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

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First published 1971 (DOST Vol. IV).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

Myr(e, Mir(e, n. Also: myir(e, myer, myar. [ME. (c 1330) and e.m.E. myre, mire, ON. mýr-r.] See also Dub n. for additional examples of both senses.Common in place names as:(1) Wytteriggemyre (c 1200 Chart. Neubotle 28), Falumireside (12.. Reg. Dunferm. 108), Seggymir (1302 Lindores Chart. 177), Hwytemyr (c 1320 Reg. Great S. 17/1), Red(e)myre (1348 Misc. Spald. C. V. 245, 1358 Exch. R. I. 564), ly Futyis myre (1463 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 286), Stragill myre (1504 (1584) Reg. Great S. 239/2), our Monk myr (1505 Chart. Coupar A. II. 116), the Gallows myr (1521 Dumfr. & Galloway Soc. XXXIX. 77), Crumbystrudyr myr (1525 Yester Wr. 130), Skellenis myre (1580 Glasg. B. Rec. (M.C.) 121), the Blak myre (1618 Antiq. Aberd. & B. II. 371).(2) Le myris de Ochtre mukty (1451 Exch. R. V. 468), his myir of Pitfyrran (1534 Dunferm. Reg. Ct. iii), the myr of Monboy (1535 Reg. Episc. Brechin II. 187), lie myre de Ardo (1566–7 Reg. Privy S. V. ii. 284/1), lie … myre de Clene (1593 Exch. R. XXII. 482), lie myris de Rossies (1608 Reg. Great S. 738/1).(3) (Malcoline de) Myertoun (1367 Exch. R. II. 279), (the) Myresyde (1399 Carnegie Lett. 500, 1699 Foulis Acc. Bk. 268).

1. A piece of swampy ground, a mire, morass, bog.Also applied to less extensive patches of wet ground, = a muddy patch, a puddle.Also in fig. contexts, chiefly in the myre, = in difficulties, ‘bogged down’.(a) c 1200 Reg. St. A. 41.]
[In moris et in miris et [etc.]
1399 Slater Early Sc. Texts No. 43.
The lands of the hall of the myre
c1420 Wynt. viii. 5991.
Wyth-in myris in till a qwhawe … The knychtis … Thai folowyd fast
Ib. 5996.
Qwhill off thare folk in myris lay
1456 Hay I. 164/33.
To geve thame the werr felde, outhir lawar or in a myre
1456 Liber Aberbr. 89. 1461 Charter (Reg. H.) No. 362.
In morys marres mosis myris hychtis [etc.]
1463 Reg. Episc. Aberd. I. 286.
Prope ly crukyt myre
1473 Reg. Cupar A. I. 165.
Plantatioun of treys … and wynnyn of the myre
c1475 Wall. vi. 719. a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 30.
With mony rank myre
1488 Treas. Acc. I. 87. 1496 Ib. 297. c1500-c1512 Dunb. xxxiii. 107. 1517 Treas. Acc. 119, 125. 1525 St. A. Formulare I. 271.
Thare bodeys … to be erdit … in myddinis myris and uthire wile and foull places
1531 Bell. Boece II. 33.
a1538 Abell 55 b.
This hors … castis the riddar oft tymes in the myre
1537 Antiq. Aberd. & B. III. 17. c1540 Lynd. Syde Taillis 164.
Thare filthy taillis Quhilk ouir the myris and middingis traillis
a1540 Freiris Berw. 535 (B).
And in ane myr he fell … vndir the stair
Ib. 564. 1551 Dundee B. Laws 12.
Flesh deid in pot or myre
1558 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I. 174.
The stripe that cumis furth of the greyne myre
a1570-86 Maitland Maitl. F. xcv. 50.
Ouir mwir and myris ouir gude a gyd
1571–2 Lanark B. Rec. 66.
[She] kaist douin the saming [loaf] in the fouill myr
1569-73 Bann. Memor. 334. 1586 Edinb. Test. XVI. 128 b.
In the kow myre of Murthelie sax ky
1594 Paisley B. Rec. 155.
The common myre
1596 Dalr. I. 99/10. 1599 Rollock Wks. I. 437.
The trakedest bodies … even as if they wer drawin throw an myre
1629 Black Orkn. & Shetl. Folklore 105. 1637 Rutherford Lett. (1891) 225.
My short legs could not step over this lair or sinking mire
1638 Pittenweem Ann. 27.
The haill seggs in the myre
1666-74 Fraser Polichron. 227.
The lowe ground mossye and full of peat pots and myres, dangerous for horses
Colvil 1681 Whig's Suppl. ii. 100.
When mires grew hard
1684 Sibbald Scot. Illustr. 23.
Paludes duplices sunt. Quædam uliginosa & mixta quadam substantia et aqua & terra constant, ita ut hominum vestigia vix ferant & sustineant. Aliæ parva stagna, vel aquarum collectiones hinc inde parvis exstantibus terræ portionibus. Priores nostratibus dicuntur flow-mos; posteriores mires
1691 Rec. Univ. Aberd. 195.(b) 1543 Elgin Rec. I. 76.
Castand the forsaid Effam and hir ȝoung barne … in ane myir
1549 Prot. Bk. Sir J. Cristisone 101.
At ane stryp and myir
c1552 Lynd. Mon. 4808.
Sic pastouris … Quhilk can nocht gyde thare scheip about the myir
1565 Inverness B. Rec. I. 128.
He hes dampnit the fowll pule and myir behynd the towme wyth his muk
1615 Aberd. B. Rec. II. 322.
Ane vther hous laitli biggit … foirganes ane litill myir
(c) 1541 Linlithgow B. Ct. 20 Dec.
That na myddynnis be suffirit … in the guttaris for stoppin of the watter and myaris
fig. a1500 Bernardus 348.
He … cryis one God quhen he lyis in the myre
a1500 K. Hart 951.
He hes left his maister in the myre
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 156.
Full laith to leif our wark swa in the myre
a1568 Scott xx. 46. 1570 Sat. P. xvi. 51.
Bot he will leid him in the myre
a1570-86 Maitl. F. clxxix. 23.
c 1587 Misc. Spald. C. III. 216.
I ualde be laith to leaue ony man in the myre that lippnit onlie to me
1638 Rec. Kirk Scotl. 159.
He must waide the glarre myre of our sins & the punishment therof
proverbs a1598 Ferg. Prov. (1641) No. 592.
Likelie lies in the myre and unliklie goes by it
a1628 Carmichael Prov. No. 1233.
Out of the peit pot in on the myr

b. Applied to a peat-bog. Also pete-myre, q.v. under Pete. 1520 Fife Sheriff Ct. 182.
For to cast certane fewell … in the myre & grond of the maretoun
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II. 99.
Castin and winnyng of … petis in our est myre of Balbrogy, or in ony vther mos or myr

c. Attrib. and comb. 1585 Edinb. Test. XIV. 240.
The half of the myre medow
1617 Inverurie 204.
The haill persons … stentit for myrbeir

d. Also without article: Swampy ground, bog. 1533 Boece xi. iii. 407 b.
Certain archearis … happynnyt amang myre and merres

2. Wet and dirty soil, mud, filth. c1500 Fyve Bestes 258.
His garment grene … Was sa mismaide in the myre & mvde
1513 Doug. vii. Prol. 54.
And euery hie way Full of floschis, dubbis, myre and clay
1584 Sempill Sat. P. xlv. Pref. 59.
Compared to swyne returning to the myre
1666 Glasgow B. Rec. III. 84.
So that filth and myre is made to be sein in the gutters

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"Myr n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Jun 2024 <>



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