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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

GLAUR, n.1, v.1 Also glar, glaar, glore, †glawr, †glair, †glare. [glǫ:r, †glɑ:r, gle:r]

I. n. Also in n.Eng. dial. Dims. glaary, glairie.

1. Soft, sticky mud; ooze, slime. Gen.Sc.Sc. 1716 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 67:
Then took his Bonnet to the Bent, And daddit aff the Glar.
Gsw. 1764 Gsw. Past & Pres. (1884) III. 129:
Where he was in use to see the channel and clean bed of the burn for the distance above mentioned, there is nothing now but glare, rubbish, and nastiness.
Ayr. 1821 Galt Ann. Parish i.:
Poor old Mr Kilfuddy of the Braehill got such a clash of glar on the side of his face, that his eye was almost extinguished.
Sc. 1829 R. Chambers Sc. Songs I. 54:
And syne she has drucken my bonnie grey mairie, That carried me through the dub and the glairie.
Bch. 1832 W. Scott Poems 76:
When lo a dreadfu' show'r o' mud an' glare, Bespatter'd Gibbie's snotter-box right sair.
Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.:
Doon he plumpit into a peat hole, up to the very shoothers amang water an' rotten glaur!
Sh. 1891 J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 100:
Some says 'at Time is craalin laek a wirm Troo da tik glaar dey caa Eternity.
Kcb. 1894 Crockett Raiders xxiii.:
Eppie saw nae mair but the oily bubbles rising oot o' the black glossy glaur o' the wall-e'e.
Mearns 1933 “L. G. Gibbon” Cloud Howe i. 32:
But the Spring was coming . . . The glaur and the winter dark near gone.
Gsw. 1937 F. Niven Staff at Simson's iv.:
They're a nuisance these long dresses, gathering a' the glaur and stour.
Lnk. 1982 Duncan Glen in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 56:
Glaur and wet and mair wet in burns
to be crossed.
Rnf. 1993 History on your Doorstep, The Reminiscences of the Ferguslie Elderly Forum 35:
I loved the Clabber Dancing. On a summer's night, some folk would come out their houses with an accordion maybe, and everybody would dance. If you had children and couldn't get out, it was great just dancing on the clabber - the dried-up glaur.
Rs. 1996 Alec John Williamson in Timothy Neat The Summer Walkers: Travelling People and Pearl-Fishers in the Highlands of Scotland 58:
They stayed up all night, until about two in the morning, when, out of the darkness, Jacob returned, all covered in glore.
Edb. 1998 Gordon Legge Near Neighbours (1999) 96:
Our Paul was up the market one day, week past Saturday, right, and sees Mandy trekking through all the glaur, like.
Abd. 1998 Sheena Blackhall The Bonsai Grower 19:
Though Nell likit fine tae see him wi his fite powe shampooed an washed like a bairn's hippens, an his horns and hooves cleaned o glaur an iled, an his touzles caimbed frae his tail, ...
Arg. 1998 Angus Martin The Song of the Quern 52:
Hae ye cam here fae Passchendaele?
Close-mooth tae stair-heid's a trail o glar,
Ye look lik a man's been deid owerlang,
still rug in a kilt for the war.

Comb.: †glaur-hole, †glair-hole, a muddy spot, a mire (Twd. 1825 Jam.).e.Lth. 1840 P. McNeill Tranent (1884) 44:
Pushing and dragging [a coal-slipe] through glaur-holes innumerable.

2. Green seaweed (Per.3 1947, glar). Cf. Gar, n., 1.

3. Used fig. as a term of opprobrium or abuse (Knr.1 1954). Cf. similar use of Eng. scum. Also attrib.Dmf. 1831 T. Carlyle Letters (Bliss 1953) 83:
Jack and I at least laughed . . . at the answer I wrote his base glar of a Letter: he has written again in much politer style.
Dmf. 1835 T. Carlyle Life (Froude 1884) I. 24:
But must booksellers, able editors, and the glar company of suchlike individuals be a new set of middlemen between me and my task?
Abd. 1879 G. Macdonald Sir Gibbie I. xxi.:
Ye deil's glaur! . . . I s' lat ye ken what comes o' brakin' into honest hooses, an' takin' what's no yer ain!

4. (1) The white of an egg (Sc. 1808 Jam., glair s.v. glar); (2) “the substance that gathers in a shot of herring caused by the emission of milt and roe” (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (17 Feb.); Sh., Cai. 1954).

5. A daub, a coating of something moist (Abd. 1936, glaary). Cf. Clary, n., idem.m.Lth.1 1954:
Pit a glaur o' honey on yer breed, man.

6. Slippery ice (Bnff.2 1927): slipperiness (Abd. 1880 Jam.). This may phs. be a separate word: cf. obs. Eng. (16th c.) glare = frost, icy condition, in U.S.A. = a sheet (of ice), and Sh. Glerel, id.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 65:
The thow an' syne the frost's made the rod a' ae sheet o' glaur.

II. v. 1. To dirty, soil, esp. to dirty or cover with mud; to make slimy or slippery (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Sh.10 (rare), Bwk.3 1954). Also fig. = to besmirch. Now in gen.Sc. use as ppl.adj. Also in Nhb. dial.Abd. 1739 in Caled. Mag. (1788) 504:
Just whare their feet the dubs had glaar'd And brew'd them a' like brine.
Gsw. 1877 A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 137:
The critics! . . . . . . muddy-handed, try to glaur Some bardie's wark.
Abd. 1946 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 227:
Instead o' liftin' tatties in mornin's glaured and cauld.
m.Lth.1 1954:
The bairns came hame a' glaured up.
Gsw. 1991 James Alex McCash in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 16:
Proud, proven pair! Sae a'but you did smile;
Glaur'd, naked and slapped,
Then dichted and happed,
You sprauchled and gasped and girned and grat ootricht.

2. To mess about (in mud).Abd. 1904 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (11 June):
We glaured in mud when the tide was down.

[O.Sc. has glar(e), v., c.1470, n., from c.1500. Of uncertain origin.]

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"Glaur n.1, v.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 28 Feb 2024 <>



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