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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1952 (SND Vol. III).
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CUR-, Currie-, pref. Cf. pref. car-, cor-. History obscure. The pref. is recorded only once in O.Sc. (see etym. note to Carfuffle). Various meanings can be inferred: 1. = wrongly, confusedly, awry, as in Cardow, Curjute, Curlippie, Curnoitted; 2. before words themselves implying something bad, unpleasant or perverse (with which it occurs most frequently), it has little more than intensive force = very, exceedingly, e.g. in Carfumish, Carnaptious, Curgellit, Curnawin; 3. = closely, intimately, phs. a development of 2. with some notion of muddle, confusion, from 1, e.g. in Curcuddoch, ? Curmow, Curmud; 4. a variant (? dim.) form currie- occurs, mostly in n. and ne. dial., with meanings as in 3, e.g. in Currieboram, Curriebuction, Curriemushel. The forms collie-, cullie-, corrie-, cuttie-, may also be analogical variants. Cur-, etc., appears to have been particularly common in Fife. None of the forms of the pref. is accented.

[Origin obscure: phs. Celtic. Gael. has 1. car, from car, n., a twist, turn, used adv. almost as a pref. = somewhat, rather, e.g. car blàth, “a kind of” warm, rather warm, car beag, smallish; sometimes confused with 2. the pref. corr-, corra- (also found in Ir.), with various meanings: odd, surplus, pointed, excessive, extraordinary. Neither is used to form verbs. Sc. verbal usages are therefore later developments from nouns and adjectives, if the above etym. is tenable. A development analogous to 1. may occur in the pref. cam-, cum- (Gael. cam, n. and adj., a bend, crook; crooked), as e.g. in Camshachle, Camsheugh, Camstairy, Cumbluff, Cumsleesh. In the form and development of usage of cur- there may also be some influence from the pref. cor-, one of the forms of the Lat. pref. cum-, as in correct, corrupt.]

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"Cur- prefix". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 24 May 2024 <>



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