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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.

NARR, v. Also nyarr, niarr, nearr. Sc. forms of Eng. gnaw. To snarl (Rxb. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl., nearr, 1923 Watson W.-B.; Uls. 1953 Traynor, nyarr; Bnff., Abd. 1963), to growl like an angry cat; fig. of persons: to be discontented or peevish, to fret (Abd. 1825 Jam., Abd. 1963, nyarr); of things: to jar on the senses. Ppl.adj., vbl.n. nyarrin, gnarring, snarling, quarrelling; also in irreg. form nyorned, peevish, obstinate (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (12 May)). Deriv. nyarragh, nagging, spiteful, sharp, bad-tempered. Mainly dial. in Eng. Cf. Nurr. [n(j)ɑr]Abd. 1789 Aberdeen Mag. 505:
Whan ither dogs would raise a wark, And niarr at either in the dark.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 413:
She [cat] nyarr'd when she gat him, as he had been a mouse.
Uls. 1831 G. Brittaine Irishmen 194:
What's come over you, Alice, to be so sharp and nyarragh this morning?
Cai.4 c.1920:
'At's a nyarrin' moniment o' a bairn.
Abd. 1924 L. Coutts Caul' Nor'-East 24:
Ye beir the bell at kirk an' ha' Till ilka beauty narrs.
Bnff. 1955 Banffshire Jnl. (14 June):
In the mids' o' the meantime the nyarrin' an' fechtin' amon' the nieces an' ithers o' Kirsten's kin hed come till a terrible heicht.

[Orig. mainly imit. Cf. Mid.Eng. gnar, to snarl, M.L.Ger. gnarren, Mid. Du. gnerren, to grunt O.Sc. nar, id., c.1536.]

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"Narr v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <>



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