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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SQUARE, n., v., adj. Also squair; squaar (Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 47), squar (Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlvi., Bnff. 1934 J. M. Caie Kindly North 23), squarr, squaur(e) (Abd. 1865 G. MacDonald Alec Forbes (1892) I. xvii., squawre, 1868 G. MacDonald R. Falconer (1898) I. ii., squaur); sqwaar (Sh. 1968 New Shetlander No. 86. 16), swaer (Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 117), sware (Sh. 1964 Nordern Lichts 54), squerr, see Q, letter, 1., and S, letter, 3. [′skweər; ‡skwɑr] Sc. forms and n. and v. usages:

I. n. 1. Sc. form of English square.Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 14:
The New Year's drawin in an still nae sign a you comin hame. No sae much as a cheep oot ye. When yer bus left the Squerr last October ye says ye'd be back by Christmas.

2. Specif. the square, farm buildings, a farm steading, esp. when built so as to form the four sides of a square (Ork., Cai., Inv., Mry., Bnff., Peb., Dmf. 1971).Mry. 1968 H. L. Brereton Gordonstoun 70:
He constructed the famous circle, known ever since as the Round Square. . . . The auxiliary buildings of a Scottish estate were generally in the form of a square and customarily called simply “the Square.”

3. Combs. (1) squareman, a workman who regularly uses a square for adjusting or testing his work, esp. a carpenter or mason, now obs. exc. in Freemasonry; a member of an Incorporated Trade in a burgh which comprised these (Dmf. 1825 Jam.); (2) square sausage, also squerr sausage. Square-shaped sausage meat; cf. lorne sausage; (3) square work, carpentry, joinery, work involving the use of a square; (4) square-wricht, -wright, a carpenter; specif. one who makes furniture (Lnk. 1825 Jam.; n.Sc. 1882 Francisque-Michel 30).(1) Ayr. 1744 Ayr Presb. Reg. MS. (11 July) 325:
David Anderson present Deacon of the squaremen in Ayr.
Dmf. 1760 Indictment of W. Kirkpatrick 16:
John Gillespie, squareman or joiner there.
Dmf. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 IV. 21:
The squaremen including joiners, cabinet-makers, masons, glaziers, coopers, and slaters.
Edb. 1943 Scotsman (2 Jan.) 3:
The annual meeting of the Corporation of Squaremen was held as usual in the Masonic Hall of Lodge Journymen Masons, Blackfriars Street.
(2)Sc. 1990 Independent (16 Oct) 30:
The lifestyle, too, suited the Macleods. The Royal Scots were based 10 minutes away, so they did not miss the necessities, ''square sausages and Scottish papers''.
Sc. 1995 Daily Record (21 Feb) 49:
I also love square sausage, chips and Hula Hoops. I'm still a big wean.
Edb. 1998 Gordon Legge Near Neighbours (1999) 103:
Poor bastard got rifted out of his airline pilot gig when significant traces of cocaine and cannabis, LSD and MDMA, and Irn-Bru and square sausage were discovered following a random test of his urine, blood and faeces.
Gsw. 1998 Herald (11 Jul) 26:
One pound of square sausage and two pieces of haddock doesn't have the same ring as half a kilo of sea bream, two red mullet and the charcuterie's best lonzo sausage.
Sc. 1998 Daily Record (3 Oct) 36:
Those who are expecting Chips au Irn Bru,Teacakes a la carte and squerr sausage au gratin might be disappointed.
Sc. 1999 Sunday Mail (25 Apr) 36:
Giggling, she confessed that, because she had moved to London, she was missing potato scones and square sausage, and insisted she would never lose her distinctive accent because "I am proud to be a Scot."
Sc. 2003 Sun (25 Jan):
I bet no one's told them to expect the extra thousands and thousands of Scots who'll be stoating off planes all through the summer carrying a fortnight's supply of square sausage and Irn-Bru.
(3) Edb. 1749 Caled. Mercury (16 May):
John Gibson's Manufactory of Square-work, Cast-work, Wheel-work and Barrow-work.
(4) Bnff. 1729 Boharm Parish Mag. (Dec. 1894):
William Lyon, squarwright.
Abd. 1743 Epitaph in Fyvie Churchyard:
James Skinner, Square Wright, sometime in Burnside of Philorth.
Inv. 1797 Inv. Session Rec. (Mitchell 1902) 119:
John McPherson, square wright, and Hugh Suttor, slater.
ne.Sc. 1828 P. Buchan Ballads I. 279:
Your brother is a gallant square wright, Ye'll gar him make a lang ladder.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 56:
We are the bonnie trees o the teuch hert
treisure tae the square-wricht's skeelie haund,
Edb. 2004:
Yer uncle wiz a square wright, no juist a common jiner.

3. A standard size of brick, esp. fire-brick.Sc. 1971:
Squares: The English equivalent term is Straights and both terms mean a rectangular brick such as 9 x 4½ x 3 in: or 9 x 6 x 2½ in.

II. adj. Sc. form of Eng. square.Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 5:
Some o the walthier fairmers had cheenged tae roon bales. Even the squar bales she didna care fur. She cud jist min o the auld-farrant stooks at Clashmore, like Sabbath hauns grippit in prayer at the Kirk.

[O.Sc. squareman, a carpenter, 1646, squar wright, id., 1659.]

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"Square n., v., adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 30 Nov 2023 <>



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