One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounEnglish Regional, Irish English, Scottish, Northern
A quarter of the heavens; a point of the compass; a direction. Hence more generally: a quarter, a locality.
verbIrish English, Scottish, Northern
1with object To direct, guide (a person or thing) to a place; to point or set moving in a certain direction.
2no object To direct one’s way to or towards, to make for. Also of a wind: to blow (from a certain quarter).
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Cursor Mundi: a Northumbrian poem of the 14th century. Probably from Irish aird compass point, quarter, direction and its cognate Scottish Gaelic àird (Early Irish aird point, especially compass point), perhaps from the same Indo-European base as ancient Greek ἄρδις spearhead<br>late 18th century; earliest use found in John Sinclair (1754–1835), agricultural improver, politician, and codifier of ‘useful knowledge’. From airt.
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