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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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

YERB, n. Also yerrib (Uls. 1953 Traynor), yarib (Uls. 1929 M. Mulcaghey Ballymulcaghey 142), yarb (Sc. 1887 Jam.), yirb (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Variant form of Eng. herb (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 238; Ags., Dmf. 1974). See Y, letter, 2.(2). Hence yerbwife, a woman who collects herbs, mainly for medicinal purposes; yirbalist, a seller of herbs, a herbalist (Sc. 1925 Scots Mag. (Jan.) 227).s.Sc. 1793 T. Scott Poems 36:
To drooket yerbs an' flow'rs how sweet the sun.
Ayr. 1819 Contemp. Burns (Paterson 1840) 246:
The half o' terra firma owre, He trod in quest o' yerb an' flow'r.
Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 195:
Elf girse — A kind of grass yerbwives find, and give to cattle they conceive injured by elves.
Slk. 1827 Hogg Shep. Cal. (1874) xiv.:
Doctor, you that kens sae weel about the nature of a' kinds o' plants and yirbs.
Ags. 1901 W. J. Milne Reminiscences 292:
Hoo that foreign yerb it'll sune work me woe.
Wgt. 1912 A.O.W.B. Fables 19:
A scroochin' sun Had withert girss an' yerbs upon the grun'.

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"Yerb n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 13 Apr 2024 <>



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