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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1971 (SND Vol. VIII).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SHAIRD, n. Also shird, sheard; shaard; reduced forms shaar (Sh.), sjar (Jak.). Sc. forms and usages of Eng. shard, sherd. [ʃe:rd]

1. As in Eng., a fragment, remnant, esp. the remains of something that has decayed or disintegrated (Sc. 1887 Jam.); an old broken down article, e.g. in sea taboo usage, a boat (Sh. 1904 E.D.D., Sh. 1970); a piece of furniture badly put together (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 425). Also fig. Adj. shairdie, fragmentary, broken down, puny, small and contemptible (Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.). S.49).Sc. c.1715 Hogg Jacob. Relics (1819) I. 118:
Ane pig, ane pock, ane candle-sherd.
Per. 1773 in Fergusson Poems (Grosart 1879) 77:
And tho' I say't, the fint a shaird, Has ought withint to be compar'd Wi' Whistleha.
Ayr. 1786 Burns To W. Simpson P.S. xii.:
An' when the auld moon's gaun to lea'e them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them.
Abd. 1836 J. Grant Tales of Glens 190:
Gin the matter o' thirty year, there'll nae be a shard o' them to the fore.
Fif. 1883 W. D. Latto Bodkin Papers 112:
The shard o' an auld Michaelmas mune.
Sh. 1892 Manson's Almanac:
We turns da shaar wi da sun i da right coorse.
Kcb. 1897 A. J. Armstrong R. Rankine at Exhibition 35:
Conspirin' wi' a' the confoondit shirds o' humanity.
Knr. 1925 H. Haliburton Horace 196:
A pat he dang to shairds.
Edb. 1928 A. D. Mackie Two Tongues 31:
Some shard o' sense I've sairly socht.
Sh. 1949 New Shetlander No. 19. 43:
To ca his boat a owld shard bit lowsed Shoordie's tongue. Nonce derivs.: shairder, shaird-makar, a maker of sherds, a potter.
Sc. 1871 P. H. Waddell Psalms ii. 9:
Ye sal ding them till roons, like the shaird-makar's gowpin.
Sc. 1879 P. H. Waddell Isaiah xxix. 16:
An the shairder be taen for the clay wi' you?

2. Transf., of human beings or animals: a puny ill-developed or deformed creature (Uls. 1931 Northern Whig (11 Dec.) 13); a contemptible or objectionable man or woman, a bad-tempered or malicious person (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 153, Bnff. 1970).Abd. c.1782 Ellis E.E.P. V. 774:
Try that, ye ill-tongued cankered shard.
Abd. 1804 W. Tarras Poems 39:
A feckless punny shard.
ne.Sc. 1884 D. Grant Lays 7:
“Tak' that”, quo' he, “ye careless shard.”
Abd. 1955 Huntly Express (18 Feb.):
What one farmer described as “these little shards o' beasties”.

3. A grassy hollow in sand-dunes, often caused by wind (Ork. 1929 Marw.).

[For meaning 3. cf. Eng. dial. shard, a gap in a hedge or wall, clearing in a forest, gully or cutting in a bank. Cf. also Norw. dial. skard, cleft in a hill, dip between hills or knolls, of which 3. may be an anglicised form.]

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"Shaird n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 29 Feb 2024 <>



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