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

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First published 2002 (DOST Vol. XII).
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Ȝerd(e, Yerd(e, n.1 Also: yherde, ȝeird, yeird, ȝeard, yeard, ȝeiard, ȝird, yird, ȝyrd, ȝeir. [Var. of Erd(e n.]

1. The earth as a whole. = Erd(e n. 1 a. a1400 Leg. S. i 681.
Myn lord Jhesu … That in this ȝerd com fra hewine
a1400 Leg. S. iii 1082.
Quhat space is ewyne Fra the ȝerde vpe to the hewyne?
1533 Gau 49/28.
He first passit dwne to the law partis of the ȝeird

b. Without article. = Erd(e n. 1 b. a1400 Leg. S. xxviii 538.
Jhesu … Makar of hewine & ȝerd & al

c. Apone the ȝeird, on earth, during (one's) earthly existence. (Cf. Erd(e n. 1 c). 1533 Gau 18/13.
Als lang as we ar heir apone the ȝeird in the sinful flesch
1533 Gau 59/29.
Veralie I sa to ȝow quhat euer ye bind apone the ȝeird it sal be bund in the heuine

d. The ground in a particular place; a particular area of ground. = Erd(e n. 1 d. 1525 St. A. Formulare I 270.
The yerd mot oppin ryif and cleyf and suelly thame quyk to hell as it suellit cursit Dathan
1596 Dalr. II 362/21.
This farther affirmet … that the kingis war not callet of Scotland as of the bair ȝerd or of a thing spiritles, bot king of men, as King of Scotis

2. The surface of the earth, the ground. a. With reference to persons falling or being knocked down onto, also, inclining towards or lying prostrate on, the ground. = Erd(e n. 2 a.(1) a1400 Leg. S. i 526.
The hound … schot on Symeon in-to brath And to the ȝerde hym vndirnethe Ruschit
a1400 Leg. S. i 586.
To the ȝerde he tuk sic a swak, That harnise and sched & body all Fruschit in pecis
a1400 Leg. S. ii 538.
He with that to ȝerd can fall. And as he at the ȝerde lay, He herd a voice
a1400 Leg. S. xviii 1010.
One the ȝerd done fal I wald
1506 Aberd. Sheriff Ct. I 93.
Cowe Johnnesoune … strak hir to the yerd and held hir at the yerd
(2) 1600-1610 Melvill 262.
They war com hither … to kiss the king's majestie's hands of Scotland (and thairwith bekkit even to the yeard)
(3) c1515 Asl. MS I 220/28.
The forsaid Erll of Craufurd lay four days abone the ȝerd & thair durst no man erd him
1662 Soc. Ant. XXII 223.
Ye stracked his side three several times with your luif, and immediately thereafter upon the yeard with some mumbling words

b. With reference to a built structure levelled to the ground. = Erd(e n. 2 b. a1538 Abell 63a.
The wallis of the cete thai cust down equaill with ȝerd

c. In phrases with under and abone (above). = Erd(e n. 2 c. 1433 Orkney Deeds vi.
Aisiamentis … as weill under yherde as boufe yherde
1441 Reg. Great S. 69/2.
Petis and colis als wele under yerde as above
1533 Bell. Livy II 210/25.
That sic haly reliquis … suld be closit vp in litill tvnnys and put in the tempil & housis of the preist quirinall vnder ȝerde
1443 (1450) Reg. Great S. 85/2.
My hale quartar of Balcasky … with lordschip, court and playnt and al uthir proffittis under yerde or above that afferis therto
1542 Orkney & Shetl. Rec. I 76.
Vyth all fredomis bayth onder the yeird and aboun
1545–6 Rec. Earld. Orkney 229.
Fra the hieest stane in the hill to the lawest in the eb, vnder the ȝird and abune
1550 Reg. Cupar A. II 74.
Togydder with toft and croft … and rychtwys pertenens quhatsumeuir pertening thairto, alsweill nocht namyt as namyt, als weill fare as nere, als weill vnder the ȝird as abouf
1650 Misc. Maitl. C. I 439.
Can you not cast over some of it [sc. milk] into the grup for they say … they are under the yird that have as much neede of it as they that are above the yird

d. Dry land, as opposed to the sea, etc.; solid ground.(1) 1494 Deidis of Armorie 40.
Corcodrille is a fische … habitant on the ȝerd be day
a1538 Abell 2a.
The thrid day He gaderit the wattir in ane place and sa the dry ȝerd apperit
a1538 Abell 17a.
He that wes before sa pridfull that thocht he had the ȝerd to saill on and the se to gang on [? erron. for the ȝerd to gang on and the se to saill on] now the wermis of his awne body eit him leifand
(2) 1596 Dalr. I 99/13.
Thay be lyke medowis greine abone, and lyke fast ȝeard appeir vndirneth

e. The sea-bed, the harbour bottom. ?14.. Ship Laws c. 1 (H2).
And gif he makis ony residence throu his ankir attachit on the ȝerd [B. erde] [etc.]

