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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1968 (SND Vol. VII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

RAIR, v., n. Also rare (Sc. 1808 Jam.), rear. Sc. forms and usages of Eng. roar (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis, 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 20; Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore (S.T.S.) 149; Per., s.Sc. 1967). See P.L.D. § 32.3. Hence deriv. rairer, roarer (Dmf. 1820 Blackwood's Mag. (July) 386; Ork. 1943). The form rair becomes infrequent from the beginning of the 19th c. and in some usages illustrated below is seldom or never found. [re:r]

I. v. 1. Of animals and birds not associated with roaring calls in St. Eng.: to call loudly (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B. of cattle). Obs. in Eng.Ayr. 1790 Burns Elegy M. Henderson viii.:
Ye bitterns, till the quagmire reels, Rair for his sake.
Slk. 1922 Hogg Tales (1874) 654:
Letting the sheep come a' stringing in lang raws, and rairing and bleating, into the how o' the water that gate.
Edb. 1843 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie 9:
Nor marvel ye sair, Tho' close by your lug a bit donkey should rair.
Ags. 1879 J. Guthrie Poems 12:
The lovin' pairtricks chirr across the brake, Wi' shifty noise loud rairs the corncraik.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 199:
They left their lambs to weep or rair And perish in the morning.

2. As an alternative to Cry, v., 1., 4., 6., with on: to summon with a loud shout, to pay a flying visit (Sh., em.Sc. 1967): to proclaim the banns.Dmf. 1898 J. Paton Castlebraes 122:
The latest returning plough-boy or farmer or cotter saluted her again in the evening, or as they phrased it, “roared in on the bye-gaun”.
Arg. 1920 H. Foulis Vital Spark 127:
“We were roared last Sunday — ” “Roared!” said the captain. “Iss it cried, you mean?”
wm.Sc. 1932 A. H. Charteris When Scot Smiles 282:
They “roared” on Mrs. Doig, crying her ben if they happened to want anything.

3. To make a loud droning noise, of bagpipes.Sc. 1819 Jacobite Relics (Hogg) 150:
There you'll hear the bagpipes rair.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 64:
Bagpipes begoud to drunt and rair.

4. Of cracking ice: to make a resounding cracking noise, to reverberate; also in 1786 quot. of earth and roots: to make a cracking, rending noise when split by the plough.Ayr. 1786 Burns Auld Mare xii.:
Till sprittie knowes wad rair't, an' riskit, An' slypet owre.
Kcb. 1789 D. Davidson Seasons 158:
Till the wide crystal pavement, bending, rairs Frae shore to shore.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 352:
While lochs wi' frost wad rair.

5. In Curling, of a stone: to make a roaring noise as it moves on the ice with great velocity (Per., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall. 1967). Deriv. roarer, a curling-stone moving too fast (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.).Rnf. 1805 G. McIndoe Poems 55:
Ye're well set on man, but ye're roaran, Whatna way's that to play a forehan'?
Peb. 1817 R. Brown Lintoun Green 38:
Roaring up the rink he flies, The guarded tee to clear, And win the day.
Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 64:
Now, John, do ye see a' the winner, If no' tak this wick at my cowe, Then tilt he comes roarin' like thunner.

Hence roaring game, the game of curling (Sc. 1877 Encycl. Brit. VI. 712). Gen.Sc.; roaring play, id.; roaring rink, a curling-rink; roaring stone, a curling-stone.Ayr. 1786 Burns Vision i. i.:
The sun had clos'd the winter-day, The Curlers quat their roaring-play.
Wgt. 1804 R. Couper Poems I. 246:
The curler flies the rairing rink; The bursting rivers rise.
Edb. 1844 J. Ballantine Miller i.:
One of those swinging movements that accompanies the discharge of the roaring stone.
Ayr. 1867 Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald (14 Dec.):
There I wuz again, loodest and liveliest in the middle o' the roarin' game.
Ayr. 1899 H. J. Steven New Cumnock 41:
Glorious times they had at the roaring game, with their home-made stones and their heather-cowes or brooms.

