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

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First published 2000 (DOST Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

S(c)hir(e, adj. Also: schyr(e; scheer. [ME and e.m.E. shir (Orm), schir (Ancr. R.), scir (c1250), scire (Cursor M.), schyre (1340), OE scír. Cf. ON skír-r.]

1. Of fire: Bright. Also of embers: Glowing.(1) c1420 Wynt. v 578.
All Rome he set in tyll a fyre A low off that for to se schyre
Ib. 3119.
The comete … is a starne wyth blesys schyre
1513 Doug. x v 42.
The flambys schire
Ib. xii xi 127.
Lemand towart the lyft the flambe he saw Amang the plankis and the loftis schire Stremand and kyndland fast the hoyt fyre
(2) c1420 Wynt. iv 1894.
Eftyre that all that towne in fyre Wes brynt and fallyn in colys schyre
Ib. viii 1772.
Thai schyppys … Thai brynt all wp in colys schyre

2. a. Of armour or a shield: Shining. b. transf. Splendid to look at; resplendent. ?1438 Alex. ii 8711.
Silkin towellis that war schire
c1450-2 Howlat 404 (A).
Syne schir schapyn to schawe mony schene scheld With tuscheis of trast silk tichit to the tre
Ib. 912 (B).
So fair is my fetherem I haif no fallow My schroud & my schene weid schyre to be schawin
1460 Hay Alex. 508.
Ane hors … with ane weill sett on taill Baith lang and schire
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 537.
To se that his schire weid be sicker of assay
Ib. 990.
The riche berne … Scheddit his schire wedis scharply away
a1603 Anc. Prophecies 15.
And rax him rudely in his shire shield

3. Of liquid: Bright, shining; clear; translucent. Also, of wax.In the 1632 quot., scheer may be identical with the first element in Sere-candill n. c1420 Ratis R. 643.
Scho berys with hire lycor schyr That sloknis syne as vattir fyre
a1500 Gol. & Gaw. 639.
Schire teris schot fra schalkis schene vndir scheild
Ib. 690.
Fra schalkis schot schire blude
1632 Edinb. Test. LVI 23.
Aucht pund weycht brunt wax … sevin pund scheer wax

4. a. Describing air: Insubstantial, thin. b. Sparse; scanty.a. 1513 Doug. iii viii 48.
Evyn at our desyre The sessonabil ayr pipis vp fair and schyre The havyn apperis and thiddir nerrar we draw
Ib. iv v 188.
He vanyst far away … Furth of this mortale syght in the schyre ayr [L. in tenuem … auram]
Ib. xiii x 111.b. 1587-99 Hume 34/14.
My haires are schyre and gray

5. Complete; utter; out-and-out. 1513 Doug. viii Prol. 78.
This cuntre is full of Caymis kyn, And sik schire schrewis

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"Shir adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Mar 2024 <>



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