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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).

SIR, n. Also shir (Cai. 1891 D. Stephen Gleanings 82). Sc. usages:

1. As a common form of address between men of equal rank, esp. freq. among miners (Slg., Fif., Clc., Ayr. 1970).

2. Used in addressing a lady. Obs. in Eng. exc. dial. since 17th c. “The Highlanders use this term of respect indifferently to both sexes” (Sc. 1904 E.D.D.).Sc. 1818 S. Ferrier Marriage ii.:
“And ye tu, bonny sir,” (addressing Lady Juliana).

3. Comb. Sir John, a close stool (Sc. 1808 Jam.).

4. For the usage sirs, as an exclamation of astonishment, popularly thought of as the pl. of sir, see Ser, v.2

[For the form shir, cf. Gutcher, bowsher s.v. Bowsh. The usage under 3. is prob., as Jam. suggests, a contemptuous Sc. application of Eng. †Sir John, a priest.]

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"Sir n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 3 Oct 2022 <>



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