Show Search Results Show Browse

Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

Hide Quotations Hide Etymology

Abbreviations Cite this entry

About this entry:
First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

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.]

You may wish to vary the format shown below depending on the citation style used.

"Sir n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 12 Jun 2024 <>



Hide Advanced Search

Browse SND: