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

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First published 1937 (DOST Vol. I).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Afore, Afoir, adv., prep., and conj. Also: afor, affor(e; afoyr, affoir, Effor(e prep. and Effor(e adv. [ME. afore, affore (14th c.), earlier aforen (aforn), OE. on foran. Cf. Before.]

A. adv. 1. At an earlier time or date; in time preceding; previously.(a) 1493 Halyb. 3 (in September anno affor). Ib. 4 (in October anno affor); etc. c1515 Asl. MS. I. 303/20 (being with him afore). Nisbet I. 3 (quhilk he promisit afore). 1546 Reg. Cupar A. II. 34 (land quhilk H. R. brukit afore). 1564 Peebles B. Rec. 296 (on the nycht affor). 1596 Dalr. I. 23/3 (nocht lang afore fortified).(b) 1549 Corr. M. Lorraine 314 (fordair nor affoir). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 15 (within twa yeirs afoir). 1573 Sat. P. xlii. 940 (quha did afoir till it apply).

2. At an earlier point in a writing or document.1493 Halyb. 4 (ȝer and day affor wryttin). Ib. (this rassayt affor writin); etc. c1552 Lynd. Mon. 3593 (as I have schawin afore). 1556 Lauder Off. Kings 340 (as I afore haue done discus). 1595 Ann. Banff II. 104 (as is affoir expressit). 1600 Misc. Spald. C. IV. 251 (iikane of ws afor mentionat). 1665 Justiciary Ct. Rec. I. 123 (in the Diets afore written).

3. By way of precedence. 1542 Reg. Cupar A. II. 26.
The vtilite and profeit of our said abbay … alwais affoir prouidit, considerit, forseine [etc.]

4. In front; in the fore-part.Afore and abak, in front and behind. (Cf. Abak adv. 2 b.)1562 Edinb. B. Deeds 54 (the land afoir and abak). c1590 Fowler 128/47 (afore or yit behinde). 1598 Edinb. B. Rec. 224 (the lands bak and afore).

B. prep. 1. Before, in respect of time; earlier than. Afore the hand: see Hand n.(a) 1513 Doug. vi. xiii. 103 (afor thir days). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 1541 (affore the Flude); 1775 (affore that tyme). 1580 Cath. Tract. 38/24 (all Christian peple afore yow).(b) a1500 Doug. K. Hart 750 (affoir the sone). 1544 Misc. Bann. C. III. 423 (afoir none). 1563-1570 Buch. Wr. 29 (afoir hir returning hame). 1573 Sat. P. xlii. 2 (afoir Sanctandrois day). 1622-6 Bisset II. 110/33 (afoir Christis incarnation).

2. Before, in respect of place; in front of.c1500-c1512 Dunb. xiv. 8 (afoir thair ene). 1536 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 222 (afoire thir witnes). 1549 Compl. 40/36 (afoir the vynd). 1564 Peebles B. Rec. 297 (affor the prowest and balȝeis). 1608 Aberd. Kirk S. 61 (afoir his yett).

C. conj. Before. (Also with or = ere.)c1500-c1512 Dunb. xc. 55 (be wys afor or thow thair cum). 1531 Bell. Boece I. 87 (afore ony nois of his rebellion war knawin). c1552 Lynd. Mon. 5326 (affore that day be done). 1573 Cath. Tract. 4/19 (afoir he becum wyse). 1596 Dalr. I. 2/12 (afoir I declare … ).

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"Afore adv.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Nov 2023 <>



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