Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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CHICKIE-MELLIE, CHICKY-MAWLY, —MALLY, n. comb. A game or trick played by boys (see quot.). The form chicky-mawly is given for Ags. by A. S. Neill in Carroty Broon (1921) xvii. and by Ags.17 1939; chickie-mellie is given by Mry.1 1924, Abd.16 c.1885, for Dundee in T.S.D.C. II. and by Dmb.1 1914. [′tʃɪk′mɛl ne.Sc., m.Sc., wm.Sc., but Ags. + ′tʃɪk′mɔl, ′tʃɪk′mal] Ags. 1934  G. M. Martin Dundee Worthies 183:
Chicky Mally. The boys having procured a “pirn” of thread . . . proceeded to tie a nail or large button to a piece of thread 6 to 8 inches long, which they attached to part of a window frame with a pin. At the weighted end the rest of the pirn of thread was attached and from a “hidey hole” they pulled the nail or button with rhythmical “tap-tap-tap” on the glass of the window.

[The first element is prob. connected with Chick, n.1, a tick, or beat. Mellie, with its variants, is a dim. of Mell, a mallet, a hammer, q.v.]

Chickie-mellie n. comb.

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"Chickie-mellie n. comb.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Apr 2019 <>



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