Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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FEERIE, adj.1 Also feery, fearie, feirrie. Strong, active, clever, fearless (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 202); specif. with regard to walking: nimble, smart (Sc. 1818 Sawers). Also used adv. Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 164:
Ha'd your Feet, luckie daddie, old Folk are not feery.
Sc. 1763 W. Thom Donaldsoniad 364:
He maintains, that a strict analogy may be observed between every one's natural manner of walking and his manner of thinking, and that to call a man eloquent or feery o' the feet, is to speak of him in synonymous terms.
Ayr. 1792 Burns Deuk's dang o'er my Daddie i.:
“The fien-ma-care,” quo' the feirrie auld wife.
Dmf. 1810 R. Cromek Remains 60:
Kimmer can cast owre it her cantraips an' spells, An' feerie can cross it in twa braid cockle shells.
Edb. 1894 P. H. Hunter J. Inwick ix.:
Suppose ye took a soond man, hale an' feery o' the feet, an' gar't him aye walk aboot wi' a pair o' crutches, what wad happen til him?
Kcb. 1909 Gallovidian No. 44. 177:
He was on the borders o' four score, yet a fearie fell auld carle.

Hence adv. feerilie, -y. cleverly, actively, nimbly (Per. 1880 Jam.). Sc. 1763 W. Thom Donaldsoniad 368:
I thocht it wad be better if it was a' dun bi ane that cou'd gae throw it feerily and cannily.

[O.Sc. fery, feirie, id. from c.1420. A deriv. in -ie of Fere, adj., q.v.]

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"Feerie adj.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Feb 2020 <>



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