Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HANDLIN(G), vbl.n. Also hanlin(g); haun(d)lin; haandling (Sh. 1902 E.D.D.).

Sc. usages:

1. A transaction, business, job in hand, task, undertaking; a share in some affair, an intermeddling; hence specif. a difficult task, a “handful” (Abd., Ags., m.Lth., Ayr., Gall., Dmf. 1956). Sc. 1720  R. Wodrow Corresp. (1843) II. 524:
You may guess what throng I have of letters by the few you sent me, which are little to my handling here.
Sc. 1825  Jam.:
He wad fain hae a handling in that affair.
Ayr. c.1827  Galt Howdie (1923) 5:
It began to grow into a fashion that the genteeler order of ladies went into the towns to have their han'lings amang the doctors.
Sc. 1846  C. Johnstone Edb. Tales II. 333:
The old Scotswoman . . . lent her aid . . . from motives of kindness and the desire of obliging, not much alloyed by the love of what her countrywomen term a “handling”
Ags. 1860  A. Whamond James Tacket 276:
I nevir hade sic a hanlin for ther's maist aye ane o' them greetin.
Kcb. 1894  Crockett Lilac Sunbonnet iv.:
Me wi' the care o' yer gran'faither — sic a handling, him nae better nor a bairn.
Dmf. 1912  J. L. Waugh Robbie Doo 23:
You've keepit me frae grace, and a sair haundlin' you've been to me a' thae years.
Abd. 1923  H. Beaton Benachie 128:
The neighbours they were socht owre by Ta ha'e a han'lin' in the pie.
Dmf. 1954  :
The minister of Tynron went miles up the glen to baptise a baby, and word got about the neighbours and he finished up by baptising five at one go. On the way home the car driver said “By, that was a guid handlin.”
Abd. 1955  Huntly Express (4 Feb.):
Shrewd, progressive and enterprising, he had what the farming community call, “A big han'lin'.”

2. A rounding up, penning of sheep for some special purpose, e.g. dipping, shearing, etc. (Peb., Ayr., sm. and s.Sc. 1956). Also attrib. Kcb. 1883  G. Murray Sarah Rae 47:
Our herds with skill the fat [sheep] must wale, And sort the slack for sale; When brown's the bracken on the brae What handlins then we hail!
Dmf. 1925  Scottish Farmer (24 Jan.):
In gathering the sheep for handlings early morning is best.
Hebr. 1937  J. MacDonald Highland Ponies 128:
When it came to sheep handlings, it was only men who were thoroughly used to sheep who were asked.
Sc. 1954  Scotsman (17 Dec.):
The employer supplies meat for men at handlings, dippings, and clippings up to 3 main meals per day.
n.Sc. 1954  Scotland's Mag. (March) 26:
A strategically situated fank or handling pen in the glen below.

3. An entertainment, meeting, party, social gathering, merry-making (Kcb.3 1929). Comb. tea-handling, a tea-party (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.). Ayr. 1821  Galt Ayr. Legatees viii.:
We are providing for a handling.
wm.Sc. 1837  Laird of Logan 104:
It has been the custom . . . to hold merry-meetings in one another's houses during the New-Year holidays, which meetings are generally designated “New'r-day haunlins.”
wm.Sc. 1888  Anon. Archie Macnab 55:
Catch the Morrisons encouragin' oor John to their tea-parties an' haunlins.
Dmf. 1899  Country Schoolmaster (Wallace) 329:
I had only been yinst in her house since she settled, and that was at a promiscuous tea handling.

4. A discussion, altercation or quarrel (w.Sc. 1887 Jam.); “a disturbance, an unnecessary annoyance” (n.Ant. 1924 North. Whig (14 Jan.)).

5. “Abundance, store, fulness” (Abd. 1825 Jam.).

6. A pit in a tannery, containing a weak solution of tannin in which hides were handled, = Eng. handler. Sc. 1777  Caled. Mercury (4 Oct.):
That convenient Tan-yard . . . consisting of four lime and water pits, 13 vats and handlings, two baits under shade.

[From Handle, v. O.Sc. has handlin(g), in various senses from mid 15th c.]

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"Handlin(g) vbl. n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 17 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/handling>

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