[Ads-l] "sillar"? And noun or adj.?

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Sun May 10 18:13:37 UTC 2015

I am puzzled by  the following:
"Among the first actual settlers from Scotlandof whom we have record in what is now the United States, were the passengers onthe ship ‘John and Sara,’ which arrived in Boston Harbor in 1652. That therewere Scotsmen settled and doing business---perhaps making sillar and meditatingspeeches about St. Andrew---before that time there is no doubt."
Ross,Peter.  The Scot in America.  New York: Raeburn Book Co.,1896.  Page 48.  [Freely available on-line from Harvard Imaging.]

The OED's definition of "sillar" noun does not enlighten this quotation.  I don;t see it as Scot's dialect for "silver", which some GBooks quotations seem to imply (e.g., "sillar sawnies", or in the OED "sillar [yellow] shakle").  And in this context I don't know whether it is a noun -- (making sillar) and (mediating speeches) -- or an adjective -- making (sillar and meditating) speeches.  Or is it dialect for "silly"? :-)

Finally, since the Harvard page is a transcription presumably via OCR, it may be an OCR error.  I can look at an original, but not for a few days.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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