6. To weep, to cry, usually, but not necessarily, loudly (Sc. 1782 J. Sinclair Ob. Sc. Dial. 92; Uls. 1953 Traynor), most freq. in phr. to roar and greet. Gen.Sc. Vbl.n. roarin(g), weeping, lamentation. Hence roarin' match, a fit of weeping.Sc. 1741 S.C. Misc. 14:
Upon which Lady Margaret, that was in the next room, came in, and seeing her husband in that pickle, she roared and cryd, and was so frightened that her head turned, and is since dilirious.
Ags. 1772 Session Papers, Mudie v. Ross, State of Process 130:
Anderson fell a-roaring and greeting, said he was done now; for he had got no money.
Sc. 1787 J. Beattie Scoticisms 76:
The Babe roars.
Abd. 1824 G. Smith Douglas 25:
There-awa-yet, anither roarin' match!
n.Sc. 1840 D. Sage Memorabilia (1889) 105:
Giving full vent to my feelings, I made the kitchen rafters ring with my roaring.
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 175:
Bairns wi' hunger rair.
Rxb. 1862 Trans. Hawick Archaeol. Soc. (1868) 41:
But she . . . roared and grat, an' grap ma airms.
Ags. 1874 T. Guthrie Autobiog. I. 332:
I never saw a greater rearin' i' the parish aboot onything.
Uls. 1879 W. G. Lyttle Paddy McQuillan 11:
Puir fellow! A thocht a peety o' him. A'm shair he was roarin' fur he put his hankerchay up tae his face.
Kcd. 1933 L. G. Gibbon Cloud Howe 62:
She liked best to tell of births and funerals and such-like things; and how the daughter of this or that corpse no sooner looked on the dead than broke down — and fair roared and grat when she saw him there. So folk called her the Roarer and Greeter for short.
ne.Sc. 1996 W. Gordon McPherson in Sandy Stronach New Wirds: An Anthology of Winning Poems and Stories from the Doric Writing Competitions of 1994 and 1995 59:
The Princess wis in an afa state, an roart an grat, an cried ti the aul Witch to fess the Prince back again; ...

7. tr. To bewail, lament over.Rxb. c.1734 Trans. Hawick Arch. Soc. (1913) 56:
We rair aloud the ruefu' day That took him hence.

8. Ppl.adj. roarin, in combs. (1) roarin buckie, the shell of the Buccinum undatum whelk which when held to the ear gives a roaring sound thought to be the sound of the sea (Sc. 1808 Jam. s.v. Buckie; Mry.1 1925; Ags., Fif. 1967). Also roarie-buckie, id. (Fif. 1967); (2) roarin fu, roaring drunk. Gen.Sc. see Fou, I. 3.(1) Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 18:
Great gulfs o' lauchter aye resound . . . Like roarie-buckies, i' their din, Loud soundin' as the sea comes in.
Sc. 1854 Zoologist XII. 4428:
Waved Buccine, Buccinum undatum . . . This and the larger species of Fusus get the provincial name of “roaring buckies”.
Edb. 1897 C. M. Campbell Deilie Jock 133:
Puir Dugald had been sooked as toom as a roarin buckie, by the lawyers defendin'.

II. n. 1. A call, a cry, as to a neighbour in passing, a doorstep visit (em.Sc.(a), Lnl., Lnk. 1967). Cf. v., 2.Arg. 1920 H. Foulis Vital Spark 94:
We were chust passing the door, and we thought we would give her a roar in the by-going.
Fif.10 1935:
“A roar i' the by-gaun” is in common use in Fife.
m.Sc. 1966 Scotland's Mag. (Jan.) 9:
Next time we are down in your part of the world, we'll give you “a roar in”.

2. A loud report; a violent eructation (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Abd., Ags. 1967).

3. The noise made by a curling-stone travelling with velocity up the ice. Cf. v., 5.Lnk. 1853 W. Watson Poems 71:
The loch's ay the loch whaur in cauld days o' yore The lee-side was cheer'd by the quoitin' stane roar.

[O.Sc. rair, to roar, 1375, rare, a roar, c.1420.]

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"Rair v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 May 2024 <>



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