Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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DIRL, v.1, n.1 Also dir(r)le; dirrel (Dmf. 1823 J. Kennedy Poems 88); †dyrll.

I. v.

1. tr.

(1) To pierce, to cause to tingle with emotion or pain (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 244; Fif.10, Rxb.5 1940); to sting. Ppl.adj. dirling. Sc. 1740  Scots Mag. (Oct.) 462:
The dirling frost is grown sae bauld, The air sae snell, and drift sae cauld.
Sc. 1928  J. G. Horne Lan'wart Loon 16:
His hert was gowpin' in his moo For a' the joy that dirl'd him thro'.
Sh. 1949 10 :
I dirled my elbick on da door jamb.
Edb. 1887  P. Gardiner in Mod. Sc. Poets (ed. Edwards) X. 32:
She calls her mate wi' waefu' skirls, That dirl a' my breast.
Gsw. 1879  A. G. Murdoch Rhymes 67:
Your hame-wrocht lilts an' lyric chimes Aye dirl my bluid.

(2) To cause to vibrate, to shake (Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10 1940); to throw, propel violently or with a clatter. Sh. 1949 10 :
He dirled da book in da corner. Willie dirled me doon da stair.
Arg. 1901  N. Munro Doom Castle xix.:
The knock was obvious; it dirled the very roof of the house.

2. intr.

(1) Implying sound, motion or both: to vibrate, shake, rattle, reverberate; to emit a ringing sound when struck; “to move with the wind” (Border 1825 Jam.2); to whirl or birl (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. 1821  Scott Kenilworth xxxv.:
Her moans do sae dirl through my head, that I would rather keep watch on a snowdrift, in the wastes of Catlowdie.
Sh. 1949 10 :
Da wind dirled i da lum. Watch da light dirlin on a warm summer day.
ne.Sc. 1929  M. W. Simpson Day's End 14:
An' the heich, black wa's o' Midnicht dirl Wi' the wail o' the waukrife win'!
Lnl. 1881  H. Shanks Musings 353:
I mind as 'twere yestreen — When you did at my window dirl, And speirt for bonnie Jean.
Edb. 1894  P. H. Hunter J. Inwick x.:
It was a waly hammer he swung, an' my certy, whan he brocht it doun, he gart the stiddy dirl an' the sparks flee.
w.Sc. 1948  A. M. Kay in Scots Mag. (June) 215:
When he strutted in, with “The Glendaruel Highlanders” dirling to the rafters.
Lnk. 1904  I. F. Darling Songs 50:
Eerie glints the amber licht, Hail is dirlin', rain clouds shoorin'.
Ayr. 1791  Burns Tam o' Shanter (Cent. ed.) ll. 123–4:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.

(2) To thrill, quiver, tingle with emotion, pain or cold. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Vbl.n. dirling, a smarting pain (Sc. 1710 T. Ruddiman Gl. to Douglas Aeneis; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 173). Sc. 1716  Ramsay Chr. Kirk ii. vii. in Poems (1721):
Meg Wallet wi' her pinky Een, Gart Lawrie's Heart-strings dirle.
Sc. 1826  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 206:
The bees are at wark . . . sook, sookin out the hinnydew, till their verra doups dirl wi' delight.
Ork. 1948 2 :
To dirl wi' madrem.
Abd. 1929 1 :
Ma fingers dirle terrible efter bein sae chilled.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin x.:
But hoo to get the shangies aff my wrists was the next question. . . . He . . . yokit to them wi' a hammer, an' yarkit till my arms were dirlin' up to the very shoother-blades.
em.Sc. 1926  H. Hendry Poems 102:
Faith but my heels keep dirling sair To dance.
Arg. 1914  N. Munro New Road xxv.:
Man of my heart! but he put dirling in the thickest head in Albyn!
Kcb. 1789  D. Davidson Seasons 67:
Mess John's twa lugs right sair dirl'd.
Slk. 1820  Hogg Winter Ev. Tales I. 132:
Ye gar a' my heart dirle to hear ye.

(3) To act, move or work quickly or energetically, often with preps. at, (up)on; to bounce about. Sh. 1949 10 :
She geengs dirlin an wirkin aboot da ferm. To dirl at dancing, at a spinning wheel, on a piano, upon da fiddle.

3. tr. and intr. Followed by advs.: (1) aff, (a) to recite, sing, play continuously, to reel off; (b) of an alarm clock: to go off with a whirring noise (Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940); (2) by, of time: to pass swiftly; (3) on, to go on forcibly or with speed; (4) ower = (1) (a); (5) to, to shut with a bang (Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940); (6) up, (a) to strike up a song, tune (esp. on the bagpipes), to play vigorously (Bnff.2, Abd.9 1940); (b) to upset backwards, push over. (1) (a) Sh. 1949 10 :
He could dirl aff poetry for oors on end.
Ayr. 1787  Burns Amang the Trees (Cent. ed.) i.:
'twas Pibroch, Sang, Strathspeys and Reels — She dirl'd them aff fu' clearly, O.
(b) Abd. 1932  D. Campbell Bamboozled 17:
Like some fowks ahin the alarum-clock dirls aff.
(2) Sh. 1949 10 :
Da week'll shün dirl by.
(3) Sh. 1949 10 :
We'll jüst hae ta dirl on til somebody comes ta help wis.
(4) Sh. 1949 10 :
He began ta dirl ower a sang.
(5) Bnff. 1920  E. S. Rae in Bnffsh. Jnl. (14 Dec.):
The byre door's dirrl't tee ahin the kye.
(6) (a) Sc. a.1790  Bonnie Breist-knots in R. Ford Vagab. Songs, etc. (1901) II. 177:
The piper lad stood on his shanks, And dirled up “The Breist-knots.”
Bnff. 1907  J. Ogilvie in Bnffsh. Jnl (1 Jan.) 3:
While hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys and reels Were dirled up at Pannannich.
Abd. 1871  W. Alexander Johnny Gibb xl.:
Samie sat i' the tither en' to . . . mak' mair room for the dancers, an' dirl't up the pipes.
(b) Sh. 1949 10 :
Why did du dirl up dy peerie bridder?

