Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HEELIEGOLEERIE, adv., n. Also -y, heeligleerie, hilliege-, -gi-; heldigo-, hildega-; hiliegulier, hildegulair; hullygoleerie. [′hiligə′li:ri]

I. adv. Topsy-turvy, in a state of confusion, higgledy-piggledy (n.Sc., Ags. 1808 Jam., hilliegeleerie; Per. 1825 Jam., hiliegulier, hildegulair; Ags., m.Lth. 1956). Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 39:
And barley-pickles flee round and round Hilliegileerie 'mang the bree.
Edb. 1843  J. Ballantine Gaberlunzie viii.:
But a' wad gang heeliegoleery Gin ye wanted wee Tam an' his drum.
Lnk. 1881  D. Thomson Musings 232:
Hech! love is a gey queer sensation, . . . It puts ane a' hildegaleerie.
Edb. 1916  T. W. Paterson Wyse-Sayin's xxii. 12:
But He'll cowp, heelie-goleerie, the man that speaks deceiverie.

II. n. Confusion, hubbub, noise, a to-do, a bustle (Bwk. a.1838 Jam. MSS. XII. 109), a turning upside down (m.Lth.1 1956); in pl. frolics, playful tricks. Sc. 1819  J. Rennie St Patrick I. vii.:
Whuna' be, she ne'er forgets hersel' far, and she's ony thing but glaiket wi' a' her hilliegeleeries.
Peb. 1836  J. Affleck Poet. Wks. 51:
Langsyne what a heldigoleery, Ilk' priest was the fae o' a ball.
Bnff. 1937  E. S. Rae Light in the Window 43:
Sic a heeligleerie, is't Jamie?

[Appar. a fanciful formation, phs. orig. from a children's action-rhyme, with influence from similar words like haligo-mary, Hullabaloo, and in the second element from e.g. Whigmaleerie, Fitakaleerie, Bummeleerie.]

Heeliegoleerie adv., n.

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"Heeliegoleerie adv., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 16 Feb 2019 <>



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