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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

FOREBEAR, n. Also †forebeer, †-beir, †-bier, forbear, †-beer. An ancestor, progenitor, forefather. Gen. in pl. Gen.Sc. Now also in Eng. [′forber, -bir, ‡fər′bir]Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems 160:
God grant him an unmeasur'd Skair Of a' that grac'd his great Forbears.
Abd. 1768 A. Ross Helenore 118:
We never thought it wrang to ca' a prey, Our auld forbears practis'd it a' their days.
Sc. 1775 Weekly Mag. (28 Dec.) 21:
Kingcardine — known when Scotia had a name, Our gallant forebiers mark'd the warlike house.
Ayr. 1786 Burns Death of Mailie 39–40:
So may they like their great forbears, For monie a year come thro' the sheers.
Sc. 1819 Scott Bride of Lamm. xxiii.:
Will he die by the sword or the ball, as his forbears hae dune before him?
Rnf. 1840 J. Mitchell Wee Steeple's Ghaist 197:
Such was the gait o' our forebears, Then men to pity's tale lent ears.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 26:
A' his forebears . . . war muckle stoor an' yet geud-natired plosible folk.
Kcb. 1893 Crockett Stickit Minister 11:
He left no sillar to speak of, just plenty to lay him decently in the kirkyard among his forebears.
Abd. 1929 J. Alexander Mains and Hilly 173:
We're maybe nae aye a' 't we sid be bit we cud haud a can'le to wir forbeers.
Sc. 1953 Scotsman (20 May):
It was in darker days and more turbulent times that my forebear held the King's Commission at the historic Glasgow Assembly of 1638.

[Fore-, 2. + bear, agent n. of be. v. The pronunciation [be:r] is due to confusion with bear, v. Cf. Forebearer. O.Sc. for(e)bear, id., from c.1450.]

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"Forebear n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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