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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1934 (SND Vol. I). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

AFORE, adv., prep., conj. [ə′fo:r]

1. adv.

(1) Of place: before, in front; in advance; also fig. Gen.Sc.Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 121:
An' Jean wi' orange silk is a' clad o'er, Wi' mantle blue an' siller clasps afore.
Abd. a.1920 Proverb in Gleanings from a Deeside Parish 10:
They're far afore 'at daurna look back.
Ags.(D) 1899 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy 4:
[Of a horse.] He's akinda foondered afore.
Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems, Auld Man vii.:
Hame . . . war comin' Fu' monie a weary man an' woman; Afore, the Highland bag-pipe bummin'.
Rxb. 1808 A. Scott Poems 101:
Wham now to ding was past his pow'r, Sae far afore was he.

(2) (Hence, of a clock:) showing a more advanced time, fast. Gen.Sc. Cf. Ahint.Bnff.2 1931:
Ye'll manage fine yet; oor knock's aye twenty meenits afore.
Abd.2 1931:
We aye keep oor time aboot ha'f an oor afore.
Kcb.1 1931:
That clock's never richt, it's aye either hauf-an-oor afore or hauf-an-oor ahin.

(3) Of time: before; previously. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1893 R. L. Stevenson Catriona xv.:
It's a question wi' mony if there ever was his like afore.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 16:
'Twas now as dark as it afore was clear.
Knr. 1886 H. Haliburton Horace in Homespun 48:
Nor beast nor body, big nor wee, Ever afore mistrustit me.
m.Lth. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 120:
Do I look war-far'd nor I did afore?
Hdg. 1902 J. Lumsden Toorle, etc. 2:
And e'en tho' a wind do come, surely we hae tholed winds afore?
Gall.(D) 1901 Trotter Gall. Gossip 4:
He speer't . . . aboot folk yt wus deid mony a year afore.

2. prep.

(1) Of place: before, in front of; in advance of; in or into the presence of; with fig. extensions. Gen.Sc.Sc. a.1733 Orpheus Caled. II. 14, Jocky said to Jeany iii.:
A Stack afore the Door.
Sc. [1827] J. Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 284:
The Macedonian monarch, marching afore his body-guard.
Sc. 1829 (not in 1815 ed.) Scott Guy M. xlv.:
Wasp rade thirty o' them [sc. miles] afore me on the saddle.
Sh.(D) 1918 T. Manson Humours Peat Comm. I. 104:
He wis blate afore da folk.
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 21:
Peter took the smith “afore the shirra.”
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 95:
Sae be the lad her for his ain wad hae, An' tak her hame, syne join afore the priest.
m.Sc. 1917 J. Buchan Poems 34:
I've tried to keep the narrow way, I've walked afore the Lord in fear.
 wm.Sc. 1980 Anna Blair The Rowan on the Ridge 84:
" ... You'll tak' that Ann Muir afore Maister Walker and the Session and declare yoursel's, and then get busy and big a cot for her and your bairn doon here at the mill."
Ayr.5 1931:
Gleg as a Kilmaurs whittle, that can cut an inch afore the point. (Proverb.)

(2) (Hence, of a clock) showing a more advanced time than.Sh.4 1931:
I doot 'at dye watch is afore da time.
Ayr.5 1931:
The clock's afore the toun (= town-clock).

(3) Of what is ahead of one, and still to be done or suffered: confronting, in store for. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1816 Scott H. Midlothian III. i.:
I have a lang day's darg afore me.
Ags.(D) 1894 J. B. Salmond My Man Sandy (1899) 58:
But little did I think what was afore's.

(4) In rank or importance above or before; in preference to. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Kirk i' the Clachan 117:
His battle comes first afore the battles o' earth.
Abd.(D) 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxi.:
Sandy Peterkin may aiven be pitten in afore me.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff 221:
I'm willin' to be Mrs Daw, which I like far afore Mrs Duffy.

