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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II).
This entry has not been updated but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CLARY, CLARRY, CLAIRY, CLAARY, n. and v. [′klɑ(:)rɪ̢, ′kle(:)rɪ̢]

1. n. A mess; a liberal spread (as of butter or jam) on bread; “a daub of paint” (n.Ant. 1924 “N. Antrim” in North. Whig (14 Jan.)); a poultice or plaster (Arg.1 1937). Known to Lnk.3, Kcb.9 (1937).Arg. 1882 Argyllsh. Herald (3 June):
I tok a ould moggan fit an row'd up a clary o' hechhow [water-hemlock] an' moogart an' grandivies [ground-ivy].
Arg.1 1937:
Sit doon noo an' dae yer lessons lake a cluvver laddie an' then ye'll get yer tea wi a fine claary o' jam on yer shafe o' breed.
Ayr.4 1928:
He made just a clairy o' that job.
Dmf. 1925 W. A. Scott in Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 20:
Come intae the hoose this meenit; see what a clairy ye're makin' o' yersel'.

2. v. To besmear (Lnk.3' Kcb.9 1937; Uls. 1920 H. S. Morrison Mod. Ulster 38). MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. (1824) 135 gives clarrie = besmeared with mud, and Arg.1 (1935) clairit.

[Cf. Glaurie, in the same sense as the noun above.]

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"Clary n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 1 Feb 2023 <>



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