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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.

GAR, v.2 Also garr, gaur; gaar (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.), gair (Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 100), gare (Abd.4 1931), ger (Sc. 1880 Jam.; Mry.1, Bnff.7 1927), gir (Gsw. 1860 J. Young Poorhouse Lays 189). Pa.t. and pa.p. gar(r)d, -t, gaur'd, -t, gair(r)t, -d; gert (Jam.2). [Sc. gɑ(:)r, but Ork., ne.Sc., Wgt. + ger, gɛr]

1. To make, cause; to force, compel, esp. to make (a person) do (something). Gen.Sc. (rare in Sh.). Common in n.Eng. dial.Lnk. 1709 Minutes J.P.s (S.H.S.) 68:
He heard the said John Hutchisone answer that he would gar him make that out.
Abd. 1739 in Caled. Mag. (1788) 503:
Nae twa there wadha gart him wallow, Wi' fair play i' the mud On's back that day.
Edb. 1773 R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 60:
He gar'd ilk sinner sigh an' groan, And fear hell's flame.
Ayr. 1791 Burns Tam o' Shanter 123–24:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.
Sc. 1820 Scott Monastery viii.:
The Sacristan . . . speaks as if he would gar the house fly abroad.
Slk. 1820 Hogg Winter Ev. Tales II. 183:
Geordie was sae mad at Matthew for taigling him, an' garring him tine the fish.
Bnff. 1856 J. Collie Poems 21:
When foreign foe e'er ventur'd near, To gaur us smart.
Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 9:
Sheu gar'd a' the servants come i' the ha' afore her. [p. 116, gaird.]
Slg. 1935 W. D. Cocker Further Poems 68:
“Man's inhumanity to man” Still gars us grue.
Edb. 1979 Albert D. Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 44:
I mynd hou Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Laid aa the wyte on the foggie dew o England
For garrin him jalooze there was conspiracie
m.Sc. 1982 Douglas Fraser in Hamish Brown Poems of the Scottish Hills 8:
And, fegs, it's lang sin' lass or sang
Has gart me catch my breith,
wm.Sc. 1986 Robert McLellan in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 32:
Send word to the Dominie to gar the bairns dae the biddin, and order the funeral boat.
Slk. 1986 Harvey Holton in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 168:
Then the baist wull bide, Bran, but no yet, boy,
the hecht o the hero oor gart yet tae gie.
Uls. 1987 Sam Hanna Bell Across the Narrow Sea 2:
'So? And what garr'd ye do that? Light down and tell me.'
'Oh....' It seemed a foolish thing to relate and he felt a certain disloyalty at the thought of doing so. But it had been to the man before him, not to his father, that he had turned in his boyhood. Obediently he dismounted.
Ags. 1988 Raymond Vettese The Richt Noise 27:
e'en as the birds
flee the north in search o livin heat
sae my words'll gae, vainish i the cauld lift,
and gar nae better season's income.
m.Sc. 1988 William Neill Making Tracks 56:
An as the boar hes gane, sae crine oor neebor trees
an gin the seedlin isna gart tae growe,
sae man will tine oor saucht an michtie bield.
Per. 1990 Betsy Whyte Red Rowans and Wild Honey (1991) 149:
'Then if I leave the hoose and gang tae look for some place tae put up my tent, I am gaered pull it doon again before the day is oot. ... '
m.Sc. 1991 Ronald Stevenson in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 70:
Soon wull it faa tae ye
in flaws an flachts the fleece
that smuirs the muirs -
an hansels Peace,
o warld,
tae ye, lued Lyfe, bi luve garred gowden,
Abd. 1996 Sheena Blackhall Wittgenstein's Web 61:
Bit there wis Ines; an naebody cud hae pit it frae ma thocht that Tullio wis garrin me owertak sae's tae haud me occupeed an divertit, sae he cud hae her aa tae hissel.
Lnk. 1997 Duncan Glen From Upland Man 7:
And the scones and rowth o high-tea cakes that
gars your teeth watter.
Abd. 2000 Sheena Blackhall The Singing Bird 25:
A duntin breeze that shook the leaves
Gart aa the birds gae wingin.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 124:
'Ma faither's freen James Guthrie, that suffered at the Restoration, I saw him killt. It niver leaves ye. When I falter, I think on it and it gars me gang on.'

Used quasi-adj. in the two following proverbs:Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 119:
Gar Wood is ill to grow. A return to them that say they will gar, that is, force you to do such a thing.
Sc. 1847 R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes 280:
Gaur gerse is ill to grow.

Phrs.: ‡(1) gar-me-true (trew), n., a hypocrite, a pretender; a philanderer (Abd.13 1933); a make-believe (Abd.4 1929); also used attrib.; †(2) to gar (somebody) as gude, to retaliate, pay (a person) back in his own coin; cf. gie as gude s.v. Guid; ¶(3) to gar-believe, to make believe, pretend.(1) Kcd. 1871 Stonehaven Jnl. (1 June) 3:
The brither an' wife made a gar-me-true mane They yalloched an' sought him through country an' town.
Abd. 1898 Abd. Wkly. Free Press (25 June):
I never was a gweed gar me trew a' the days o' me.
(2) Sc. 1749 Scots Mag. (Dec.) 606:
That's to learn him to meddle wi' me. I'll gar him as good as if he had na cuff'd my lugs.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xv.:
Impertinent coxcombs they are, that thus intrude themselves on the society of their betters; but your lordship kens how to gar them as gude.
(3) Abd. 1916 G. Abel Wylins 67:
We needna gar-believe, Jean; There's things that winna hide.

2. Used without an obj. and followed by the simple inf. without to: to cause, order something to be done, a construction very common in old ballads.Sc. 1724 Ramsay T.T.Misc. (1876) I. 82:
O fy gar ride, and fy gar rin, And haste ye find these traitors again.
Sc. 1816 Scott O. Mortality xxvii.:
An' the Whig Captain, Balfour, garr'd set up a gallows.
Sc. a.1830 Gay Goshawk in Child Ballads No. 96 E xix.:
Gar call to me my seven bretheren, To hew to me my bier.

[O.Sc. has ger from a.1350, gar, from 1386, with reg. change from -er to -ar; O.N. gera, to make, to do, etc., cogn. with O.E. gearwian, to get ready. Cf. Yare.]

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"Gar v.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 Jul 2024 <>



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