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See also: Laird




Borrowed from Scots laird, a variant of English lord.[1]

The verb is derived from the noun.[2]



laird (plural lairds)

  1. (chiefly Scotland) The owner of a Scottish estate; a member of the landed gentry, a landowner. [from 14th c.]
    • 1751, “The Speech of a Fife Laird, Newly Come from the Grave”, in The Speech of a Fife Laird Newly Come from the Grave. The Mare of Collingtoun. The Banishment of Poverty. Three Scots Poems, Glasgow: Printed and sold by Robert & Andrew Foulis, OCLC 755981087, page 2:
      Once I was call'd a great Fife laird, / I dwelt not far from the Hall-yard: / [] / O! but it's long and many a year, / Since laſt my feet did travel here. / I find great change in old lairds places, / I know the ground, but not the faces, / Where ſhall I turn me firſt about, / For my acquaintance is worn out?
    • 1816, [Walter Scott], chapter II, in The Antiquary. [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 226649000, page 27:
      [H]e brought with him money enough to purchase the small estate of Monkbarns, then sold by a dissipated laird to whose father it had been gifted, with other church lands, upon the dissolution of the great and wealthy monastery to which it had belonged.
    • 2001, Arthur [L.] Herman, “A Trap of Their Own Making”, in How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It, New York, N.Y.: Crown Publishers, →ISBN; paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Three Rivers Press, 2001, →ISBN, part 1 (Epiphany), page 40:
      Lowland lairds allied themselves with Highland chiefs, along with Edinburgh and Glasgow burghers who worried about having to compete for markets with English merchants.
    • 2013, Jayne Glass; Alister Scott; Martin F. Price; Charles Warren, “Sustainability in the Uplands: Introducing Key Concepts”, in Jayne Glass, Martin F. Price, Charles Warren, and Alister Scott, editors, Lairds, Land and Sustainability: Scottish Perspectives on Upland Management, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, →ISBN, part 1 (Sustainability in the Uplands), box 1.9 (Who is the ‘Laird’?), page 23:
      In Scotland, the traditional term for the owner of an upland estate is the ‘laird’. [] Well into the post-war period, the lairds of large estates were generally treated deferentially by local people but times have changed, [] It would be a mistake to equate the title ‘laird’ to a British ‘lord’, as it does not confer any political standing, but the fact that some of Scotland’s lairds sit in the House of Lords can confuse the outsider.
  2. (chiefly Scotland, historical) Often in the form Laird of, followed by a patronymic: a Scottish clan chief.
    • 1712 January 1, [William Mitchel], The Tinklars Speech to the Most Loyal Country-man, the Honourable Laird of Carnwath, [Edinburgh?: s.n.], OCLC 316405574, page 2:
      Now Wiſe, and Rich, and Worthie, and Wonderful, and Faithful and True, and Rare, & Charitable, and Great Laird of Carnwath, Be not Prowd, altho I Commend you at ſuch a Rate behind your back and yet never ſaw You; []
    • 1848, [James Kirkland], chapter XV, in The Eerie Laird: Being the Only Authentic History of the Person so Called by Tradition in Scotland; [], London: T[homas] C[autley] Newby, [], OCLC 315542608, page 143:
      Though now entered on the stage of glorious war, the young Laird of Dalbracken remained still the same imaginative and sensitive being who dreamed and loved in the scenes of his boyhood.

Derived termsEdit



laird (third-person singular simple present lairds, present participle lairding, simple past and past participle lairded)

  1. (transitive, Scotland) Chiefly as laird it over: to behave like a laird, particularly to act haughtily or to domineer; to lord (it over).
    • 1874, George Outram, “The Banks o’ the Dee”, in Henry Glassford Bell, editor, Lyrics Legal and Miscellaneous, 2nd edition, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood & Sons, OCLC 562248277, page 86:
      But cauld was his hearth ere his youdith was o'er, / An' he delved on the lands he had lairded before; / Yet though he beggared his ha' an' deserted his lea, / Contented he roamed on the banks o' the Dee.
    • 2008, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, “A Pair of Antlers”, in Not in Those Shoes, London: Picador, →ISBN, page 21:
      You'd stand with a single malt, / in braces, admiring a Grinling, / while I did a fingertip search of your face, / [] / discovering the recesses of baronial you, / lairding it in a rental estate / we were about to lose.
    • 2013, Victoria Roberts, chapter 18, in X Marks the Scot, Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Casablanca, →ISBN, page 194:
      Declan observed him, analyzing his reaction. He loved to unnerve his lairding brother.
    • 2017 May 13, Ian Hughes, “Date with The Wicker Man for outdoor screening at Compton Verney”, in Leamington Observer[1], archived from the original on 16 May 2017:
      Classic horror movie The Wicker Man is getting an outside airing at Compton Verney. [] Set on a remote Scottish island lairded over by the incomparable Christopher Lee, the film strands the viewer – and young policeman Edward Woodward – among a neo-pagan community where blood sacrifice, passion and lust collide in the mist.



  1. ^ laird, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, June 2016; “laird” (US) / “laird” (UK) in Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ laird, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford: Oxford University Press, September 2016.

Further readingEdit




laird (plural lairds)

  1. a lord or land owner