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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.

HAAR, n.1 Also har(r), haur, ¶charr (Slg. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 XV. 319, note).

1. A cold, easterly wind (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh., Cai., m.Lth., Rxb. 1956); “a gentle breeze, which generally blows from the east in a fine spring afternoon” (Fif. 1812 W. Tennant Anster Fair 28); “a misty wind” (Cai.8 1934). Gen. in phr. easterly ha(a)r.Slg. 1777 W. Nimmo Hist. Slg. 438:
In the months of April and May, easterly winds, commonly called Haars, usually blow with great violence, especially in the afternoons.
Cld. 1794 J. Naismith Agric. Cld. 24:
The cold damps, called Easterly-Hars, so prevalent on the east coast, seldom arrive here.
m.Lth. 1812 Scots Mag. (May) 327:
A return of the chilling easterly haar, as it is here styled, has again impeded vegetation.
Crm. 1829 H. Miller Herring Fishing 37:
The easterly har, a sea breeze so called by fishermen, which in the Moray Frith during the summer months and first month of autumn, commonly comes on after ten o'clock a.m. and fails at four o'clock p.m. had now set in.

Hence haary, haury, of wind: cold, piercing (Sh. 1914 Angus Gl.; Sh., m.Lth. 1956).Edb. 1822 R. Wilson Poems 56:
Tho' envy's haury blastin' breath May shore to freeze us cauld as death.
Sh. 1898 “Junda” Klingrahool 22:
A haary wind blaws keen an caald Across da voe.

2. A cold mist or fog, gen. used on the east coast for a sea-mist (Sc. 1802 A. Campbell Journey from Edb. II. 17. 1808 Jam., sea haar). Gen.Sc. (exc. Gall.); “mist hanging on the grass” (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 28); a mist caused by frost after rain (Per., Cld. 1880 Jam.). Also in n.Eng. dials.Fif. 1807 J. Grierson St Andrews 110:
The haar, however, does not extend itself a great way into the country, for, by the time it has reached the distance of perhaps twenty or thirty miles from the shore, it is generally dissipated by the greater heat of the interior land.
Sc. 1814 J. Sinclair Agric. Scot. I. 4.2:
[The North Sea] being five degrees warmer in summer, than the Atlantic, a copious evaporation takes place, throughout its extent, which produces the eastern haars (as they are called) or thick mists, which are seen, at a certain period of the day, to arise from the sea.
Sc. 1827 Wilson Noctes Amb. (1863) I. 353:
But it's just your ain vile, vapoury, thick, dull, yellow, brown, . . . easterly haur o' Embro' that gies me the rheumatics.
Ags. 1893 “F. Mackenzie” Cruisie Sk. 22:
The October evening drew keenly down on the Cruisie, and a frosty haar filled Noran valley.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 272:
Quoth Lammer hairsly to Traprain — “Hey, freend! man, lat North Berwick ken His sea-haur caps my tap again Till I'm but halflins seen!”
Lnk. 1919 G. Rae Clyde and Tweed 8:
Within a martyr's grave, Ower whilk the white haur dreeps.
Sc. 1948 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 341:
Now and again we could see the scud of the sky along the water down a corridor of the shifting, opening, closing sea-haur. . . . For close on two hours we turned and quested; rowed in this autumn smoke of haar.
ne.Sc. 1979 Alastair Mackie in Joy Hendry Chapman 23-4 (1985) 64:
And haar theeks the sea...
I hae the sea's instability and showdin;
my centre is a swither, an unsiccar shakky foond.
m.Sc. 1986 Colin Mackay The Song of the Forest 14:
Mungo in his cloak snores peacefully from time to time. Before dawn there is the white haar of the thawing snow.
Fif. 1986 Harry D. Watson in Joy Hendry Chapman 43-4 163:
Faces swam up out of the numbing haar, hands gesticulating, a cacophony of voices: ...
m.Sc. 1991 Donald Goodbrand Saunders in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 137:
A firtree stauns his lane
On a dreich norlan scar;
He dwynes in sleep, as winter
Haps him in a plaid o haar.
em.Sc. 1992 Ian Rankin Strip Jack (1993) 95:
It was dark outside, and foggy too, a haar drifting in across the city from the North Sea. In a haar, Edinburgh seemed to shift backwards through time.
em.Sc. 2000 James Robertson The Fanatic 302:
The sun was shining over there too, and there wasn't a trace of haar in the firth.

Hence haary, haury, misty, foggy (Sc. 1818 Sawers, haury; Sh., Fif., Rxb. 1956) and comb. partan-haar, a good time for catching crabs (Sc. 1899 Mont.-Fleming).Sc. 1894 Stevenson St Ives (1898) ii.:
Past yin o'clock, and a dark, haary moarnin'.
Edb. 1900 E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 115:
There couldna be a better night, sae haary an' dark.

3. Hoar-frost (Per., Cld. 1880 Jam.); also ‡haar-frost (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.; Cai., Peb., Slk. 1956). This meaning is doubtful and due to a confusion with Hair, adj.s.Sc. 1857 H. S. Riddell Psalms cxlvii. 16:
He gies snaw like woo', he skatters the haar-frost like assis.

[L.Ger., Mid.Du. hare, biting cold wind; cf. e.Fris. harig, misty.]

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"Haar n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 23 Jun 2024 <>



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