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Dialectal form of tart, applied by British farmers to soils since before the era of chemical science and the discovery of molybdenum but retroactively defined by molybdenum concentration and pH level.



  1. (agriculture and soil science, of pasture soils) Tending toward scouring (diarrheal illness) in grazing livestock, being high in molybdenum content and neutral to alkaline in pH.
    • 1940, Green, H.H., “[Abstract of a forthcoming bulletin from Imperial Chemical Industries]”, in Veterinary Bulletin[1]:
      Abstract: The novelty of the subject matter and the fact that the information is conveyed in the form of a bulletin addressed to farmers, pending later publication of further experimental data in the scientific press, justifies a lengthy abstract for readers of the Veterinary Bulletin. The local word "teart" (i.e. tart) is applied to land and pastures [in Somerset, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire] upon which severe scouring occurs in grazing ruminants, particularly cows in milk and young stock. Sheep are less affected, and horses and pigs appear to be unaffected. […] Most affected farms contain both teart and non-teart land and the degree of "teartness" varies with season and from field to field. […] The cause of teartness is traced to the presence of molybdenum in the herbage in amounts varying from 20-100 p.p.m. of the dry matter, and the degree of teartness is roughly proportional to the molybdenum content, particularly to the amount in water-soluble form. Of the total molybdenum present, about 80% is soluble in the case of green grass, about 40% in the case of hay, and 10% in the case of moribund winter herbage. Hence growing pastures may be teart even when cut hay is not. […] [Various ameliorants are available but] Wherever possible, however, it is advisable to convert teart pastures to arable land. [H.H. Green, abstracter, in an abstract of a forthcoming bulletin from Imperial Chemical Industries.[1]]
    • 1943, Lewis, AH, “The teart pastures of Somerset: II. Relation between soil and teartness”, in The Journal of Agricultural Science, volume 33, number 1, DOI:10.1017/S0021859600048371, pages 52-57:
      Teart soils contain molybdenum in amounts varying from about 0·002 to 0·010% in the surface horizon and are neutral or alkaline in reaction and often calcareous. The contents of molybdenum increase down the soil profile. Those [soils] which are acid in reaction in the surface horizons are not teart even if their molybdenum content is high. […] How a knowledge of the relation between soil and teartness can be turned to practical advantage is briefly discussed.

Usage notes[edit]

The comparative forms would be tearter and teartest, being cognate with tarter and tartest, although being dialectal in an agrarian age they are not attested in written records.


  1. ^ Ferguson WS; Lewis AH; Watson SJ (1941) The Teart Pasture of Somerset: Cause of Teartness and its Prevention. Bulletin No. 1 of the Jealott's Hill Research Station., OCLC 41934659


Middle English[edit]



  1. (Early ME) Alternative form of tarte