(5) Of time: before; previous to; earlier than. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1831 Scott C. Rob. Paris Introd. Addr. 21:
A new book, which is to beat a' the lave that gaed afore it.
Sh.(D) 1924 T. Manson Humours Peat Comm. III. 2:
Da bride's dress wisna ready half-a-oor afore da time at shu wis ta be mairied.
Bnff. 1847 A. Cumming Tales of the North 57:
“Persuasion,” says Sarah, “I'm o' nae persuasion ava . . . but a rigid Roman Catholic, as were a' my forbears afore me.”
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 9:
Day afore yesterday Missis took a bad turn, the worst
O' high fevers, a heid thumpin' fit tae burst.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 29:
Ah'm an auld wummin afore ma time.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Halloween xv.:
Ae Hairst afore the Sherra-moor.

3. conj.

(1) Of time: before. Gen.Sc.  Rs. 1996 Alec John Williamson in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 176:
Now I don't think anybody would say that is proper song! But it gives you a thirst for a dram! Afore ye go I'd like to give you two more poems. We don't know who wrote the first - it's anonymous.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 53:
Twa' mile she ran afore she bridle drew.
Abd.(D) a.1809 J. Skinner Amusements, etc., Christmas Ba'ing xxviii.:
Afore he could step three inch back, The millart drew a knife.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 106:
'Jean, Jean,' said Mitchel. 'Ye may gang hame noo. Hurry noo, afore ye freeze.'
Ags. 1918 J. Inglis The Laird 6:
The smith says he, “It cam' in sure Afore the hoose was thackit, O!”
Lnl. 1910 J. White Eppie Gray 15:
Afore twa towmonds had come roon, Death cam an' gied the hinmaist woun.
Edb. c.1840 J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie's Wallet (1875) 110:
Creep afore ye gang.
wm.Sc. 1985 Liz Lochhead Tartuffe 3:
C'moan, Flipote, afore Ah get masel inty a state.
Uls. 1910 C. C. Russell People and Lang. of Uls. 32:
He was there afore I kem up.

(2) Rather than. Gen.Sc.Sc. a.1896 A. Cheviot Proverbs 35:
“Afore I was at this speed,” quo' the tod, “I wad rather hae my tail cuttit aff.”
Mry.(D) 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sketches 30:
I'd bide in a hoosie by mysel', like Betty Shanks, wi' a cat, afore I'd be tied tae a slooter o' a man o' that kin'.
Arg.1 1929:
Ah wad see 'um far enough afore ah wad dae that for 'um.

4. Phrases.

(1) Broken afore. See Break. (2) Geng or gang afore. See Gae. (3) It fell afore me. See Fa, I. B. 9. (11).

5. Comb.

(1) ¶Afore-fit, a'fore-fit, adv. “Indiscriminately, all without exception, Upp. Clydes.” (Jam.2). (2) Afore-han', -hand, adv., in advance, beforehand. Gen.Sc. (3) Aforesyne, adv., in former days. (4) ¶Afore-the-stem (see quot.). (5) Afore-the-stern (see quot.).(2) Bnff. 1882 W. M. Philip K. MacIntosh's Scholars 23:
That rascal will end his days on a gallows, if he dinna come to his hinderine in some sudden and dreidfu' nanner aforehan'.
Abd. 1865 G. Macdonald Alec Forbes (1892) xxix.:
It's no needfu' to ken't aforehan'.
Ags. 1896 J. M. Barrie Window in Thrums v.:
Some says ye mak them up aforehand.
Rnf. 1871 D. Gilmour The “Pen” Folk (1873) 20:
I get whiles a glouf o' conscience, but I aye get twa gaups o' gratification afore han'.
Also as adj., Jam.6:
He ran on . . . wi' the afore-han' siller. (Fore-han' is, however, more common. Jam.6)
(3) Sc. 1897 Sandy Scott's Bible Class 22:
Aforesyne they might maybe do right at an antrin time.
(4) Sc. 1895 Roy Horseman's Word xvi. 181:
Above his head was a large bunk, seven or eight feet deep, called by the fishermen “afore-the-stem,” and capable in their estimation of accommodating over half-a-dozen sleepers.
(5) Sc. 1911 S.D.D.:
Afore-the-stern, a large sleeping-bunk in a fishing-boat.

Afore adv., prep., conj.

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"Afore adv., prep., conj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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