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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1965 (SND Vol. VI). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

NAR, adj., adv., prep, v. Also naar, naur, nor-; n(a)err (s.Sc.). Compar. naarer, nerrer; narder. Superl. nar(d)est (Gall., Uls.). Cf. Near. [nɑr, nr; s.Sc. nær]

I. adj. 1. Of two: nearer, closer to the speaker, more proximate (Sh., ne. and em.Sc. (a), Kcb. 1963); specif. of the left-hand side of an animal, vehicle, etc. (Abd., Ags., Fif., Kcb. 1963). Hence narhander, a left-handed person (Fif. 1963). Now only dial. in Eng.Gall.3 c.1867:
“Eel stabbit in the nar [sc. ear], back nippit in the far,” was how I have heard a sheep described.
Kcb. 1897 T. Murray Frae the Heather 148:
I bought, paid, and marked him, eelstabbed i' the n'ar.
Abd. 1951 Buchan Observer (20 Feb.):
In the two horse plough, one horse trod the open furrow, the other, the land beast, on the other's left side. It was the “nar” beast, the other the “aff” beast.

2. Near, close at hand, next (‡ne.Sc., Kcb., Uls. 1963).Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms lxv. heading:
Narest till him, maun be blythest.
Rxb. 1873 D.S.C.S. 246:
The man's a naerr freind o' oaor yn, eane o' oor neist o' kyn.
Abd. 1884 D. Grant Lays (1908) 9:
An' Johnny made a nar' escape Fae droonin' in his bed.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 54:
They sent the youngest to the nardest toon.

Phr. a nar cut, a short cut. See Near.Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 161:
For a naur cut they took the fit-road through Dunjap.

II. adv. 1. Near, near by, close at hand (ne.Sc. 1963). Also with compar. force.Sc. 1721 J. Kelly Proverbs 328:
The nar even the more Beggars. A facetious Word when more People come into Company.
Lnk. 1818 Scots Mag. (Aug.) 155:
We gade nerrer to see what it was.
Fif. 1827 W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 129:
The aftener he to heevin' cam naur He seem'd to hate it aye the waur.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 74:
Nae hairm ava noo can there be If I gang narder just to see.
Bnff. 1954 Banffshire Jnl. (20 July):
A broch nar is a storm far; but a broch far is a storm nar!

2. Nearly, almost, closely (Rxb. 1927 E. C. Smith Braid Haaick 16, nerr). Superl. form normaist, id.Sc. 1818 S. E. Ferrier Marriage II. xi.:
See an ony of them'll rin a race wi' me whan they're naur five score.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xxxix.:
Aw never wus naarer nicket i' my life.
Slg. 1885 A. Murray Poems 85:
Wi' locks normaist as black's th' snaw, Th' growth o' saxty simmers!
Fif. 1894 A. S. Robertson Provost 13:
A' nature is naur in a lowe.
Sh. 1922 J. Inkster Mansie's Röd 131:
I strak me tae in a roilt o' a stane upo' da station, an naur guid grüflins.

III. prep. Near, close to, beside (Sh. 1963).Sc. 1745 Sc. Mus. Museum III. 242:
Sir John Cope trode the north right far, Yet ne'er a rebel he came naur.
Dmf. 1873 A. C. Gibson Folk Speech Cmb. 123:
Monie were the middens nerr the whunstane-causey't street.
Sh. 1899 J. Spence Folk-Lore 23:
Guid be naar dee.
e.Lth. 1908 J. Lumsden Th' Loudons 179:
Doun n'ar the sands o' Portobelly.
Rxb. 1925 E. C. Smith Mang Howes 4:
A was vext A'd naebody nerr iz ti speak ti.
Gall. 1934 Gallovidian Annual 92:
Dinna come naur that lether.

IV. Combs.: 1. nauraboots, nearly, almost (Uls. 1963); 2. nare-be-gaun (Ayr. 1821 Scots Mag. (April) 351), narbega'an (Ork. 1922 J. Firth Reminisc. 153), close-fisted, mean, stingy, miserly; 3. ner behadden, id. (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). For 2. and 3. cf. Near, adv., prep., 1.(2); 4. ner-bludit, closely related (Cld. 1825 Jam.); 5. narby, ner-, adv., prep., near, close by, nearby; nearly, almost; 6. narhan(d), id., (Uls. 1963). Compar. narderhan, superl. narrest han; 7. na(a)rlins, -lans, nerlins (Sc. 1887 Jam.; Sh. 1963), = 1.; 8. ner sichtit, short-sighted, myopic (Sc. 1825 Jam.); 9. ner til, prep. near to (Ib.).1. Gall. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 198:
Than they spread sooth inta the Rhynns o' Gallawa, an nauraboots exterminatit the natives there.
5. Sc. 1825 Jam.:
Nerby Glasgow, near to that city. I was nerby dead, I was almost lifeless.
Ags. 1890 A. Lowson J. Guidfollow 242:
Lads and lasses wauk the clais, Narby yon whinny hicht.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 44:
Aff to a wud nar-by syne hurried he.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 110:
Water oot o' the waal o' Bethlehem, nar-by the yett.
6. ne.Sc. 1791 Caled. Mercury (29 Sept.):
Bat this ane's maistly worn away, It's narhan' glouman.
Abd. 1871 W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xlix.:
A throu'-the-muir that dreeve aul' Peter naarhan' dementit.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 66:
Narderhan, that muckle ben maun be The ane ca'd Caucasus.
Abd. 1917 D. G. Mitchell Clachan Kirk 26:
It lay nar-han the bit grund that Jacob had gi'en to his son Joseph.
Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.:
Tam was nerrest hand 'im.
Bnff. 1924 Swatches o' Hamespun 36:
Him sic a fine attentive laad comin speirin efter him na'ar han' ilka day.
7. Ork. 1880 Dennison Sketch-Bk. 36:
A sight at n'arlins pat him oot o' his mind.
Ork. 1907 Old-Lore Misc. I. ii. 64:
Dere waas narlans a row aboot 'is bean sent.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 18. 14:
We naarlins fondird eence is we lay apo da grunds aboot sixty miles ta da soothwast a da laand.

V. v. To approach, near (Sh. 1975). Gall. 1947 A. McCormick Galloway 197: 
I was jist naurin' the en' o the Palgown road.

[O.Sc. ner, 1375, nare, narrer, a.1400, near(er), Mid.Eng. nerr(e), O.N. nœrre, nœrri, adj., adv., nearer, near, orig. compar. of ná-, nigh, close by. The compar. and superl. are later analogical formations. For narder, cf. farder s.v. Far, adv.1]

Nar adj., adv., prep., v.

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"Nar adj., adv., prep., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 May 2024 <>



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