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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1974 (SND Vol. IX).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

SWEERIE, n. Also sweery and in variant forms †swe(e)ro(c)k; sweero (see O, suff., 1.). A box or basket for holding bobbins of yarn; specif. a box with an iron pin or piece of wire fitted horizontally inside on which the bobbins were slid, to facilitate the spinning of two- or three-ply thread from the yarn on each bobbin (Ork. 1958 Ork. Herald (25 Feb.) 3, sweero; Sh., Ork. 1972). Combs. sweerie-box, id. (Sh. 1904 E.D.D.; I.Sc. 1972), sweerie-pin. [′swiri, -o, †-ək]Ork. 1726 P. Ork. A.S. VI. 30:
One rell Yerenwinds and Sweroks.
Mry. 1880:
Wool after being teased by hand, and oiled by oil from fish livers was beaten by a stick and then put into a basket they called a ‘sweerock'. That was a basket made in the shape of a bee hive close and flat in the bottom with a hole in the top that the wool was put in at and taken out as the operator required it.
Sh. 1888 B. R. Anderson Broken Lights 98:
Whan shü broucht da sweerie doon Da dooble raw ta twine.
Sh. 1899 Shetland News (16 Dec.):
Girzzie pat a foo pirm apo' da sweerie pin.
Sh. 1949 J. Gray Lowrie 22:
He med a new sweerie ta Willa oot o' teck-wid.
Sh. 1969 Scots Mag. (Nov.) 122:
After two “pirms” are filled, these are placed end to end on a long wire into a “sweerie box.”

[Prob. deriv. form of Sweir, the contrivance being devised to save work. Cf. sweir-jinny, -kitty s.v. Sweir, adj., 1.]

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



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