Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GANGREL, n. Also gangeral, -el, gangretl, †gangril(l); gyang(e)rel, -al (n.Sc.). Often used attrib. [′gɑŋ(ə)rəl Sc., n.Sc. + gjɑŋ(ə)rəl]

1. A tramp, vagrant, vagabond (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1825 Jam.), freq. attrib. as in gangrel body. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc., obsol. Also in n.Eng. dial. Ags. 1776  C. Keith Farmer's Ha' xxxvii.:
There's mony sturdy gangril chiel That might be winnin meat fu' well, And claes an a'.
Ayr. 1786  Burns Jolly Beggars Recit. i.:
Ae night at e'en, a merry core O' randie, gangrel bodies In Poosie-Nansie's held the splore.
Sc. 1815  Scott Guy M. iii.:
He's nae gentleman . . . wad grudge twa gangrel puir bodies the shelter o' a waste house.
Fif. 1841  C. Gray Lays & Lyrics 24:
The Gangerel, on his timmer pegs, Wha, through the day, for aumos begs.
Gsw. 1884  H. Johnston Martha Spreull iv.:
Hoose-holders have plenty to do keepin' up greedy paupers . . . let-a-be gien' charity to gangerals and ither necessitous folk.
Sc. 1887  Stevenson Underwoods (1895) 137:
A while shut in my gangrel feet An' goavin' mettle.
Dmf. 1914  J. L. Waugh Cracks wi' R. Doo x.:
A gangrel body sell't it to me for sixteen shillings.
m.Sc. 1927  J. Buchan Witch Wood xi.:
There was a gangrel body sleepit ae nicht in the loft.
Bnff. 1936  Abd. Univ. Review (March) 115:
I pit it til a gangrel wife, her pyock upon her back, An' “Life's a shortsome thing,” quo' she, “the meanin' doesna mak'.”

2. A child just able to walk, a toddler (Ags. 1808 Jam.; Bnff.7 1925; Cai.7, Abd. 1954). With toon = a young fellow (Cai.9 1946). This meaning seems to be confined to n.Sc. Abd. 1768  A. Ross Helenore 6:
When Helenore a gangrel now was grown, And had begun to toddle about the town.
Bnff. 1852  Bnffsh. Jnl. (2 March):
Lat gangrel bairns be toddlers' haul, An' the stalwart help the frail.
Abd. 1875  W. Alexander My Ain Folk 229:
She ought to have resumed the custody of her Bastard Geet, now a “gangrel bairn” of fully two years.
ne.Sc. 1884  D. Grant Lays (1908) 11:
I min' the little'n weel, A gyangrel at his mither's fit, When we were at the skweel.

Comb.: gangrill-gype, “a spoiled child” (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.).

3. “Applied to . . . creeping vermin” (Sc. 1818 Sawers).

4. In pl.: appar. = poor trash. A misuse. Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 78:
Ye needna spread yer gangrels oot to tak' some hameless e'e — It's no a grate an' twa-three chairs 'll airt a man to ye.

[From Gang, v. + -rel, suff. O.Sc. has gangerall, gangrell, in sense 1., from 1530.]

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"Gangrel n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Oct 2018 <>



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