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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

SKIRR, v.1 Also skir. [skɪr]

1. intr. To scurry about, travel rapidly, rush, whirr, whizz (Ayr. 1880 Jam.). Now only dial. in Eng.; of sleet, snow, etc.: to be driven on the wind; to slide, skate on ice (Ork. 1929 Marw., Ork. 1970).Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 21:
Were never seen such swiftly-trav'lling Scots! They skirr'd, they flounder'd through the sleets and snows.
Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize I. viii.:
Twa sturdy loons ran skirring along.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 276:
“Have you had any snow yet?” “Only some skirrin sleets — no aneuch to track a hare.”
Per. 1857 J. Stewart Sketches 106:
Licht flashes skir — the thunner tout Far rumlin' hurls.
Dmf. 1874 R. Wanlock Moorland Rhymes 81:
The reid jagg'd bolts o' the fireflaucht flichtert and skirr'd alang.

2. tr. To traverse (the country) at speed, to scour. Also in Eng. dial. Galt's usage may however be an adaptation of Shakespeare Macbeth v. iii. 35.Ayr. 1823 Galt R. Gilhaize III. xvi.:
Skirring the country like blood-hounds.

[E.M.E. skyr, to run away, rush about, of uncertain orig., phs. chiefly imit. based on scour, scurry.]

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"Skirr v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 6 Jun 2023 <>



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