Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HAIVEREL, n., adj., v. Also haverat, -ill, haivrel(l), hav(e)rel, -il, haeveral, haiveral(l), heveril; hyveral (Sh.). [′he:v(ə)r(ə)l]

I. n. A foolishly chattering or garrulous person, a fool, half-wit, simpleton (Sc. 1808 Jam., haveril; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 251, haiverall; Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 157; Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., haiverel; Ayr.1 1910; Mry.1 1925; Bwk. 1942 Wettstein; n.Sc., Fif., m.Lth., Kcb., Rxb. 1956); an ungainly person (m.Dmf.3 c.1930); a lounger, lazy person, a sloven (Sc. 1721 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) I. 255; Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., hyveral, ‡Sh. 1956). Lnk. c.1779  D. Graham Writings (1883) II. 34:
A muckle mouth't haverel it is just like yoursel.
Ayr. 1789  D. Sillar Poems 92:
Haud up your head, an' think nae shame, Tho' for't ilk hav'rel sud you blame.
Peb. 1805  J. Nicol Poems II. 157:
An' Geordie, poor fallow! they ca' An auld, doitit hav'rel! — Nae matter.
Ayr. 1821  Galt Ann. Par. xvi.:
But the two vain haverels were on the bench under me, and I could not see them.
Sc. 1823  Lockhart Reg. Dalton III. 111:
You don't know what side your bread's buttered on, you havrel — you, ye gowk!
Dmf. 1836  A. Cunningham Lord Roldan I. 93:
He seemed to have nae aim in his sport. I doubt he's half a haveral.
wm.Sc. 1840  G. Williamson Letters Watt Family 31:
His school-mates, who applied to him the epithet, “haveril”, to intimate their notion of his silly conversation, and total want of intellect.
Ags. 1867  G. W. Donald Poems 23:
Ye stiff-gabbit haverils, tak notice o' Bessie, Wha claik wi' y'r cummers the weary day lang.
Abd. 1880  W. Robbie Glendornie ii.:
It sometimes happens 'at a crood o' thochtless haivrells are nae ower ceevil t' quintra bodies at a time like this.
Ags. 1932  Barrie Julie Logan 27:
Neither good luck nor mischief, so far as I can discover, comes to the havrels of nowadays who think they have talked or walked with a Stranger.

Hence ¶havrelism, the habit of behaving in a havering, harum-scarum fashion; comb. haveral-hash, a silly, foolish person. Ayr. 1826  Galt Lairds i:
In truth, Jenny had more of a thoroughgoing havrelism about her, than of that fond and fine otherism, so interesting in the heroines of romance.
Rnf. 1870  J. Nicholson Idylls 121:
A haveral-hash, wi' head as saft as a cahoutchie ba'.

II. adj. (sometimes indistinguishable from n. used attrib.). Garrulous, speaking foolishly (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Fif. 1864 W. D. Latto T. Bodkin vii.; Kcb. 1956); foolish, stupid, silly, nonsensical (Uls. 1880 Patterson Gl., haiverel, 1934 Mid-Uls. Mail (1 Dec.)). Edb. 1773  Fergusson Poems (1925) 54:
Frae some poor poet, o'er as poor a pot, Ye've lear'd to crack sae crouse, ye haveril Scot!
Ayr. 1786  Burns Halloween iv.:
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift, An' wander'd thro' the Bow-kail.
Per. 1802  S. Kerr Sc. Poems 98:
I trow it is nae hav'rel scheme, For mony ane hae done the same.
Kcb. 1814  W. Nicholson Tales 141:
Wi' tap o' a' things maist unchancy — A hav'rel wife!
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xlii.:
I would as soon stick a rose in my bosom wi' a kailworm in't, as take the bonniest lass that ever was seen for my wife, that could be guilty o' ony sic havril fancy.
s.Sc. 1835  Wilson's Tales of the Borders I. 210:
Ye are as daft as ever, Madge — but a haverel woman's tongue is nae scandal.
Dwn. 1844  R. Huddleston Poems 70:
A haverel la'gh the Muse ta'en niest, A new min' been created, In her that day.
Rxb. a.1860  J. Younger Autobiog. (1881) 36:
Piper Hastie drappit in wi' his drones, an' his auld haveral stories.
Sh. 1877  G. Stewart Fireside Tales 35:
Blinkin' her een wi' delicht whin some haveril chap wis makin' a füil o' her.
Kcb. 1901  Trotter Gall. Gossip 138:
At last John got fair heveril ower her, an ax't her, an she took him.

Hence haivrelly, adj., talking in a nonsensical way (Abd. 1825 Jam.).

III. v. To talk foolishly. Rare. Ayr. 1822  Galt Provost xxxviii.:
Some of the ne'er-do-weel . . . clerks . . . were seen gaffawing and haverelling with Jeanie.

[Haiver, + suff. -al, -el.]

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"Haiverel n., adj., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Mar 2018 <>



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