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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

KNUR, n., v. Also (k)nurr, knir(r), nir(r), nyirr, and derivs. (k)norrie, norrow. [(k)nʌr, (k)nɪr; ′(k)nɔre, -o]

I. n. 1. A lump, bump, a weal or contusion resulting from a blow (Abd. 1825 Jam., (k)norrie; Ork. 1960).Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 128:
When cropping her husband's head, she remarked on the “norrows” on his head.

2. The block or ball of wood used in shinty. Also in Eng. dial.; a large marble (Ork. 1960).Bwk. 1897 R. M. Calder Poems 236:
In simmer days, wi' shinties armed, We made the knurr to flee.

3. A decrepit, dwarfish, or wizened person (Rxb. 1825 Jam., nurr; Rnf. 1837 Crawfurd MSS. XI. 320, n(y)irr; Dmf. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XI. 129; Sc. 1887 Jam., nirr; Uls. 1953 Traynor), a dwarfish, stunted animal, a small insignificant thing (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., 1953 Traynor). Dim. nurrit, a dwarfish or insignificant person (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.), a contemptuous term for a small boy (Watson), hence nurrited, dwarfish, of small statnre.Sc. a.1856 G. Outram Lyrics (1874) 33:
Lot's wife was fresh compared to her; They've kyanised the useless knir.
wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan Add. 511:
Nir. — A little, ill-natured cur, always snarling; a crabbed, decrepit creature, full of talk and discontent.
Ayr. 1890 J. Service Notandums 125:
Does ony bit nir o' a critic want a ggem at Blin'-stam amang the books?
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
She's a nurrited thing.

II. v. Only as ppl.adj. knurred, gnarled, knotted. Obs. in Eng. since 16th c. Liter.Sc. 1933 N. B. Morrison Gowk Storm iv. i.:
The trees outside seemed livid things to me, fretted and frayed with winds and knurred with age.

[A fig. extension of Eng. knur(r), a knot on a tree-trunk. Cf. Mid.Eng., Mid. Du., M. H. Ger. knorre, a knot, swelling. For 3., cf. also M. H. Ger. knorre, a short, thick-set man. Cf. Knar.]

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"Knur n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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