Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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RAIVEL, v., n. Also ravel; revel; reavil, -le, raevel, rayvle (Arg. 1882 Argyllshire Herald (3 June)), reyvle; reevel; raffel, -le, raeffle; and contracted forms rael (Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 396), reyle, rile (Dmf. 1925 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 36), ryle (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.); reill; rew(e)l (Rxb. 1825 Jam. ‡1923 Watson W.-B.), reul (s.Sc. 1802 J. Sibbald Chron. Sc. Poetry Gl.; Gall. 1824 MacTaggart Gallov. Encycl. 396; Dmf. 1894 Trans. Dmf. & Gall. Antiq. Soc. 154); rowl (Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264). [′revel; s.Sc. ‡rəil; Per. rʌul]

I. v. 1. (1) tr. and intr. To get into a confusion or tangle, to entangle, disorder, muddle, snarl, in gen., specif. of thread, yarn, or the like (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Per., Fif., Lth. 1915–26 Wilson; Ork. 1929 Marw., raffle; Ayr. 1951; Uls. 1953 Traynor). Deriv. ravelment, a confusion, tangle. Vbl.n. pl., raelings, rowlins, ravellings, waste ends of a web of cloth (Gall. 1904 E.D.D.; Per. 1915 Wilson L. Strathearn 264). Edb. 1791  J. Learmont Poems 164:
Ye're now ane o' my hopefu'st bairns; Tho' ance ye ravell'd sair my pirns.
Ayr. 1822  Galt Sir A. Wylie xl.:
Mr Mordaunt, an ye put your concerns into my hands, ye maun just let me tak my ain gait, or I'll only ravel them by my meddling.
Sc. 1832  A. Henderson Proverbs 22:
Fools ravel, and wise men redd.
Ayr. 1833  Galt Howdie, etc. (1923) 238:
Nor can it be said that we had a great ravelment on that occasion.
Sc. 1837  Carlyle French Rev. III. ii. ii.:
Mischievous deceitful persons cut the rope, and our Queue becomes a ravelment.
Per. 1857  J. Stewart Sketches 34:
The gudewife reavilt a' her yarn She tint the thread-end o' her pirn.
Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 25:
Smiles o joy and taers o sorrow, Raefflin i da caesliss strife.
Ags. 1896  Barrie Sentimental Tommy xxix.:
Make a clerk of him and he would only ravel the figures.
Inv. 1911  in Buchan Observer (10 April 1962) 7:
Seckie wis at the halyards, an' got reeveled wi the sail aboot his heed, trying tae heist it.
Knr. 1925  H. Haliburton Horace 247:
An' swuir at lairge, an' dang'd and deyvled, That awfu' oor the tongues were reyvled!

Hence ppl.adj. ra(i)vel(l)ed, -t, revel'd, raeffled, raffelled, rilet, tangled, confused, muddled, in difficulties (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B., Ayr., Dmf. 1950, rilet). Gen.Sc.; esp. in fig. phrs.; a raivelled hesp, -pirn, -roast (Abd. 1955 W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick xxv.), -skein, a knotty problem, an involved situation (Ork., Kcd., Per., Fif., Lnk. 1967). See Hesp and Pirn. Sc. 1721  J. Kelly Proverbs 375:
You have got a revel'd Hesp in Hand. That is, you have engag'd in an intricate Business.
Sc. 1725  Ramsay Gentle Shep. i. i.:
Ye . . . have sae kind Redd up my ravel'd doubts, and clear'd my mind.
Ayr. 1790  A. Tait Poems 301:
The ravelled hesps he makes them clear, And reds them out.
Mry. 1806  J. Cook Simple Strains 99:
De'il gin her neck were in a girn! She's left me wi' a ravel'd pirn.
Sc. 1821  Scott Pirate v.:
God's sake speak her fair and canny, or we will have a ravelled hasp on the yarn-windles!
Ayr. 1826  Galt Last of Lairds xxxv.:
The cause o' our national decay, and agricultural distress, broken merchants, ravelled manufacturers, and brittle bankers, come a' thegither frae another well-ee.
Rnf. 1862  A. McGilvray Poems 283:
Your speeches . . . Are but silly, and ravell'd wi' cant.
Gsw. 1877  A. G. Murdoch Laird's Lykewake 23:
The threads I threw seem'd raivell'd like the tassels o' the brume.
Sc. 1883  A. S. Swan Aldersyde ii. x.:
A higher hand holds the ravelled skein of life.
Sh. 1891  J. Burgess Rasmie's Büddie 38:
T'o i dis raeffled mortal life I kno it's hard ta see.
Sc. 1893  Stevenson Catriona xxiii.:
I shall have a fine ravelled pirn to unwind, and may end by disgracing both the lassie and myself.
Ags. 1894  J. B. Salmond B. Bowden (1922) 85:
For Joshua had lost his direschun in oor ravell't toon.
Lnk. 1910  C. Fraser Glengonnar 96:
The student . . . likit to redd oot the ravell'd hanks o' ither folk's yarn.
Abd. 1961  P. Buchan Mount Pleasant 36:
Shyvin' oot their hame-made linies, Aften raivel't, seldom clear.

