Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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GIRSLE, n., v. Also girsel, gersel, ¶gircle, †girstle. Sc. met. forms and usages of Eng. gristle. Also †gris(s)le, which form was in use also in Eng. up to 18th c. [′gɪrsəl, ′gɛrs-]

I. n. 1. As in Eng. (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 230). Gen.Sc. Edb. 1773  R. Fergusson Poems (1925) 57:
And four black trotters cled wi' girsle, Bedown his throat had learn'd to hirsle.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie I. v.:
Yon's a horned stot, in comparison to us, wha hae but banes o' grisle.
Per. 1857  J. Stewart Sketches 72:
They may thump Johnnie's banes till they're dwabble as girsle.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Doric 17:
They tempit it wi' dyowie worms, wi' waumlin' heids an' tails . . . Wi' shuet, fat, an' girsels, an' wi' neuks o' birselt cheese.

Hence girslie, -ey, adj., full of gristle, cartilaginous. Gen.Sc. Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems I. 155:
His girslie nose was crashin Wi' thumps that night!
Kcb. 1848  J. Hughan Poems 20:
Their young girsley limbs.

2. Sc. extensions: things made of gristle or like gristle. †(1) A quill pen, esp. the shaft or stump of the same. Ayr. 1786  Burns Ep. J. Lapraik xxii.:
But to conclude my lang epistle, As my auld pen's worn to the grissle.
Kcb. 1844  W. Jamie Muse 164:
I soon got a' the writing graith, To hinder you I wad be laith Wi' this auld gristle.
Rnf. 1846  W. Finlay Poems 151:
Stumps o' auld pens, worn to the gristle, An auld ink-stan'. †(2) The throat, gullet.
Lnk. 1853  W. Watson Poems 70:
He's pinch't to get his girsle wat At push about the jorum.
wm.Sc. 1854  Laird of Logan 166:
“Mony a girsle, Bauldy”, quo' I, “hae ye [hang-man] twisted, maybe a wee farrer up the riggin'.” †(3) The nose, nostril.
Rnf. 1790  A. Wilson Poems 209:
An' whyles a glass to heet my gab, An' snuff to smart my girsle.

(4) One of the thin hard caked pieces that come off the sides of a pot in which sowens, porridge, etc. have been prepared, anything scorched or charred (Lnk. 1822 G. R. Kinloch MS. W.-L.; Ayr.4 1928, gersel; Abd.27 1949). Gsw. 1860  J. Young Poorhouse Lays 26:
She lets her airns stan' till they bircle Afore the fire syne tae a gircle She burns us [shirts] up.

II. v. To become crisp or hard with frost. Rxb. 1801  Leyden Complaynt Scot. 368:
The ground is said to girsle, when it is crisped with hoar frost.

Hence 1. girslin(g), vbl.n., hoar frost (Id.; Sc. 1825 Jam., girslin): †2. grissly, adj., crisped with hoar frost (Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.).

[O.Sc. has girsill, -sel(l), gristle. from 1574.]

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"Girsle n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Apr 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/girsle>

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