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A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (up to 1700)

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).

Ȝar(e, Ȝair(e, Yar(e, Yair(e, n. Also: iar, ihar, jhar, yhar, yarr, ȝayr, ȝe(i)r, ȝeare, year. [North. ME yhare (c1200), ȝar (1408), OE ᵹear, ᵹer.] A structure erected on the bank of a river or inlet of the sea and extending out into the water, where fish can be trapped and caught in nets; a fish-trap. Also fisch ȝare, sche (= sea) yair, and with other qualifiers. Also ȝare of (a specific location). Also attrib. Cf. Cruve n.For further information see Thomas D. Bathgate ‘Ancient Fish-Traps or Yairs in Scotland’, in Soc. Ant. LXXXIII (1948-9) 98-102. 1195 Lindores Chart. 3.
[Totam insulam que vocatur Redinche, preter vnam piscariam meam scilicet vnam jharam
?c1200 Lindores Chart. 11.
1370 Reg. Great S. 110/1.
Cum piscariis infra aquas de Northesk et Suthesk in crois yaris et rethibus
1398 Reg. Episc. Morav. 211.]
Et yharam de Kynmyly
(1) a1224 Reg. Paisley 216.
1224 Reg. Paisley 214.
De uno yar super amnem de Leven
c1227 Liber Melros 236.
Carta de Yhar
1424 Acts Jas. I 84b.
Al ȝaris [Acts (1597) i 2b, ȝaires] … set in fresch watteris quhar the sey hebbys and fyllis
1541 Reg. Privy S. II 618/1.
With the … mylnis, multuris, fischeingis and ȝaris in the watter of Clyde
1581 Acts III 217/2.
Ratefeis and apprevis all actis maid … anent the distructioun of cruuis and ȝaris slauchter of reid fische [etc.]
1609 Skene Reg. Maj. ii 21b.
All they quha hes cruves or ȝares, stanks or mylnis in waters … quhere salmon, troutes, smolts or the frye of anie fisch of the sea or of fresch waters ascends and descends, that ilk hecke of the cruves sall be at the least twa inche wide
(b) 1535 Selkirk B. Ct. (ed.) 151.
Voll of Wod hes tane in ane portioun of our common and dikit about it abone the yair
1563 Acts II 537/2.
That all cruuis and fische dammis that ar within salt watters that ebbis and flowis be allutterlie destroyit and put downe … that is to say that all cruuis and ȝairis that ar set of lait vpone sand and schauldis far within the watter … be incontinent tane downe
1580 Edinb. B. Rec. IV 553.
The expensis and hyre of the wrychtis and warkmen sent be the guid toun to the demolescheing and down casting of the cruvis and yairis on the watter of Forth
1590 Thanes of Cawdor 193.
Tua nettis to the yair iiij lib.
1592 Reg. Great S. 724/2.
Cum potestate lie crovis et yairis infra dict. lie bay super australi parte de lie Nes de Abirdeine
1597 Skene Verb. S. s.v. Schireff.
He suld cause the measure and quantitie of the cruves & ȝaires to be keiped in waters quhair the sea flowis and ebbis
1500-1699 Herbarius Latinus Annot. xlii (Bot.).
Custuta, ȝair … [also] ȝayr [Adv. ȝer … ȝeir]
c1647 Lanark & R. 143.
Some of them [sc. herring] coming to the freshes near Dumbarton and are taken in the yairs
1656 Retours I Inq. Spec. Inverness (81).
With halfe of the yair callit Carremone and fishings of salmonds [etc.]
1681 Stair Inst. ii iii § 70.
There is a special way of fishing by cruives or ȝairs both in fresh water and salt, all which cruives are absolutely prohibited to be set within rivers
possess. 1649 Dingwall Presb. 144.
Ordaines that fishers on the Lords day in ȝairs ebbe or anie other way be severelie censured
(c) 1611 Kilravock Charters in Orig. Par. II ii 534.
1649 Retours II Inq. Spec. Stirling (384).
Ȝeares [in the Forth]
(2) 1330 Reg. Paisley 205.
Dedi etiam … totum le yare de Lenbren cum terris, piscariis [etc.]
1484 Acta Aud. *147/2.
The proffit of the fisching of the somerdais tyde of the ȝare of Finlastone with men bait and net sic lik as has bene vsit at the said ȝare
1560 Exch. R. XIX 455.
Piscationis de lie Yair de Ardoch
1568 Old Ross-shire I 17.
Twenty punds … compleit payment of the salmon fischings of the yair of Kincardin of this yeir
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 443.
A sturgion fish was taken in the Yarr of Drumchardeny … a monstruous creatur
(3) 1499–1500 Reg. Privy S. I 68/1.
To haf a fisch ȝare to the space of [100] fute fra the gurgin of the said water of Spey efter the flowing of the sey fra the sammyn
1628 Retours II Inq. Spec. Wigtown (70).
Et piscatione de Poltandewne cum fish-ȝareis et cruifis earundem
1681 Retours II Inq. Spec. Kirkcudbright (428).
Dimidia mercata terræ de Balcarie, cum lie fish yair
(4) 1565 Reg. Privy S. V i 600/2.
De dimedia marcata terrarum de Balcary cum lie sche yair et piscaria earundem
(5) 1623 Retours I Inq. Spec. Elgin et Forres (39).
Cum 3 lie ȝairis vocatis Mekill Ȝair, Middill Ȝair et Cult Ȝair
attrib. 1686 Brechin Test. VII 162b.
Ane pair of yairnets worth x s.

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"Ȝar n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Jul 2022 <>



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