Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)
HARROWBILL, n. Also †harrowbell, †harobill, harroble, -abel; †hurrobill. [′hɑrɔbəl]
1. One of the cross-bars or spars of a harrow (Ork. 1887 Jam.).
Ags. 1702 R. Finlayson Arbroath Documents (1923):
Ane barrow, 4 hurrobills and 12 scowes. Ork. 1734 P. Ork. A.S. (1923) I. 65:
Six new ploughs, three new birks, three harrowbells, one hand speck, Seven souples, five old shovels and one new. Bnff. 1780 Aberdeen Jnl. (9 Oct.):
A great Parcel of Birch Axletrees and Harrowbills of a very large size.
Hence harbilly, adj., like a harrow, and, by extension, rough and prickly; used esp. of a stocking knitted tightly in a coarse wool (Ork. 1929 Marw.).
2. A kind of hard wood formerly imported into Shetland from Norway (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), harrabel), prob. so called from its use in the manufacture of harrows.
3. A miserable, bony animal, emaciated person. Also used attrib.
Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928):
A harrabel o' bens, a living skeleton . . . a harrabel craeter.
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"Harrowbill n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 21 Apr 2018 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/harrowbill>
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