Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MULL, n.2, v. Also mul; moul; mool; moll; mole; dim. mollek (Jak.); and pl. forms mul(l)s(e). [mʌl, = 1.; mul, = 2.]

I. n. 1. The mouth, muzzle or snout, esp. of an animal (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.; Ork. 1929 Marw.); a lip, usu. of a graminivorous animal (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1931), and esp. of a cow, when used as an article of food, gen. in pl. Also fig. of a person, implying a pouting sulky expression (Ork. 1950; Fif. 1963: a dour mull). Phr. to hang a sur mul, to sulk. Comb. mulband, -bend, to muzzle (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1963). Cf. mouband s.v. Mouth. Ork. 1880  Dennison Sketch-Bk. 61:
Sae sheu brizzled the mulls on de co'ls.
Sh. 1898  Shetland News (20 Aug.):
“Lat's get a grip o'm bi da mulse.” Wi' dat William yokid da gaut ower da trünnie wi' sic a grip.

2. A promontory, a precipitous headland (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., mole, mool, 1908 Jak. (1928), 1914 Angus Gl.). Hence mule-head, the point of a promontory. I.Sc. 1795  Stat. Acc.1 XIV. 324, note:
Such places are quite frequent, both in Shetland, such as the Mule of Unst, and in the other end of the mainland of Orkney called the Mule-head of Deerness, . . . that is to say insulated headlands projecting to the sea.
Ork. 1805  G. Barry Hist. Ork. 25:
Near the very top of the mull and the boundary of the mainland to the north-east.
Sh. 1822  S. Hibbert Descr. Sh. (1891) 156:
The Moul or promontory is naturally protected by the steepness of its banks, which overhang the sea.

3. The muzzle, the foremost part of the beam of an old Ork. plough to which the trace-rope was attached (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); Ork. 1929 Marw.). Comb. mooliron, the iron fitting on this for attaching the trace-rope (Marw.). See also Mouth, n., 12.

4. The point of a fishing rod to which the line is fixed (Jak.; Sh. 1963). Hence mulin, the yarn whipping which secures the line (Id.).

II. v. 1. To munch or chew, to eat with relish (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl.; Cai. 1903 E.D.D.). Vbl.n. mullins, eatables (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1963).

2. To move food about with the lips as animals do when searching for a tasty morsel (Sh. 1908 Jak. (1928); 1.Sc. 1963); to eat listlessly and without relish (Jak.). Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
Applied to cattle: to mull i' de food or i' de water.

3. To kiss (Sh. 1866 Edm. Gl., Sh. 1963).

4. To shape the toe of a knitted stocking or glove by decreasing the stitches to bring it to a point Sh.1914 Angus Gl., Sh. 1963). Sh. 1908  Jak. (1928):
To mul aff de tae o' a sock or stockin'.

[Norw. mule, O.N. múli, a muzzle, a snout, a jutting crag between two fjords, etc.]

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"Mull ". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 18 Dec 2018 <>



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