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Quhissil(l, n. Also: quhis(s)yll, -el, -eil, -all, -le; quhyssill; whissill, -all, vhissell, whisle; quissill, qwissel; quyschile; quhistle, whistle, wisle; quhessill; Quhossill. [ME and e.m.E. whistil (Rolle), whistle (Wyclif), qwistle (c1400), whisell (1607), OE hwistle. Cf. ON hvíslan fem. whistling, hvísl neut. and hvísla fem. whispering.]

1. A whistle, flute or pipe. Appar. part of the insignia of the office of Lord High Admiral, see Treas. Acc. III lxv and, e.g., quots. 1505 and 1506 under (1) below. Almany quhissil, a fife. Cf. 17th c. Eng. almain whistle id. (1670–71). (1) A quyschile; Leg. S. vi 60.
To Guilliam, taubronar, to by him quhissillis; 1501–2 Treas. Acc. II 134.
Ane chenȝee of gold … to the kingis quhissil making; 1505 Ib. III 41.
The quhissill chenȝe; 1506 Ib. 348.
About hys hals a quhissil [Sm. quissill] hung had he; Doug. iii x 11.
And menstralis playand apoun quhissillis; Boece 185.
For making of ane quhissill … of ane auld carkane of gold; 1540–1 Treas. Acc. VII 427.
Compl. 65/25.
That the toun of Dumfries … brought a reader of their own with tabron and whisle, and caused him read the prayers; 1575 Bk. Univ. Kirk I 334.
Barnis quhissillis; 1575 Edinb. Test. III 384.
Lamentable trumpetis, qwisselis of dule [L. lugubres fistulæ]; Dalr. II 260/3.
Praise God … Uith uatry quhissiles schill; James VI Poems II 50/9.
Quhiseilis; 1597 Bk. Rates 9b.
Whissillis for tabernaris the dozen, xx s. Whissilles for childrene the groce, xii s.; 1612 Bk. Rates (Halyb.) 332.
And mariners … Their chearful whisles meryly do sownd; Mure Dido & Æneas i 184.
(2) A quhissill of gold; 1488 Treas. Acc. I 81.
For ane silvir quhissill to the king; 1506 Ib. III 196.
Rubanis to be ane string to the kingis quhissill of gold; 1511 Ib. IV 196.
1539 Ib. VII 173.
Thre cronis … to pay … for the syluar quhisall lybellit; 1566 Crail B. Ct. MS 28 May.
Ane dosane pig quhissillis price iiij s.; 1583 Edinb. Test. XII 286b.
Ane quhissill of ane bair tuith garnesit with siluer; 1586 Ib. XVI 246b.
(3) Quhar as the quhissill [Sm. quhissyll, L. tibia] rendris soundis seir [etc.]; Doug. ix x 65.
For thair playing on the trumpet and quhyssill; 1555 Edinb. B. Rec. II 219.
[To] William Thomsone, quhisler … for his laubouris in playing vpone the quhissall at the wache; 1559 Ib. III 57.
1560 Ib. 63.
To James Heroun, playar upoun the pipe and quhissill; 1566 Treas. Acc. XII 31.
Efter Pan had found the quhissill; James VI Ess. 56.
James Kirk who plaid on the quhistle to tham; 1658 Sc. Ant. IX 50.
(4) Ane schip … hawand skipper with marinallis and gunnaris all reddy at the sound of his quhissill; 1562 Reeves Sc. Prose bef. 1600 79.
The master sould have the master's quhissill and cheinȝie; Balfour Pract. 640.
The whissall of that auld inchantar; Melvill 282.
Our maister soon his lyttil vhissell cheir[d]; His mariners incontinent compeird; Montg. Misc. P. xlviii 135.
(5) To the man that playit one the almeny quhessill one the octo day; 1532 Mill Mediæv. Plays 233.
1574 Aberd. B. Rec. II 21 (see Almany n.).
Ane brokin scotis quhissel; 1610 Edinb. Test. XLVI 167.
(6) To play on quhissle; ?15.. (1599) Burnett of Leys 332.

b. Attrib. and comb. Quhissill-pype, a whistle-pipe or decoy whistle [e.m.E. whistle-pipe (1587)]. Whissill tabourier, ? a man playing on the tabor and pipe. Cf. 17th c. Eng. taberner id. (1688). As quha suld dryfe the byrdis to ane snair With ane quhissill pype [MS with the small pype]; Wall. (1570) viii 1423.
He saw her [Queen Elizabeth of England] dance … the Spaines pavie to a whissill tabourier; 1599 Maxwell Mem. II 36.

2. ? The sound, or ? the act, of whistling. But perh. merely a further instance of 1 above. The gude hird … To quhose quhissill all ar obedient; Lynd. Dreme 899.

b. To be upon a whistle, ? to await a signal, ? to be ready to take action. Which … so encouraged the disaffected to joigne them that many of our shyre off the Mearnes have joigned them alreadie, and the rest are upon a whistle; 1690 Leven & Melv. P. 494.

3. A hollow tube; ? a tube-like container (of venom), a sting. Indisciplinata mulier … Facie blanda ut scorpio; … Quod est vulgariter dicere: The unlatit woman … Blyth … in the face lyk ane angell, Bot a wisle in the taill lyk a draconell; Bower Chron. II 376.
Thai put a twym quhissill at his cundit and … throw the quhissill thai put ane hait yrn; Abell 98b.

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"Quhissil(l n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Dec 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/dost/quhissill_n>



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