Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DAIDLE, Dadle, Daidel, Dadel, v.1 and n.2 Also daddle. [dedl]

I. v.

1. intr.

(1) To idle, to trifle, to waste (time); to potter about; to saunter. Known to Abd.2, Fif.1, Lnk.3, Kcb.1 1939; Per., Lth. Wilson; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein. Also applied to one who goes tippling from one public-house to another. Vbl.n. daidlin, idling; ppl.adj. da(i)dlin(g), dadeling, lazy, doddering. Sc. 1756  M. Calderwood Journey (Maitland Club 1842) ii. 227:
I looked about to see this man that had pleased the eye so much, and, behold! a little, silly, dadling, naisty body, with a coat which had belonged to a man of six foot high upon him.
Sc. 1834  H. Miller Scenes and Leg. (1850) xxi.:
“O, Sawney's frae hame!” rejoined the voice. . . . “Daidlin' deceitful body!” exclaimed Sandison.
Bnff.(D) 1918  J. Mitchell Bydand 7:
Sae het-fit tae the hills we hied . . . We daidelt not by murm'rin' streams, green howes, or sandy dells.
Ags. 1883  J. Kennedy Poems (1920) 124:
Nae mair his mind is in the mirk, Wi' ghaists he doesna daidle.
Rnf. 1819  R. Tannahill Poems (1876) 326:
Sae soon as the Munonday mornin comes in, Your wearifu daidlin again maun begin.
Gsw. 1863  J. Young Ingle Nook 90:
This day a shot he hasna treadl't, But out an' in at drink he's daidl't.
Gall.(D) 1901  Trotter Gall. Gossip 25:
James M'Kelvie was a poet, an that's no sayin muckle for him; an he daidle't awa maist o' his time aboot Castle-Douglas.
Rxb. c.1870  Jethart Worthies (n.d.) 41:
“Wh-wh-whae's that?” “It's me, ye dadeling wasp. . . . Is the breeks dune?”

Hence (a) daidler, a trifler (Fif.10 1939; Dmf. 1825 Jam.2); (b) daidley, dawdling (Twd. 1905 E.D.D. Suppl.); (c) daidley hinmaist, one who is always last, a dawdler. (a) Fif. 1882  “S. Tytler” Scotch Marriages I., Jean Kinloch ii.:
She's nae daidler either at meat or wark.
(c) Abd. 1903  Abd. Weekly Free Press (24 Oct.):
She was juist a han'less daidley hinmaist, mair bather than she was a' worth.

Phr.: to daddle and drink, “to wander from place to place in a tippling way; or merely to tipple” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Per. 1900 E.D.D.); to waste (one's money) on drink. Ayr. 1861  A. McKay Lilts (1868) 44:
Ye vile drucken dyvour. . . . Ye've daidled and drunk every penny we had.

†(2) To walk the streets (applied to a prostitute) (Ayr. 1825 Jam.2, daddle).

(3) To waddle; to stagger, to walk unsteadily. Sc. 1808  Jam.:
He daidles like a duik.
Sc. 1832–46  W. Miller in Whistle-Binkie, Nursery Songs 37:
Now, the dog maun get a saddle, Then a cart's made o' the ladle, To please ye as ye daidle Round our ain fire-end.
Edb. 1915  T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 76:
Ye needna be sae blawn wi' pride, Or daidle on sae croose.

2. tr. †(1) “To mismanage, to do any work in a slovenly way” (Ags. 1808 Jam.).   Ib.:
Meat is said to be daidled, when improperly cooked; clothes, — when ill-washed.

(2) “To hinder or obstruct” (Ags. 1910 Arbroath Guide (24 Sept.)).

II. n. In phr. on the daidle, (1) behind-hand, lagging behind; (2) rambling, “on the ramble” (Sc. 1818 Sawers Dict. Sc. Lang.). (1) Edb. 1915  T. W. Paterson Auld Saws 123:
But swatch ye his actionsthey're aye on the daidle; He doesna mean hauf that he skails frae his gab.

[Cf. Eng. dial. daddle, to walk or work slowly, to dawdle; to walk unsteadily, to stagger (E.D.D.), and Eng. dawdle, to idle, to waste time, to be lazy. The etymology of the root dad- is obscure, prob. imit.: cf. Dad, v.1, Diddle, v.1, and Doddle, v.]

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"Daidle v.1, n.2". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Dec 2018 <>



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