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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.

HURB, n. Also horbe; dim. †hurble. [hʌrb] ‡A puny, weak, unhealthy person or animal (n.Sc. 1808 Jam., hurble); a rough, uncouth person, a slattern, a good-for-nothing creature (ne.Sc. 1957); applied playfully to a child, rascal (Abd. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.).Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb iii.:
He's a queer-leukin' hurb, at ony rate.
Mry. 1897 J. Mackinnon Braefoot Sk. 160:
Ye'll nae get a waur pitten on horbe anaith the goon than Meg Macinnes in the hale pairish.
Bnff. 1921 Swatches o' Hamespun 22:
Some deid eeseless hurb 'at's weel awa'.
Abd.7 1925:
“Ye hurb, gin I wis at ye,” said the mother to her child. Sometimes it is used differently, as when a child rather smart at school, is called a “clever little hurb.”
Abd. 1951 Huntly Express (24 Aug.):
Here's that hurbs o' craws back at my barley again.

[Orig. doubtful. Phs. an emphatic variant of Eng. hob, a sprite, clown, booby. Cf. Dob, Dorb; Gob, Gorb.]

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"Hurb n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 4 Dec 2023 <>



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