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

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Sun May 10 21:49:20 UTC 2015


"Making sillar" is simply the (possibly literary or archaic by the 19thC) 
Scottish Language version of "making money".

SILLAR and (more commonly)  SILLER are given as spelling variants of SILVER 
(sense 6 -- money in general) in the DSL.

Curiously, all the examples there are from the DOST, though the term was 
certainly current later.

Googling "mak siller" gives a wealth [!] of nineteenth century examples --  
most couthily, from 1853, “Mak siller, Jock,” said a Scotch laird to his 
son, “mak siller—honestly if you can, but mak it.”

(The above quotation was probably constructed by an Englishman:  it should, 
of course, read "Scots [sic] laird," unless he was entirely composed of the 
hard stuff.)

There's also the cliché, "Put siller in your purse ..."



Welcome to DSL, which brings together the two major historical dictionaries 
of the Scots language:

        ◾A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST)
        Older Scots - 12th century - 1700

        ◾The Scottish National Dictionary (SND)
        Modern Scots - 1700 - 2005



-----Original Message----- 
From: Joel Berson
Sent: Sunday, May 10, 2015 7:13 PM
Subject: "sillar"? And noun or adj.?

---------------------- Information from the mail 
header -----------------------
Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
Subject:      "sillar"?  And noun or adj.?

I am puzzled by=C2=A0 the following:
"Among the first actual settlers from Scotlandof whom we have record in wha=
t is now the United States, were the passengers onthe ship =E2=80=98John an=
d Sara,=E2=80=99 which arrived in Boston Harbor in 1652. That therewere Sco=
tsmen settled and doing business---perhaps making sillar and meditatingspee=
ches about St. Andrew---before that time there is no doubt."
Ross,Peter.=C2=A0 The Scot in America.=C2=A0 New York: Raeburn Book Co.,189=
6.=C2=A0 Page 48.=C2=A0 [Freely available on-line from Harvard Imaging.]

The OED's definition of "sillar" noun does not enlighten this quotation.=C2=
=A0 I don;t see it as Scot's dialect for "silver", which some GBooks quotat=
ions seem to imply (e.g., "sillar sawnies", or in the OED "sillar [yellow] =
shakle").=C2=A0 And in this context I don't know whether it is a noun -- (m=
aking sillar) and (mediating speeches) -- or an adjective -- making (sillar=
and meditating) speeches.=C2=A0 Or is it dialect for "silly"? :-)

Finally, since the Harvard page is a transcription presumably via OCR, it m=
ay be an OCR error.=C2=A0 I can look at an original, but not for a few days=


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

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

More information about the Ads-l mailing list