:
It's ill-faurt tae floan afore folk.

3. Of things: hateful, causing abhorrence, obnoxious, unpleasant, objectionable (Kcb. 1896 Crockett Grey Man viii.; Cai., Kcb. 1958); of a blow: hard, severe, serious. Irreg. compar. ill-faurder.Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 191:
Yon's Jock o' the Meer-Cleuch; he has gotten an ill-faur'd flaip.
Sc. 1821 Scott Pirate v.:
Ill-fa'red tools they had in their hands, whaaling knives they ca'ed them, but they looked as like whingers as ae bit airn can look like anither.
Rxb. 1847 J. Halliday Rustic Bard 149:
O bleart, ill-faurt, frem'd fiend, starvation — An empty purse.
Per. 1887 R. Cleland Inchbracken 229:
It was an ill-faured trick o' ye, at ye wad expose our shame.

4. Poor in quality, unattractive, “scruffy” (Sh., Ork., Abd., Ags. 1958). Adv. ill-faurdly, -faurtly, “meanly, in a scurvy or shabby manner” (Sc. 1825 Jam.).Abd. 1787 A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess iii. ii.:
Wha has a heart sae borne down wi' wae, Will but ill-far'dly owther sing or say.
Sc. 1806 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 696:
Trouth my dow ye'll ablins hae Some ill-faurder bodes ere beltin'.
wm.Sc. 1854 Laird of Logan 190:
Just spier at Andrew Brochan, gif I didna ken Goodie barley frae Glentirran, boiling in the Kale-pot; — aye, as it came tum'lin up, says I — there ye go, Goodie — is that your ill-faur'd frae Glentirran?

5. Of movement: clumsy, bungling (Sc. 1825 Jam.). Also used adv. and in adv. form ill-faurdly, clumsily, ungracefully (Ib.).Abd. 1895 J. Davidson Old Abd. Ministers 84:
They're maybe a kin' of illfaurt honest for a fortnicht afore the sacrament and a day or twa efter, but for ony ither time I wudna lippen them wi' muckle.

6. Of colour, dress, etc.: shabby, faded (Lnk. 1919 T.S.D.C. III. 23; Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 152; Ork., Abd. 1958).

7. Unlucky, of bad omen (Sh. 1958).Rnf. 1880 W. Grossart Parish of Shotts 186:
On asking the name of the house of her birth, she said it was an “ill-faurt” name.

[O.Sc. ill-fa(i)rde, uncomely, from 1540. Ill, adv. + ppl.adj. from Faur, Eng. favoured. Cf. P.L.D. § 70.1. and Weel.]

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"Ill-faured adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Jan 2023 <>



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