(2) intr. Of a wall, etc.: to become twisted or off the straight, to warp, sag or bulge, esp. in pa.p. and vbl.n. (Rnf. a.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) R.16). Rnf. 1741  Ib.:
The haill barn consisting of fyve bays entirelie raggit and reill't baith in timber and walls.

2. Of hair: to displace, dishevel, ppl.adj. raivelt, dishevelled, unkempt (ne., e. and sm.Sc. 1967). Per. 1895  R. Ford Tayside Songs 114:
A' the pouther an' lead o' the place Wadna ravel a hair o' his croun.
Abd. 1922  G. P. Dunbar Doric 13:
He ca'd the yird oot o' his een, an' clawed his raivelt heid.

3. (1) intr. Of thread or yarn; to unwind itself from a reel. Now dial. in Eng. Hence raveller-aff, the boy who strips the bobbins in weaving (Ayr. 1951); ra(v)el-string, the upper part of a fishing-line wound on the reel, the backing (Bwk., Rxb. a.1838 Jam. MSS. X. 255, XI. 149). Ags. 1794  W. Anderson Piper of Peebles 6:
Upo' their spindles, near the tap, They biggit ay a bulgy knap O' thread, cross-brath'd firm to defend The rest frae reav'ling o'er the end.
Lnk. 1873  A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 13:
The threed in Tammie's shuttle Gaed raivelling aff the pirn.

(2) tr. and fig. To tell (a story, etc.) volubly, to pour out in words. Ork. 1929  Marw.:
He sat there just reevlan it oot o' him.

4. intr. To speak in a wandering, incoherent manner, to ramble, maunder, be delirious (Uls.2 1929; ne., em.Sc.(a), Lnk. 1967). Also in n.Eng. dial. Vbl.n. ravellin, raving, delirium (Id.). Ags. 1895  Caledonia I. 482:
Like the ravellin' o' the lass that died at dawn.

5. tr. To confuse, render incapable of coherent thought, perplex (Uls. 1953 Traynor). Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Ppl.adj. ra(i)vel(l)ed, rowled, confused in mind, muddled; rambling, incoherent, delirious. Gen.(exc. I.)Sc. Bnff. 1866  Gregor D. Bnff. 139:
A'm raivelt i' the hehd; an' a dinna ken ae word it y're sayin.
Gsw. 1873  A. G. Murdoch Doric Lyre 16:
Aye her raivell'd words Were babblin' o' the streams an' flowers.
Per. 1897  C. M. Stuart Sandy Scott's Bible Class 12:
I might kind o' half understan' it gin it had been in the heat o' the minute, and he had gotten raivelled wi' seeing his bairn.
Abd. 1918  J. Mitchell Bydand 9:
Losh guides! I'm surely ravelt noo, an' haverin' lots o styte.
Abd. 1920  G. P. Dunbar Peat Reek 16:
He raivel't the bairns wi' their coonts an' sums.
m.Sc. 1932  O. Douglas Priorsford xvii.:
Ye couldna call her a good speaker, she's far ower long an' ravelled.
Bwk. 1947  W. L. Ferguson Makar's Medley 51:
Werena my legs and wuts that raivell't, I micht wun on to the Ploo.
Per. 1966 4 :
He's fair rowled, A cannae mak head or tail o him.

6. To wander about in a purposeless manner (Fif. 1967). Also in n.Eng.Eng. dial. Fif. 1933  J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 55:
Anither fand that the back door o' his mither's hen-cavie had been in some way left agee an' them awa' oot raivelin' aboot an' near a' lost.

7. To nonplus, bamboozle, outwit (I.Sc., Mry. 1967). Ork. 1931  J. Leask Peculiar People 135:
Trath, boy, sheu waas a coorse waapan, bit haith, sheu deud fine, sheu raffled dem.

II. n. 1. A muddle, tangle, confusion (Ork. 1929 Marw., raffle). Gen.Sc. Also with up. Adj. raffelly, unkempt, slovenly (Ork. 1967). Ags. 1891  Barrie Little Minister iii.:
Urquhart was in sic a ravel after it.
Lnk. 1895  G. Roy Generalship 34:
This yarn she had . . . left in the cats' way, who . . . left it in one mass of unreddable raivels.
Sh. 1899  Shetland News (23 Dec.):
Ta redd oot a raevl 'at wis fa'n in her wirsit.
Ork. 1908  Old-Lore Misc. I. v. 175:
A' her claes were lying aboot i' a raffle.
Abd. 1913  G. Greig Mains Again 44:
There his been a ravel some wye or ither.
Bnff. 1934  J. M. Caie Kindly North 50:
I'm thinkin' that ye'd best come aff yer deece An' try tae redd the raivel up an' quaiten their din.

2. A broken or frayed thread, a loose end (Sc. 1825 Jam.; Ags., Uls. 1967). Also fig. Cf. I. 1. Sc. 1832  Carlyle Life (Froude 1882) II. 307:
Great is self-denial . . . Life goes all to ravels and tatters, where that enters not.

[O.Sc. ravel, to become entangled, from a.1585, Du. ravelen, rafelen, to tangle, fray out. Still standard in Eng. in sense of to unravel, to disentangle.]

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"Raivel v., n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 11 Dec 2017 <http://www.dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/raivel>

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