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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1976 (SND Vol. X). Includes material from the 2005 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

WIR, possess. adj. Also wer (Abd. 1867 A. Allardyce Goodwife 10; s.Sc. 1873 D.S.C.S. 192; Gsw. 1935 McArthur & Long No Mean City i.; Uls. 1953 Traynor), wur (Per. 1883 R. Cleland Inchbracken 248, Abd. 1887 J. Cowe Jeems Sim 36; Kcb. 1901 R. Trotter Gall. Gossip 116; Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. i. iv. 174; Gsw. 1914 D. Colquhoun Jean 12; Cai. 1930 John o' Groat Jnl. (21 Feb.) 2; Ags. 1936 A. Fleming Christina Strang xv.). Sc. Unstressed forms of Our, possess. adj., q.v. (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Fif. 1896 D. S. Meldrum Grey Mantle 292; Ork. 1913 Old-Lore Misc. VI. iv. 179; Uls. 1929 W. F. Marshall Ballads 85; Ags. 1934 J. Angus Sheltering Pine i. iii. 1; Abd. 1959 Scottish Studies III. 47). A re-stressed form weer (after we) is heard occas. in ne.Sc. and elsewhere (Mry. 1912 T.S.D.C.; Uls. 1953 Traynor; ne.Sc., Per. 1974). Absolute forms wirs (Sh. 1901 Shetland News (2 March), 1948 New Shetlander No. 9. 15), wiz (Ork. 1920 J. Firth Reminisc. 158). Hence wirsel(l)(s), ourselves (Cai. 1896 J. Horne Canny Countryside 92; Ork. 1908 Old-Lore Misc. I. vi. 223; Uls. 1913 F. Crichton Andy Saul 19; Abd. 1921 Weekly Free Press (21 Dec.) 2; Ags. 1936 A. Fleming Christina Strang x.); wurselves. [wɪr, wʌr, wər; wir]Abd. 1987 Sheena Blackhall in Joy Hendry Chapman 49 57:
Oh waur, full waur, nur only jyle horizon
Invidious, the chynes we forge wirsel!
I wis a prisoner o my ain devisin
Biggin a boundary, I vrocht a cell
wm.Sc. 1989 Anna Blair The Goose Girl of Eriska 124:
'Truth!' thought Sara, 'wir hands has surely got mixed in the dark.'
 Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 51:
"Well!" she cried when she'd poured their tea. "Eh canna keep it in ony langir! Eh've goat a rare story ti tell yi the day, Bella! It's mibby on the lang side, though," she admitted. "So let's mak wirsels comfy."
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 35:
When we set up wur furst camp, there wiz a boay hung.
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 46:
Stuck in here, wur only fightin among wurselves.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 113:
Wir dominie learned us the lives o the great
o lang syne.
m.Sc. 1997 Liz Niven Past Presents 18:
Scunnert they ur. Cannae say A blame them,
Of course ye want tae keep yer ain schuils,
Yer ain hospitals, yer railways. An watter - whit next?
A could fill a bucket on ma ain windae sill
It's wur watter.
Ork. 1998 Herald (5 Jun) 23:
(I'm reminded of the Orkney farmer who said: "We're no' very intellectual here - that means we just have to use wir brains.")
Sc. 1999 Herald (12 Jul) 12:
This time wir telt at thir are "wholly valid (and widely documented) reasons" hou cam we Scots spikers soud larn wir airt an jouk doun. I ither wards, we soud no caa wir leid a leid, bit jist a bit dialect o Inglis.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 60:
The glint o battle fire't the bluid
o Scots lang syne, A've heard it suid,
when gee'd an raxed an in the tid
ti free wirsel.
 w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 4:
There's a steer at the Plessey.
Accordin ti ma Aunty Jessie,
they cam aa the wey up fae Heathrow,
ti say wir jobs had ti go.

Sc. phrs. and combs.: (1) wir ain, wur ain, our own (family, etc.). Gen.Sc. Also in reduced form wirn (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.); (2) wir house, wiroose, our home, ‘chez nous' (Sh. 1974); (3) wirlanes, -leen(s), ourselves alone, by ourselves (Sh., ne.Sc. (-leen(s)) 1974). See Lane, adj., 2.; (4) wirs(e), = (2).(1) Sc. 1929 Scots Mag. (Feb.) 349:
It's a big hoose and there's aye room in it for wer ain.
em.Sc.(a) 1991 Kate Armstrong in Tom Hubbard The New Makars 115:
We dover, sauf in wir ain mirk,
Like Brutus.
wm.Sc. 1991 Liz Lochhead Bagpipe Muzak 16:
When me, him and the weans got a hoose o' wur ain
In a four-in-a-block in this scheme.
(2) Sh. 1919 T. Manson Peat Comm. 161:
Dan ye'll touch alang wiroose an tak Betty an da rest o wis on board.
(3) Sh. 1899 Shetland News (11 Nov.):
We hae non' bit wirlens twa.
Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick ix.:
Seen Mains an' me'll hae a suppie be wirleens.
(4) Sh. 1924 J. Hunter Sketches 107:
I hedna lang eder ta wait or consider, fur he wis at wirs afore my brakfest wis ready.
Sh. 1953 New Shetlander No. 36. 29:
He would come ower ti wirse after he had changed out of his wet clothes.
Sh. 1973 New Shetlander No. 105. 13:
Lowrie o' da Sooth Punds cam alang wirs a Friday.
Dundee 1990 Sheila Stephen in Joy Hendry Chapman 60 51:
"Well!" she cried when she'd poured their tea. "Eh canna keep it in ony langir! Eh've goat a rare story ti tell yi the day, Bella! It's mibby on the lang side, though," she admitted. "So let's mak wirsels comfy."
Gsw. 1990 John and Willy Maley From the Calton to Catalonia 46:
Stuck in here, wur only fightin among wurselves.
w.Lth. 2000 Davie Kerr A Puckle Poems 60:
The glint o battle fire't the bluid
o Scots lang syne, A've heard it suid,
when gee'd an raxed an in the tid
ti free wirsel.

[The form derives from a svarabhakti vowel developing before r with consequent semi-vocalisation of u, thus [ur > uər > wər, wɪr].]

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"Wir possess. adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jul 2024 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/wir>

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