II. n.

1. A blow or knock which causes the person or thing struck to dirl; a shock, jar, jolt, clatter. Gen.Sc. Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. 1818  Scott H. Midlothian xvii.:
It's just like the noop of my elbow, it whiles gets a bit dirl on a corner.
Sc. 1862  A. Hislop Proverbs 18:
An elbuck dirl will lang play thirl.
Sh. 1930  T. P. Ollason in Sh. Almanac 196:
Doon wi' dee dis moment! . . . or feth doo's come doon wi' a dirl.
Edb. 1811  H. MacNeill Bygane Times 23:
. . . in a whirl The straik cam on them wi' a dirl!
Edb. 1844  J. Ballantine Miller viii.:
The door gets a dirl, an' flees back to the wa'.
wm.Sc. 1835–37  Laird of Logan II. 246:
You've gotten a dirl ower the fingers frae the beef-eater.

2. The pain occasioned by such a blow; a tingling sensation; a thrill (Sh.10 1949; Bnff.2, Abd.9, Fif.10, Kcb.1 1940; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.). Also in n.Eng. dial. Sc. 1721  Ramsay Poems, Gl.:
Dirle, a smarting Pain quickly over.
Sc. 1827  Wilson Noctes Amb. (1855) I. 327:
Were I to leeve ten thousan' years . . . I sud never get the better o' the dear delightfu' dirl o' a fricht.
Abd. 1909  C. Murray Hamewith 47:
The bairns can barely bide the dirl O' feet gane dozin.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters 294:
The fiercest joy of his life was the dirl that went up his arm.

3. A tremulous or vibratory motion, gen. accompanied by a sharp noise, a clatter or rattle (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.10 1949; Cai.7, Bnff.2, Abd.2, Fif.10 1940); a rippling (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); specifically: the sound produced by bagpipes, a trill. Sh. 1926–28  J.G. in Shetland Times:
Sorro thing I herd bit da sam auld dirl.
Rs. 1936  C. Macdonald Echoes of Glen xxvii.:
You can fairly get the dirls into that one.
Abd. 1853  W. Cadenhead Flights 236:
I heard the dyrll of the car.
Ags. 1891  J. M. Barrie Little Minister iv.:
Put your ear to the ground, Mr Dishart, and you'll hear the dirl o' their feet.
Border 1825  Jam.2:
A dirl on the water, the motion caused by a slight wind.
Kcb. 1896  S. R. Crockett Grey Man i.:
It fell with a ringing dirl of iron upon the stones of the pavement.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 326:
These . . . neighbours of ours, who dust and din us with the dirl of their equipages.

4. A gust (of wind) (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Sh.10 1949; Bnff.2 1940). Abd. 1912–19  Rymour Club Misc. II. 179:
If it had come a dirl o' win', it wad hae blawn her awa.

5. A hurry, bustle, fig. a short space of time; a rattling pace; an energetic movement, a “go” at something. Sh. 1901  T. P. Ollason Mareel 82:
I winna firget dat sam' vaige in a dirl.
Sh. 1949 10 :
A dirl on a fiddle, at a sewing machine, etc.
Abd. 1932  J.W. in Abd. Press and Jnl. (13 April):
Wattie dreev an at sic a feerious dirl, he tint . . . some eerans an' orra trock he hid i' the cairt.
Abd. 1949  Buchan Observer (29 Nov.):
A game of cards, a dirl on the melodeon.

Phr.: wi' a dirl an' a fling, with great haste and eagerness, used ironically. Sh. 1949 10 :
“I saw dee comin wi a dirl an a fling” implies that I knew you would not come.

III. Used adv. with verbs of motion come, fall, play, etc. = with a clatter, crash (Bnff.2, Fif.10 1940). Sc. 1887  R. L. Stevenson Thrawn Janet 142:
They could hear her teeth play dirl thegether in her chafts.
Sh. 1949 10 :
It cam dirl against my face. Da lum can fell dirl i da yard.
Edb. 1900  E. H. Strain Elmslie's Drag-Net 28:
His head played dirl against the chairback.
Lnk. 1882  J. Carmichael Poems 37:
Dear Jamie, whan your lines I read, My heart and brain played dirl.
Ayr. 1785  Burns Death and Dr Hornbook (Cent. ed.) xvi.:
It [dart] played dirl on the bane.

[O.Sc. has dirling, vbl.n., from 1513, dirl, v., 1568. Origin uncertain. Phs. a met. form of Du. drillen, Mid.Du. drillen, to bore, shake, quiver, whirl, and cogn. with Thirl, Eng. thrill, Mid.Eng. thirl, thrill, O.E. þyrelian. Cf. also meanings and origin of Dreel. Sh. usages may have been influenced in part by Dirl, v.2, n.2]

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"Dirl v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Jan 2019 <>



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