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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1960 (SND Vol. V).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

HAISTER, v., n. Also haster, †hasther; hester. [′hestər]

I. v. †1. To hurry, hasten. Only in ppl.adj. hastern[-ing], hastered, of oats or peas, early-ripening (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.), used also subst. Cf. Hasting.Per. 1795 Stat. Acc.1 VI. 364:
Pease are more prolific and luxuriant in the moist than in the dry lands of the parish. . . . The kind always sown is hot seed, called in this country hasterns.
Abd. 1811 G. Keith Agric. Abd. 260:
Of pease two sorts are used, the white and the grey; and of the latter an early kind, called Hasterns by the country people, is imported generally from Angus, sometimes from Peebles.

2. Specif.: to speak or act without premeditation; to do anything in a careless, slovenly manner (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). Ppl.adjs. (1) ha(i)stered, hastert, hastard, ill-done, scamped; flustered, irascible (Sc. 1787 J. Elphinston Propriety II. 195, hastert, 1808 Jam., hastard; s.Sc. Ib., haster'd); (2) haisterin', careless, slovenly (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).(1) Peb. 1805 J. Nicol Poems II. 160:
But Meg, wi the sight, was quite haster'd, An', nae doubt, was bannin ill luck.
Rnf. 1861 J. Barr Poems 158:
Ne'er fash your thume although your bairns Be hasthered like a nigger.

3. To cook too hastily, to burn, scorch, applied to badly-made toast (Rxb. 1808 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.), or scones baked on an over-heated girdle (m.Dmf.3 c.1920). Also found in Cum. dial.

4. To perplex, tease, pester, vex, harass (a person) (Sc. 1818 Sawers, haster; Slg.3 c.1930; Gall. 1956).Per. 1902 E.D.D.:
I was hestered [had too much to do]. Dinna hester me e'en-noo wi' yer questions.

II. n. 1. A person who speaks or acts confusedly (Slk. 1825 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); also deriv. hastrel and pl. form †haisters (Rxb. 1825 Jam.).

2. A slovenly woman, a trollop (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also deriv. hastrel, id. (Watson).

3. A confusion, a muddle; “sometimes applied to a great dinner confusedly set down” (Rxb. 1825 Jam.). Also deriv. hastrie, id.Sc. 1824 Royal Sc. Minstr. 120:
Ye're gaun to Edinbro', dear man, And gaun in sic a haister.
Sc. 1862 A. Hislop Proverbs 11:
A house in a hastrie is downright wastrie.

[Freq. form of haste. For v. 3, cf. also Eng. dial. haster, a meat roasting screen. O.Sc. haster, to fluster, c.1420.]

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



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