Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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HUSHLE, v.1, n.1 Also hush(e)l; huschle (Bnff.); huzzle (Abd.); hussle, -il (Rxb.). [hʌʃl, hʌsl, hʌzl]

I. v. intr. 1. To fidget or move about awkwardly or restlessly (ne.Sc. 1957); in an indecent sense in first quot. Cf. Hotch, I. 1. Abd. c.1750  Garland of Bon-Accord (1886) 13:
Awite I'm neither rich nor bonnie, But carlie can ye hushle ony?
Kcd. 1811  Rymour Club Misc. (1906) I. 30:
Grannie fell into a ditch by the way. She hushled, she scushled, she kent na well hoo.
Bnff. 1868  W. Garden Meg's Wedding 5:
The shy anes hushelt in a neuk thegither.

2. To shrug the shoulders, as if to rid oneself of an itch or irritation (Rxb. 1825 Jam., 1923 Watson W.-B.). Hence husslin-shoodert, having the habit of shrugging the shoulders. s.Sc. 1847  H. S. Riddell Poems 310:
Then hussled up his shouders baith, And hastened to the door O.
Rxb. 1925  E. C. Smith Mang Howes 20:
A met . . . a shauchlin, husslin-shoodert skeibult wui a toozy, taaty heed.

3. To work or dress in a careless or slovenly manner (w., s.Sc. 1887 Jam.; ‡Ayr.4 c.1928; Sh. 1957). Cf. Hash. Hence hushly, hashly, dishevelled, untidy, slovenly (Ayr. 1957). Ayr. 1870  J. K. Hunter Life Studies 51:
His auld servant . . . was aye in a sort o' hushly state o' dress.
Abd. 1917 8 :
He jist hushels throu's wark.

4. To jog along in a lackadaisical manner, to proceed in a lazy, apathetic way (Sh. 1957). Abd. c.1880  W. Robbie Yonderton 156:
“He did not like new-fangled things.” “Na, na, jist hushel awa i' the auld wye wi' him.”

5. To rush down a steep slope on a sledge, to toboggan. Vbl.n. hushlin, the sport of sledging. Bnff. 1955  Fraserburgh Herald (8 Feb.):
The richt name for't is “hushlin” . . . it's nae only “youngsters” fa hushle in Gamrie!

II. n. 1. A heap, conglomeration, an untidy bunch or mass (Abd.6 1913, huzzle; Cai.1 c.1920; Sh., Cai. 1957). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 85:
A huschle o' streh cam off o' the hehd o' the sou an' the loon o' the tap o't . . . Fin the aul' fehl dyke cam doon in a huschle aboot thir luggs.

Combs.: †hushel-bushel, -mushel, huschle-muschle, n., an uproar, a state of great confusion (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 86, -muschle); v., to put into such a state, to muddle (Ib.). Fif. 1825  Jam.:
A hushel-bushel sune began, And ilka chiel' ca'd oure his man.
Fif. 1864  W. D. Latto T. Bodkin v.:
I' the midst o' the hushel-mushel twa o' my mither's chaft-teeth were dung clean oot o' her head.

2. An untidy, carelessly-dressed person, a slattern (Cai. 1911 John o' Groat Jnl. (7 April), hursel; Bch. 1919 T.S.D.C. III., huzzle; Abd.4 1931; Sh., Cai., Kcb., Dmf. 1957).

3. Fig. Of things: an old worn-out implement or vessel (Ags. 1808 Jam.). Of persons: one who is unable to work as a result of incapacity or ill health (Dmf. 1825 Jam.). Rnf. 1835  D. Webster Rhymes 90:
I'm but a hushle At ony trade.
Dmf. 1838  Carlyle Life in London (Froude 1884) I. 126:
Each hovers there for a year or two, and then eternity swallows him, and he lies as straight as old Wull Moor, the Galloway Hushel.

4. A rustling sound (Bnff., Abd. 1957). Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 85:
A hard the huschle o' hir dress o' the fleer.
Abd. 1924 15 :
Aw hard a hushle amo' the strae.

[The word is formally a freq. of Hush, n.1, v.1, but similarities of meaning point to influence from or confusion with Hirsel, n.2, v.2]

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"Hushle v.1, n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 15 Feb 2019 <>



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