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

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First published 1963 (DOST Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Lare, Lair, n. Also: lar, laire, layr(e, lerr. [North. ME. lar (Cursor M.), lare, layre, midl. and south. lore, loor(e, OE. lár instruction, teaching.]Common in senses 1–3 in Leg. S.

1. The act of teaching; instruction, tuition.(a) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 975.
To thrillmen & to women, And to ȝoung men als gef he lare
Ib. vi. 529.
The apostil than thru his gud lare Infowrmyt al that var thare Schortly of thre [things]
Ib. xii. 335.
Thire men that … saw all Cristis maraklys … & ythandly hard his lare
Ib. xviii. 50.
He trewyt na man vare, Quham-of hyme nedyt til have lare
Ib. iv. 55, xix. 634, 5, etc. 1604-31 Craig v. 5/23.
A bush … Which Nature her selfe wrought, Withoutten airts lare
(b) a1400 Leg. S. xviii. 76.
Thane sad he that he come thare For informacione & layre
Ib. xiv. 49. c1420 Wynt. iii. 1006 (W).
Forthy mony landis were Led be thare ois and thare laire
1535 Stewart 1677.
The kingis barnis … Tha taucht to speik with diuers toung, And kennis lair quhill thai cum till age
1600-1610 Melvill 673.
He fand thais tuo brither so hard of his lair

b. (To be) at the lare, at lare, (to go, send, put, etc.) to (unto) the lare, to lare, = under instruction, at or to school, at study.(1) a1400 Leg. S. xxxi. 716.
Protho & Jacincto, that ware Hyr feris ay at the lare
1535 Stewart 3145. Ib. 15668.
Tua priestis … The quhilk had bene ane long tyme at the lair
16.. Ellon Par. Rec. 65.
Althoug my wreitt be not so fair I have been short fyll at the lair
c1420 Wynt. vi. 1057.
He had twa lordys at lare, That hys yhong scolarys sumtyme ware
1560 Rolland Seven S. 8364.
He was seuin ȝeir at lair
(2) 1456 Hay II. 106/30.
All men that ar of powere to send thaire barnis to the lare
a1500 Henr. Fables 648.
Weill worth my father that send me to the lair
1560 Rolland Seven S. 237.
Delyuer thame ȝour sone vnto the lair
Ib. 4016.
His sone thay had vnto the lair
(3) a1400 Leg. S. xxi. 66.
Til Athenas … I red thé pas & gere the barnis gang to layre
Ib. 311.
Hyre sonnis sat to layre Wel tacht in artis
1456 Hay II. 151/4.
Thare the barne become amang wis men, and drew him … to lare of wit and wisdome ay the langer the mare
c1460 Thewis Gud Women 289.
Quha his barnis puttis nocht to lare
1560 Rolland Seven S. 219.
I think it best that he war put to lair

c. (To learn, go) at a person's, love's (also, lovers') lair. Also, to leit at love's, one's lair: see Leit v.(1) a1568 Bann. MS. p. 25/42.
Be not ouir skers nor ȝit ouir lairge Gif thow wilt lerne son at my lair
1570 Sat. P. xxiv. 53.
Weill hes thow leird it at the bischoppis lair, Becum his prentise
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxxv. 215.
Thow leyr this lessoun at my layr
(2) a1500 Henr. III. 90/17.
At luvis lair gife thow will leir, Tak thair ane a b c
1540 Lynd. Sat. 620 (B).
War ȝe weill lernit at luvis lair
c1500 Crying of Play 76.
Lassis mycht leir at hir to stryd Wald ga to lufis [B. luvaris] lair

d. The act of learning; study, lessons. a1400 Leg. S. xl. 25.
Wele entendand til his lare He wes al tyme

2. That which is taught; (a person's) doctrine or teaching. a1400 Leg. S. iv. 150.
It is nocht myn maister lar That ony man conuertit be Distrenȝeit
Ib. xxi. 525.
Symon Magus … al thai folkis dyssawyt il With the fals layre he taucht tham til
Ib. xxx. 315.
I think to get of thi gere For the gud lare I sal thé lere
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 364.
Thi counsale is convenabill, … Forthi ws likis thi lair listin and leir
1540 Lynd. Sat. 569 (Ch.).
My name is Gude Counsall … , Lords for lack of my lair [B. law] ar brocht to mischance
a1568 Bann. MS. 213 a/23.
Tak tent to this lair, be ay leill to thi luf
1570 Sat. P. xxii. 8.
A scuruie schollar of Machiavellus lair
a1585 Maitl. Q. lxxi. 28.
Ȝit mair and mair I lyik thy [Cupid's] lair
a1605 Montg. Ch. & Slae 857 (Wr.).
A kow may learne thee laire

