Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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SKELLOCH, v., n.1 Also -ach, skailach, skilloch; skyallach (Abd.). [′skɛləx; Abd. †‡skjɑl-]

I. v. To shriek, scream, yell, cry shrilly (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rnf. c.1850 Crawfurd MSS. (N.L.S.) S.55, skilloch; ne.Sc., Ags. 1970). Vbl.n. skellochin. Mry. 1830  T. D. Lauder Flood (1873) 253:
He was awakened, as he said, “by them skellachin' i' the main hoose.”
Fif. 1846  W. Tennant Muckomachy 62:
Their skirlin', skellochin', and screamin'.
Per. 1881  R. Ford Hum. Sc. Readings 21:
An' dinna skelloch like a pyot.
Sc. 1892  Stevenson Catriona xv.:
We could hear it skelloch as it span.
Ayr. 1901  G. Douglas Green Shutters xiii.:
Her laugh went skelloching up the street.
Ags. 1933  W. Muir Mrs Ritchie viii.:
Mary burst into skelloching laughter.
Abd. 1955  W. P. Milne Eppie Elrick iii.:
Sic a helm o' skyallachin vratches.

II. n. 1. A scream, screech, shrill cry (n.Sc. 1808 Jam.; ne.Sc., Ags., Per., Lth., Ayr. 1970); transf. a tune on the bagpipes. Sc. 1824  Scott Redgauntlet Let. xi.:
Bang gaed the knight's pistol, and, Hutcheon and my gudesire that stood beside him hears a loud skelloch.
Fif. 1827  W. Tennant Papistry Storm'd 127:
His skrilles, and skriechs, and skellochs dreir.
Abd. 1872  J. G. Michie Deeside Tales 170:
Down they came upon me wi a skailach like wallapy weeks.
Sc. 1881  Stevenson Thrawn Janet:
Mr Soulis ran, wi' skelloch upon skelloch, for the clachan.
Ags. 1911  V. Jacob Flemington xiv.:
Will a gi' ye a skelloch o' the pipes to help ye alang?
Sc. 1943  Scots Mag. (Sept.) 438:
Eh, whit'n a skelloch he let lowse!

2. One who talks in a shrill silly manner with giggles or guffaws (Abd. 1911, a bletherin skelloch).

[Appar. a freq. deriv. in -Och from skell, in n.Eng. dial. = scream, yell, prob. O.N. skella, to make a din, scold, burst out (with laughter). Cf. Skell, n.2]

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"Skelloch v., n.1". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Feb 2019 <>



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