3. The layer of soil covering the ground. = Erd(e n. 3. c1420 Wynt. i 1517.
Pluto fyrst hyr happnyt to bere, And … Scho gert send hym hys fadyr to … Than Satwrne dawe hym in yerde [C. erde, W. erd]
1533 Gau 12/9.
Thay that wsis … coniuracione to find hwid hurdis in the ȝeird
1596 Dalr. I 35/23.
Out of the ȝeard we cutt peates and turfes
1660 Forbes Baron Ct. 226.
That no tennentis … eir nor labour hauch nor medow ȝeird that hes nocht bein labourit abefor

b. Earth or soil as a substance. = Erd(e n. 3 b. 1531–2 M. Works Acc. (ed.) I 110.
To four werkmen … inbringand new ȝeird to the samen [garden]
1533 Gau 65/31.
For part deis and ar ȝeirdit and turnis agane to ȝeird and as
a1538 Abell 2a.
God maid the man of the ȝerd … and Ewe of ane rib of his side
1582–3 Misc. Spald. C. V 55.
For laying of ȝeird abut the compas on the Castellhill
1584 Kirkcudbr. B. Rec. I 200.
To fill vp James Lintounis clay hoills with yeird and mwk sufficientlie as they wer of befoir
1584 Cart. S. Nich. Aberd. II 386.
Yerd and grunmale … quhilk was lyan in middingis and haippis
1614 Chron. Perth 15.
The … bow of the brige fell doun, being eveill biggit, fillit onlie with clay and ȝeard
1678 Cullen B. Rec. 7 (15 Feb.).
Persewit … for the allagit casting meidinge ȝeird within the said Wm. Hallis mossis

c. In the phrase (be) ȝerde and stane, the symbols used in the transference of property to a new owner. = Erd(e n. 3 c. Also as part of a charm.(1) 1470–1 Argyle Charters in Orig. Par. II i 111.
[Alan Stewart sheriff of Perth gave seisin of the lands of Lorne] be yerde and stane
1510–11 Lindores A. 513.
Be yird and stane, as ws of brucht is, in favouris of Symoun Joly, to resing and give ouer [etc.]
1531 Glasgow Prot. IV 29.
1532 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 41b.
Georgis Bwrell balȝae gaiff stait & saising be ȝyrd & stane
1541 Elgin Rec. I 64.
Thomas Kar, officiar, passit … to ane rud of land … and presentit ȝerd and stane at the instance of Johne Bayne
1564 Prot. Bk. J. Scott 3.
1579 Prot. Bk. A. Millar 54b.
The saidis Walter … gaif … heritable sesing … off … ane annuell rent … be deliuering of ȝeird and stane of the grund … with ane penny as vse is
(b) 1531 Prot. Bk. M. Fleming 15.
Jhon Dow resignit our the forsayd waist with ȝerd & pertinens be ȝeir & stane in the … balȝeis handis
(2) 1597 Misc. Spald. C. I 146.
Making thair thy inchantmentis and responsis to the Deuill thy maister, and thair casting ouer thy shulderis yerd and stane

d. attrib.Yeird doig, a kind of dog. Cf. 17th c. Eng. earth-dog (1616), a terrier (OED, s.v. Earth n. II). Ȝerd hous, = Erdhous n. Yerd-silver, ? =Lair-silver n., the price charged for a grave or burial-plot.(1) 1575 6th Rep. Hist. MSS App. 658/1.
To McCul of Joanis man that come with tua yeird doigis, 10 s.
(2) 1547 Reg. Cupar A. II 45.
In biggin of gude sufficient ȝerd houssis … sway that … thair be funding na falt
(3) 1545 Aberd. B. Rec. MS XIX (Jam. s.v. Yerd-siluer).
Tuelf pennis Scottis of yerd-siluer

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"Ȝerd n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Nov 2022 <>



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