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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

LIRE, n.1 Also lyre, lyar, -er; lair, -layer (see Knap, n.1, 2. (2) (ii)). [′lɑeər]

1. The flesh, muscular tissue of the body. Now only poet.Peb. 1715 A. Pennecuik Tweeddale (1815) 387:
Deceit says, “Let the wife come drink, For she is burnt up bane and lyre.”
s.Sc. 1836 Wilson's Tales of the Borders III. 304:
He wasna feckless either in bane, limb, or lire.
Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah lxv. 4:
Wha feed on swine's lyre, an' grusome broo's i' their cogs on the fyre.
Sc. 1935 W. Soutar Poems in Sc. 17:
The rits abüne a deid man's breist Hae brak the bruckle lire apairt.

2. “The lean parts of butcher-meat” (Slk. 1825 Jam.); specif. in a carcase of beef: the slice of meat at the shoulder near the top of the sternum, corresp. in Eng. to the upper portion of brisket (Sc. 1949 Bk. of Meat Trade I. 251; Cai., Edb. 1961). Hence -lyred, ppl.adj., -fleshed; lyery (see quots.). Also in Eng. dial.Sc. 1704 Foulis Acct. Bk. (S.H.S.) 350:
A lyre and Huckbone of beife 24sh.
Sc. 1710 Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis:
They call that the lyre, which is above the knee in the fore-legs of beeves.
Sc. 1736 Acts of Sederunt (24 Jan.) 310:
The Magistrates … had come to a resolution to exempt from weighing in sale the following particular pieces of flesh, viz. Knap-layers, mid-layers, shoulder-layers, and craigs or necks.
Bwk. 1778 A. Wight Present State Husbandry II. 412:
Does the butcher make no objection to the lambs of the first or second degree of Bakewell's breed, from a suspicion of their being double-lyred?
Sc. 1829 Mrs Dalgairns Pract. Cookery 72:
The names of the various pieces, according to the … Scotch method of dividing the carcass, are as follows: — … the Lair — neck and Sticking-Piece — the Knap — Cheek and Head.
Sc. 1855 H. Stephens Bk. of Farm II. 142:
When the flesh becomes heavy on the thighs making a sort of double thigh, the thigh is called lyary.
Dmf. 1919 J. Biggar Gall. Cattle 6:
At that time cattle with “lyery”, or dark coloured, hard, non-mottled flesh were common.

[O.Sc. lyr, flesh, a.1500, O.E. līra, id. The forms lair, layer are prob. due to confusion with Eng. layer.]

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"Lire n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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