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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.

LANGOUR, n. Also -er, -(u)or; laanger; longer. Sc. usage of Eng. languor: boredom, ennui, esp. in phr. to haud or keep (somebody) out o or frae langour, to divert, amuse, keep (someone) entertained or from wearying (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1881 A. Mackie Scotticisms 57; I. and ne.Sc. 1960). Rarely in vbl.n. langerin, languishing, the state of feeling bored (see 1958 quot.). Obs. in Eng. since 16th c. [′lɑŋər]Abd. 1754 R. Forbes Jnl. from London 23:
He . . . held us browly out o' langer bi' the rod.
Edb. 1773 Fergusson Poems (S.T.S.) II. 215:
To bang the birr o' winter's anger, And had the hurdies out o' langer.
Sc. 1812 The Scotchman 62:
Keepin me frae langor — baith lessenin the pleasour o guid, an the pine o ill companie.
Ags. 1840 G. Webster Ingliston x.:
The children ought to be diverted and keepit out o' langour.
Sh. 1900 Shetland News (4 Aug.):
Hit's mebbe da laanger 'at elt her [a cow].
Ork. 1912 Old-Lore Misc. V. ii. 70:
Dere seem'd tae be a graet longer on him, an' he begood tae wander aboot.
Sh. 1958 New Shetlander No. 47. 9:
I wis in aside old Mrs M. haddin me oot a langer (Some districts say “langerin,” others simply “haddin you.”)

Hence langersom(e), (1) boring, tedious, tiresome (Cai. 1905 County of Cai. (Horne) 77; Uls. 1953 Traynor; Sh., Ork., Cai. 1960); (2) tardy, but this seems due to confusion with Langsome.(1) Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 67:
I cinno' bear tae sit me leen . . . It's awfo' langersom'.
Ork. 1931 Orcadian (7 May):
Hid's langersome tae meet a ald gossip an' no be able tae speer 'im gin 'e haes a mooth. Stromness! dry!
(2) Sc. 1929 in W. H. Hamilton Holyrood 24:
But if his lips are lan'ersome He's quicker wi' his een.

[O.Sc. to hald out of langour, 1596.]

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"Langour n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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