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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

MIRE, n.1 Also myre. Sc. usages:

1. Combs., mostly obs.: (1) mire-bumper, the bittern, Botaurus stellaris (Sc. 1808 Jam.); (2) mire-crow, the black-headed gull, Larus ridibundus (Cai. 1887 Harvie-Brown & Buckley Fauna Cai. 230). Also in Eng. dial.; (3) mire-drum, = (1) (Bwk. 1889 G. Muirhead Birds Bwk. II. 53; ne.Sc. 1903 G. Sim Fauna ofDee” 138). Also in Eng. dial. [ < Mid.Eng. mirdrommel]; (4) mire-duck, the common wild duck or mallard, Anas platyrhyncha (Fif. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 156; Abd., Ags., Fif., Gall. 1963). Also in curtailed form mire (Ags. 1955). Also in n.Eng. dial; (5) mire-fir, old tree roots embedded in bog, bog-fir. See Fir, Combs.; ¶(6) mire-mirk, murky darkness; (7) mire-pipes, stocking-legs without feet worn as gaiters; (8) mire snipe, myresnipe, the common snipe, Capella gallinago (Abd. 1885 C. Swainson Brit. Birds 192; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.; Ork., Cai., Wgt. 1963); also used fig., of a person: a thin, wiry, sharp-featured person. Adj. mire-snipey. Phrs. to meet wi' a miresnipe, catch a —, to become bogged or stuck in a mire, lit. or fig., to meet with a misfortune (Per., Slk. 1825 Jam.); the neb o' the miresnipe, the critical or decisive point, the last extremity. See also Neb.(1) wm.Sc. 1868 Laird of Logan Add. 486:
The bird called the bittern; heather-bluiter, myre-bumper, loch-bluiter, the same bird.
(3) s.Sc. 1911 A. H. Evans Fauna of Tweed 142:
Bittern. The Bull o' the Bog or Mire-drum, as this bird used to be termed on the Borders, was not uncommon of old.
(4) Per. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 X. 841:
There are found on the shores of the rivers the mire-duck, the sheldrake, the teal.
em.Sc. (a) 1906 J. A. Harvie-Brown Fauna Tay Basin 230:
A whole brood of young “mire ducks” met with a similar fate.
(5) Sc. 1835 H. Miller Scenes and Leg. (1867) 190:
Helen hastily lighted a bundle of mire-fir, that threw its red sputtering blaze half-way to the roof.
(6) Sc. 1910 D. G. Mitchell Sermons 23:
The mire-mirk hung ower the warl'.
(7) Edb. 1807 J. Hall Trav. Scot. II. 608:
During the time I staid in Edinburgh, I only observed one person, a big boy from the country, wearing mire-pipes or stockings without feet, called in some parts of Scotland, huggers.
Highl. 1809 J. Carr Tour 1807 449:
The very poor wear what are called mire-pipes.
(8) Dmf. c.1700 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. (1901) 58:
Myresnipes (which is like a Feldefare), called heatherbleet. In summer evenings they soar high in the air with a quivering voice.
Slk. 1818 Hogg B. of Bodsbeck v.:
She brought him to the neb o' the mire-snipe directly.
Edb. 1821 W. Liddle Poems 145:
Nor ne'er a miresnipe in the fen.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 258:
The laverock and the lark, The bawkie and the bat, The heather-bleet, the myresnipe, How many burds be that?
Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 114:
A' nivver saw sic a mire-snipe o' a craitur o' a wiffie's he's gotten.
Ags. 1881 C. Sievwright Garland 38:
To the myre-snipe's weary wail.
Abd. 1925 T. Darlow Robertson Nicoll 31:
A sma'-bookit, mire-snipe-y bit chielie.
Ork. 1929 Marw. 75:
The horse gok, mire snip and water-pleep — That three birds rin apae twa feet.
Cai.9 1946:
“The mire-snipe, the heather-bleat, and the horse-gowk all sleep in the same skin at neicht.” These are different names for the snipe according to its various calls.

2. A peat bog (Sh. 1963).Sh. 1898 W. F. Clark Northern Gleams 18:
[He] cut his own peats, and carried them home from the mires.

[O.Sc. myresnype, the snipe, c.1450.]

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"Mire n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jun 2024 <>



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