Lour
Posted: 21 September 2007 01:16 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Having dipped into the Tyndale bible, downloaded from a link in the post about offscourings, I came across the word “loured” as in “Cain was wroth exceadingly and loured”.  This reminded me of the line from “Pirates of Penzance”, which puzzled me when I first heard it (and had to learn it shortly after) “Take heart, no danger lours”.

Has this word dropped completely out of use, since Gilbert and Sullivan’s day? I cannot recall ever coming across another instance of it.

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Posted: 21 September 2007 02:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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OED also has it spelled ‘lower’ and I have come across it in the expression ‘lowering [or louring] clouds’, not frequently but its not that unusual. I’m also wondering if it’s the root of the colloquial term (which I have only heard, never seen written so I don’t know how to spell it) - ‘he’s getting lairy’ as in angry or spoiling for a fight

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Posted: 21 September 2007 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I knew a lady born in Edinburgh who used the word “louring” in terms like “a louring sky” ---- I don’t know how she spelt it, but she pronounced it to rhyme with “touring”. I wonder of this is the same word as Longfellow used in “between the dark and the daylight / when night is beginning to lower......” --- though Longfellow rhymes it with “Children’s Hour”. Perhaps the “-oor” pronunciation is a Scottish dialect thing? ("Lairy" has a bit of a North-of-the-Border flavour to it, too).

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Posted: 21 September 2007 04:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yeah, I’ve come across “lowering clouds”, but thought that “lowering” meant “becoming lower”, but perhaps not.

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Posted: 21 September 2007 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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lionello - 21 September 2007 02:52 AM

I knew a lady born in Edinburgh who used the word “louring” in terms like “a louring sky” ---- I don’t know how she spelt it, but she pronounced it to rhyme with “touring”. I wonder of this is the same word as Longfellow used in “between the dark and the daylight / when night is beginning to lower......” --- though Longfellow rhymes it with “Children’s Hour”. Perhaps the “-oor” pronunciation is a Scottish dialect thing? ("Lairy" has a bit of a North-of-the-Border flavour to it, too).

No indication in OED of a different dialectical pronunciation. Perhaps your Scots friend was influenced by the pronunciation of the word dour? (I pronounced this to rhyme with lour and hour as a youth until I learnt the standard pronunciation).

[ Edited: 21 September 2007 08:59 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 21 September 2007 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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My gut feeling tells me it might be related to Dutch ‘loeren’ (pr. “loo-run") which means ‘to lurk’.
‘Danger’ is something that has a typical ‘loeren’ quality. It would then be related to German ‘lauern’.

Maybe I can check this at a later point because I don’t have my dictionaries at hand now. WNT doesn’t offer much help.

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