3. A body of religious doctrine; (a person's or society's, also, lovers') religion or faith; the religion of God, Christ, the Devil, also transf. of Love.(1) a1400 Leg. S. ii. 995.
He [Peter] fayndis bath lat and ar For to distroy quytly our [sc. the Jewish] lare
Ib. xl. 127.
The Pape … Syndry maisteris betacht hym til, To mak hyme parfyte in that lare
c1420 Wynt. v. 3949.
Off haly kyrk bath lare and law To bere and luve
1535 Stewart 3029.
Thair law, thair lair, thair language
Ib. 10962.
To leif thair fassoun … And for to leir efter the Romane lair
Ib. 26281.
The Britis … left thair barnis alway vnbaptist, And leuit all tyme at thair faith and lair
1567 G. Ball. 13.
Saif vs … from dispair, From unbeleue and Lollardis lair
1606 Birnie Kirk-b. xix. 36.
Sen the first followers of that foly … did … lawlesly leave the auncient laire of their better aduysed elders
a1568 Scott vi. 25.
Luvaris lair no leid suld lak
(2) a1400 Leg. S. i. 73.
Feile … That had nocht hard of Cristis layre
Ib. ii. 922.
[Paul] prechit Cristis lare
Ib. iii. 105.
Trow In the lar of Criste Jhesu
Ib. 303; etc.
Goddis lar to forsak
c1450-2 Howlat 905.
So hiely he hyit him in Luciferis laire
1535 Stewart 25160.
All quhilk leuit vpone Christis lair
(3) a1568 Scott xx. 18. Ib. xxiv. 1.
Thow langit ay to prufe The strenth of luvis lair
a1568 Bann. MS. 249 b/32.
Quhen … leill luvaris forleitis luvis lair
a1570-86 Maitl. F. lxxix. 38.
To leir the law of luiffis layr
a1605 Montg. Misc. P. xvii. 59.
Exemed clene from Loves lair
Ib. lii. 1.
Irkit I am with langsum luvis lair

4. That which is learned; (a person's) knowledge or erudition; learning or knowledge generally. Man of lair, a man of learning, learned man.(1) c1420 Wynt. v. 1349.
For-thi suld men in thare yhowthede Be techyd well … And the effect oys off thare lare
Ib. 2039.
He … made hym examynatiowne Off his lare and his lessowne
a1500 Sir Eger 2227.
Two are great clerks and great of lare
(b) c1460 Regim. Princ. 131.
Vertu cummis of science and of lair
a1500 Henr. III. 157/46 (B).
Quhilk of ws … wes … maist expert in science or in lair
a1500 Seven S. 52.
He said in thre ȝer … He suld the child teche all thar laire
Ib. 1862.
Tratour, thow has na laire That sall dissaif me ony maire
1501 Doug. Pal. Hon. I. 571.
A spirituall man (thocht I be void of lair) Cleipit I am
Id. Æn. . Prol. 85.
Fader of bukis, protectour to sciens and lair
Ib. xii. vii. 34.
[He] had levyr haue knawyn the sciens and the lair, The myght … of strenthy herbys fyne [etc.]
1560 Rolland Seven S. 359.
I commit my sone … With ȝow to be instructit weill in lair
Ib. 638.
The greit Bischop … With all his clerkis of greit wisdome and lair
1574 15th Rep. Hist. MSS. App. ix. 26.
For his intertenment at the scholis to get lair, science and knawledge
a1585 Polwart Flyt. 640 (T).
A lanterne of lair
c1590 J. Stewart 148/9.
Thair happie skair of lair
1622-6 Bisset I. 18/24.
Thought my lair be ȝung
(c) a1585 Polwart Flyt. 184 (H).
Whill that thow past … Into Argyle, some lerr [L. lair] to leir
(2) a1500 Seven S. 1701.
We are men of laire, Off augure and diuinite
1513 Doug. Conscience .
The kirk … wes rewlit be mene of wit and layre
1535 Stewart 47164.
The wysast men of lair
Ib. 57369.
All men of lair that cunnyng war in scuillis

b. A branch of learning, department of study. c1500-c1512 Dunb. lxv. 4.
To speik … Off euerie study, lair, or discipline

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"Lare n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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